How many NFL teams make the playoffs and how do the tiebreakers work?

With the last week of the season upon us, the spots available for the playoff map are scarce.

There are still 19 teams in contention for a trip to Super Bowl LVII, tied for the third most teams still alive.

The Rams have no chance of endorsing their title won in February 2022

This will be the third time that the National Football League hold a postseason with 14 teams instead of 12 as it was known for 30 years before the coronavirus pandemic upset the world order.

In January 2021, the league changed its playoff format due to a new CBA. Modifications to the new expanded playoffs include more participants, new first-round bye rules, and a different schedule.

As we mentioned earlier, the NFL increased the number of participants to 14.

The four division winnershowever an additional wild card was added in each of the conferences.

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The top seeds from the AFC and NFC, bye the first round of the playoffs and get home-field advantage.

At this time the Chiefs and the Eagles would take the pole position.

How are postseason teams ranked?

All four division title winners in the two conferences clinched the top four spotsregardless of his regular season record.

The three wild card teams in the two conferences take the fifth, sixth and seventh seeds based on their regular season record.

How do the tie-break criteria work?

If, at the end of the regular season, two or more clubs in the same division finish with identical win-loss-tie percentages, the following steps will be followed until a champion is determined.

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tie between two teams

  • Head to head (best percentage of wins, losses and draws in games between the organizations).
  • Best percentage of wins, losses and ties played within the division.
  • Best percentage wins, losses and draws in common games.
  • Best win-loss-tie percentage in games played within the conference.
  • Strength of victory in all games.
  • Strength of the schedule in all matches
  • Best combined ranking among conference teams in points scored and points allowed in all games.
  • Best combined ranking among all teams in points scored and points allowed in all games.
  • Better net points in common games.
  • Best net points in all games.
  • The best net touchdowns in all games.
  • A flip.


If two organizations remain tied after one or more clubs are eliminated during any step, the tiebreaker restarts at the first point of the previous format.

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