While the NFL consists of 32 teams, divided equally between the NFC and AFC, only 7 teams from each division get to play in the NFL playoffs.
Fourteen teams make the NFL playoffs: four division winners and three wild card teams. The playoff bracket is seeded so that the division winners play the wild card teams, and the top two seeds within each conference receive a bye week. In total, 8 teams make the NFL divisional playoffs.
NFL playoffs format
The NFL playoff contains four rounds of play. The first round, known as the Wild Card round, features the three teams with the best record who did not win their division and three wildcard team.
The second round is the Divisional round, which features the divisional winners and seeds from the wildcard round.
The third round is the Conference Championship round, which features the higher and lower seed from the Divisional rounds.
Finally, the fourth and final round is the Super Bowl, which determines the NFL champion.
How do NFL playoffs work?
The NFL playoff structure is designed so that the best teams have the most opportunities to win. The four division winners from each conference are seeded one through four based on their regular season record. Each conference’s three Wild Card teams are seeded five, six, and seven.
In the Wild Card round, the sixth seed plays the third seed, the fifth seed plays the fourth seed, and the seventh seed plays the second seed.
In the Divisional round, the lowest seed plays the first seed and the second lowest seed plays the second highest. The Conference Championship games put the winners of each division against each other. The winner of each conference championship game advances to the Super Bowl, where they compete against each other for the title of NFL champion.