How many teams make the NFL playoffs?

Baltimore Ravens v Pittsburgh Steelers
Baltimore Ravens v Pittsburgh Steelers / Joe Sargent/GettyImages

The start of the NFL playoffs is something football fans look forward to every year, once New Year's hits, we know that we are going to be in store for some hard-hitting action as the best teams in the league battle it out in the post-season in do-or-die scenarios.

Unlike nearly every other major sport, it's 'win or go home' when it comes to the NFL playoffs. The importance of each game has us all on the edge of our seats -- even when it's not our team that we are watching.

In recent years, we have seen some phenomenal performances in the NFL playoffs. Now with a loaded quarterback conference in the AFC, we are sure to see some legendary matchups in the near future. For those who haven't followed along closely with the rule changes in recent years, here's what you need to know about the NFL playoffs.

How Many teams make the NFL playoffs?

In previous years, 6 teams from each conference would make the playoffs. These included four divisional winners and two Wild Card teams from both the AFC and the NFC -- bringing the total up to 12 playoff teams. However, in 2020, the NFL changed the rule to add one additional Wild Card seed to each conference, this means that 7 teams per conference will make the playoffs each year, and 14 total teams square off in post-season action.

The NFL has only had a couple of years to experiment with this format. Because there is now an odd number of playoff teams from each conference, only the top seed from the AFC and NFC get a first-round bye. Prior to this, the two top teams from each conference had a bye week. This makes getting the number one seed all the more valuable.

What is the NFL playoff format?

The first round of the NFL playoffs is known as the Wild Card round. In this round, the number 2 seed from each conference will play the number 7 seed, number 3 will play number 6, and number 4 will face number 5. As mentioned, the number 1 seed from each conference will have a bye week.

Round two of the playoffs is the Divisional Round, where the losers from round one are sent packing and the winners will have matchups based on seeding. The number 1 seed will play the lowest remaining seed, as the two remaining teams in each conference will face each other.

From here, the final four teams will play in the Conference Round (two from each conference), and the winners will advance to the Super Bowl. The 12-team format was exciting, but the league wanted to add two more teams to the NFL playoffs in an effort to increase post-season revenue.

Next. 15 all-time greatest draft picks in Steelers history. dark