NFL playoff bracket, explained: How byes, seeding will work in 2022 with 17-game format

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The NFL made a captious determination astir its postseason format earlier the 2020 NFL regular season. Instead of having 12 teams progressive successful the playoffs, the NFL would see 14 during the 2021 NFL postseason.

The determination was primitively met with skepticism. After all, the NFL has, arguably, the champion playoff format of immoderate of the 4 large sports, truthful wherefore alteration thing that's working?

But soon after, NFL fans realized that the expanded postseason meant determination would beryllium 2 other NFL games. So, they stopped complaining and the archetypal 14-team postseason came and went without a large hitch.

The 14-team postseason does person immoderate cardinal differences from the 12-team playoff of old. Here's a refresher astir however the 14-team mentation of the NFL playoffs works and wherefore the NFL yet added much postseason games earlier past play began.

MORE: Full schedule, breakdown for 2022 NFL postseason

How galore teams marque the NFL playoffs?

A full of 14 teams volition marque the NFL playoffs successful 2022. This volition people the 2nd play of the NFL's 14-team playoff. Previously, 12 teams — six from each league — made the playoffs but the NFL changed that up of the 2020 NFL season.

Now, 7 teams from the AFC and 7 from the NFC volition marque the postseason. That lone impacts the playoff bracket by adding a seventh effect successful each league and eliminating the bye week for the No. 2 seed.

Under the NFL's caller format, 43.75 percent of the league's teams volition beryllium progressive successful postseason play. Division winners volition inactive beryllium seeded Nos. 1-4 by grounds with the last 3 spots being filled by Wild Card teams.

NFL playoff bracket 2022

Below, you tin spot however the 2022 NFL playoff bracket volition work. The No. 1 effect successful each league volition statesman the tourney with a bye while the No. 2 effect plays No. 7, No. 3 plays No. 6 and No. 4 plays No. 5 connected each side.

Here's a look astatine the latest NFL playoff bracket for 2022, updated done Week 17:


1. Tennessee Titans (bye)
2. Kansas City Chiefs vs. 7. Los Angeles Chargers
3. Cincinnati Bengals vs. 6. Indianapolis Colts
4. Buffalo Bills vs. 5. New England Patriots


1. Green Bay Packers (bye)
2. Los Angeles Rams vs. 7. Philadelphia Eagles
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. 6. San Francisco 49ers
4. Dallas Cowboys vs. 5. Arizona Cardinals

How galore teams get a first-round bye?

Just 2 full teams — 1 successful each league — get a bye week nether the NFL's caller playoff format. That's due to the fact that of the enlargement of the Wild Card circular to adhd a No. 2 vs. No. 7 effect matchup successful some the AFC and NFC.

The elimination of the second bye was necessary, arsenic making the No. 2 effect play ensures that fractional of the 12 teams that play connected Wild Card play volition beryllium eliminated. That means 8 volition play successful the divisional circular and the NFL volition proceed to halve the full of teams from determination until 1 is near lasting aft the Super Bowl.

Why did the NFL grow the playoff field?

It's each astir the money. The other playoff crippled volition make gross that the NFL different wouldn't have, and it is allowing the league to person an other prime-time broadcast, arsenic they volition play a "Monday Night Football" postseason crippled for the archetypal clip successful 2022.

It besides keeps much teams successful the playoff hunt longer during the 18-week season. That makes each crippled a spot much meaningful and gives the instrumentality bases of middling teams other anticipation that they tin suffice for the postseason.

Does the No. 2 effect person immoderate payment without a bye?

The No. 2 effect is acold little charismatic without a bye. The squad that gets the No. 2 effect is guaranteed 2 location games — provided that they tin dispatch the No. 7 effect successful the Wild Card round. After that, they would either question to the No. 1 seed's location for the AFC oregon NFC title oregon get to big the title crippled if the No. 1 effect is upset.

That said, it's a batch antithetic than the bye week that the squad utilized to get, arsenic the No. 2 effect volition person to play an other crippled that erstwhile No. 2 seeds haven't had to play. So, teams are little apt to combat hard for it if they person the accidental to remainder their players precocious successful the season, particularly if they person their part rubric wrapped up and don't person a changeable astatine the No. 1 seed.

Does the NFL's 17th crippled person an interaction connected the playoffs?

The summation of a 17th regular-season crippled won't person overmuch of an interaction connected the playoffs themselves. The biggest alteration is that the NFL postseason calendar volition beryllium moved backmost by a week due to the fact that of the other games. As such, the Super Bowl volition present instrumentality spot connected the 2nd Sunday successful February alternatively of the first.

Also, the playoff contention volition beryllium a spot longer and much packed than usual. Because of the other game, teams that are blistery astatine the extremity of the twelvemonth volition person a amended accidental to marque a postseason run, arsenic they'll person other clip to marque up crushed successful the standings.

NFL playoff docket 2022

Wild-card round

Saturday, Jan. 15

Matchup Start time TV channel Live stream
AFC/NFC Wild-Card Round 4:35 p.m. ET TBD fuboTV
AFC/NFC Wild-Card Round 8:15 p.m. ET TBD fuboTV

Sunday, Jan. 16

Matchup Start time TV channel Live stream
AFC/NFC Wild-Card Round 1:05 p.m. ET TBD fuboTV
AFC/NFC Wild-Card Round 4:40 p.m. ET TBD fuboTV
AFC/NFC Wild-Card Round 8:15 p.m. ET TBD fuboTV

Monday, Jan. 17

Matchup Start time TV channel Live stream
AFC/NFC Wild-Card Round 8:15 p.m. ET ESPN ESPN App, fuboTV

Divisional round

Saturday, Jan. 22

Matchup Start time TV channel Live stream
AFC Divisional Round TBA TBA fuboTV
NFC Divisional Round TBA TBA fuboTV

Sunday, Jan. 23

Matchup Start time TV channel Live stream
AFC Divisional Round TBA TBA fuboTV
NFC Divisional Round TBA TBA fuboTV

Conference championships

Sunday, Jan. 30

Matchup Start time TV channel Live stream
AFC Championship Game 3:05 p.m. ET CBS Paramount+, fuboTV
NFC Championship Game 6:40 p.m. ET Fox Fox Sports app, fuboTV

Super Bowl 56

Sunday, Feb. 13

Matchup Start time TV channel Live stream
Super Bowl 56 6:30 p.m. ET NBC NBC Sports app, fuboTV
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