How do the 2021 NFL Playoffs work? Format, seeding, teams, bracket, byes explained


The 2021 NFL Playoffs are finally here! See below for all you need to know, including the format, dates, locations, which stadiums are allowing fans, how to watch, and more.

How do the NFL playoffs work and what’s different about this year?

A total of 14 teams–seven from each conference–will compete in the playoffs this year. The top seed from each conference has a bye to the divisional round. The previous format featured 12 teams (6 from each conference) and allowed two teams in each conference to have first-round byes. As a result, there are now two extra games on Wild Card weekend.

Here are the teams competing in the playoffs this year:

Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo Bills, Pittsburgh Steelers, Tennessee Titans, Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns, Indianapolis Colts, Green Bay Packers, New Orleans Saints, Seattle Seahawks, Washington Football Team, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Los Angeles Rams, and Chicago Bears.

See below for the updated 2021 NFL Playoffs bracket and matchups.

When do the 2021 NFL Playoffs start?

Wild Card Weekend will take place on Saturday, January 9 and Sunday, January 10 featuring three games on each day. The divisional round will take place on Saturday, January 16 and Sunday, January 17. The conference championships will take place on Sunday, January 24 with the winners advancing to the Super Bowl. Click here for a complete schedule with game times and information on how to watch.

When is the 2021 Super Bowl?

Super Bowl 55 will take place on Sunday, February 7 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay, Florida.

Is the NFL allowing fans to attend games?

As they did during the regular season, the NFL is allowing each team to determine its guidelines for game day. Click here to see which teams will allow fans during the divisional round.

Check out ProFootballTalk for more on the 2021 NFL Playoffs as well as game previews, recaps, news, rumors and more.