Everything you need to know about the 2023-24 NFL playoffs, from how to watch to tiebreakers

Three … two … one … Happy 2024 NFL Playoffs!

If your New Year's resolutions include watching more soccer, you're a great goal-setter and lucky one. The NFL playoffs begin on January 13th, with the wild card round ending on January 15th. It takes a week to familiarize yourself with and get the league excited, but luckily it starts here with just a few minutes and everything you need. know

Warning: Increasing football viewership may result in more yelling at inanimate objects like your TV.

How many teams participate in the postseason?

Fourteen of the league's 32 teams have their shot at the Vince Lombardi Trophy, with seven teams — four division winners and three wild-card teams — from each conference remaining in Week 18.

The teams with the best records in the AFC and NFC each had the No. 1 seeds, and both had wins in Week 17. The Baltimore Ravens (13-3) moved past the Miami Dolphins to take first place in the AFC. The 49ers' win over the Washington Commanders, the first since 2019, and the Arizona Cardinals' upset of the Philadelphia Eagles gave San Francisco (12-4) NFC dominance.

As the top dogs, the Ravens and 49ers have a first-round bye — excluding the wild-card round — and home-field advantage.

No. 2 seeds with division winners second-best records, and no. The 3 and 4 seeds follow as division winners with the third and fourth best records.

The fifth through seventh seeds go to wild-card teams that did not win their divisions but had the next-best records in all of the conferences. They fill the remaining seedings in chronological order: the team with the best record of the three wild card teams no. 5 ranks, the second best being no. 6 in and third best are no. At 7.

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What are the playoff tiebreakers?

What if the playoff contenders had the same record? Who enters?

It is the team with the best record. But if even that is tied, the team in a postseason bid…

  1. Best Win-Loss-Even Percentage in Conference Games
  2. Best Win-Loss-Even percentage in common sports, at least four.
  3. Best strength of victory in all games.
  4. Best strength of the table in all sports.
  5. Best combined ranking among conference teams in points scored and points allowed in all games.
  6. Best combined ranking among all teams in points scored and points allowed in all games.
  7. Best net points in conference games.
  8. Best net points in all games.
  9. Best netting touchdowns in all games.

If they all somehow end up equal, there's a silly, finite tiebreaker: the coin toss.

Leaders… your team earns a playoff bid! Tails … your poor, poor TV.

Here's what the current playoff picture looks like

It's crunch time in the NFC…

The 49ers, Detroit Lions, Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles and Los Angeles Rams punched their tickets early for Week 18, grabbing two spots.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-8) won the NFC South with a 9-0 victory over the Carolina Panthers.

The 49ers won the NFC West and the Lions won the NFC North. NFC East and South are unclaimed.

The New Orleans Saints (9-8), Green Bay Packers (8-8) and Seattle Seahawks (8-8) can all still win the final wild card.

How everyone can earn a playoff spot:

Bakers: A win

Sea Hawks: One win + Packers loss/tie

Saints: Seahawks loss/tie + Packers loss/tie

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Meanwhile in AFC…

All seven playoff teams are set — the only thing left to decide is the seeding.


The Ravens, Dolphins, Kansas City Chiefs, Houston Texans, Cleveland Browns, Buffalo Bills and Pittsburgh Steelers will represent the AFC in the playoffs.

The Texans (10-7) clinched a spot with a win over the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday. The Bills (10-6) and Steelers (10-7) won after the Jacksonville Jaguars (9-8) lost their season finale to the Tennessee Titans.

Sunday night's Dolphins-Bills game will decide the AFC East and first-round matchups.

If the Bills win, they will be ranked No. 2 seat and no. 7 will host the Steelers, while the no. 3 Chiefs will host the No. 6 Dolphins.

If the Dolphins win, they will be ranked No. 2nd place and no. 7 Bills will be rerun, while no. 3 Heads no. 6 will host the Steelers.

If the Dolphins and Bills are tied, Miami will take the No. 2 seed and host the No. 7 Steelers, the No. 3 Chiefs will give number 6 bills.

Playoff schedule, TV info

Wild Card Round (all times Eastern)

Saturday, January 13

  • Game 1:4:30 pm (NBC)
  • Match 2:8:15 pm (Peacock)

Sunday, January 14

  • Game 3: 1 p.m. (TBD)
  • Match 4:4:30 pm (TBD)
  • Game 5: 8:15 pm (TBD)

Monday, January 15

  • Game 6: 8:15 p.m. (ABC, ESPN)

division round

The stakes will rise with two games each on January 20 and 21. Times and networks TBD.

Conference Championships

Both conference championship games take place on Sunday, January 28.

Super Bowl LVIII

The Super Bowl begins on February 11th and will be televised by CBS this year. This year's game is at Allegiant Stadium, home of the Las Vegas Raiders.

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Required reading

(Photo: Christian Peterson/Getty Images)

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