Playoff picture: All pairings are set

Munich – The Super Bowl Champion 2022 is wanted.

In the final in Los Angeles on February 13, 2022, the two best teams of the NFL season will face each other.

ran shows the way to the Super Bowl LVI and explains the structure of the NFL playoffs.


The competitive structure of the NFL is based on the division into two conferences, the American Football Conference (AFC) and the National Football Conference (NFC).

Both are divided into four divisions each. A total of 32 teams from eight divisions are fighting for a place in the playoffs in the regular season. Each team plays 17 games.

Both conferences have their own playoffs. Seven teams qualify in each conference and are placed in a seeding list based on their balance sheet in the regular season.

The four division champions are seeded in the playoffs. The division winner with the best record is seeded at # 1 (NFC: Packers, AFC: Titans), the division winner with the worst record is seeded at # 4 (NFC: Cowboys, AFC: Bengals).

Then there are the three teams with the best record in the regular season that did not finish first in a division. The team with the best record is placed at # 5 (NFC: Cardinals, AFC: Patriots), the team with the weakest at # 7 (NFC: Eagles, AFC: Raiders). This makes it possible that the seven most successful teams in a conference do not automatically move into the playoffs.

If the victory-defeat balance is the same, various criteria decide on the allocation of places – from a direct comparison to the conference balance to the strength of schedule.

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NFL 2021: Seeding lists of the conferences

NFC: #1 Packers* (13-4), #2 Buccaneers* (13-4), #3 Cowboys* (12-5), #4 Rams* (12-5), #5 Cardinals* (11-6), #6 49ers (10-7)*, #7 Eagles* (9-8)*

AFC: #1 Titans (12-5)*, #2 Chiefs (12-5)*, #3 Bills (11-6)*, #4 Bengals (10-7)*, #5 Raiders (10-7)*, #6 Patriots (10-7)*, #7 Steelers (9-7-1)*

NFL 2021: The current playoff picture (as of January 10, 2022)

To switch to full view, please click on the picture.

* qualified for the playoffs

Wild Card Round

Corresponds to the round of 16. In this round, team # 1 always has a bye (it only starts in the divisional playoffs). In the Wild Card Games, team # 2 meets team # 7 at home, team # 3 plays at home against team # 6 and team # 4 receives team # 5.


#7 Philadelphia Eagles at #2 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

#6 San Francisco 49ers at #3 Dallas Cowboys

#5 Arizona Cardinals at #4 LA Rams


#7 Pittsburgh Steelers at #2 Kansas City Chiefs

#6 New England Patriots at #3 Buffalo Bills

#5 Las Vegas Raiders at #4 Cincinnati Bengals

Divisional Round

Corresponds to the quarter-finals. In this round, team # 1 intervenes and receives the lowest seeded team that prevailed in the wild card round. The second game is played by the other two victorious teams of the Wild Card Round, with the higher-ranked team enjoying home rights.

Conference Championships

Corresponds to the semi-finals. The winning teams from the divisional playoffs of the respective conference meet and determine the two Super Bowl participants. The higher ranked team has home rights.

Super Bowl

The final. The winner of the NFC meets the winner of the AFC. Super Bowl LVI will take place at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles on February 13, 2022.

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