Potential extended NFL playoff impact: Jets, Commanders, Saints back in mix
The NFL there is still trying to figure out how to proceed after Damar Hamlin’s heart stops on the field led to the postponement of Monday night’s Bills-Bengals game, a matchup between two AFC heavyweights that has serious playoff implications.
NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent said during a conference call Wednesday that the game would not be played this week, but otherwise “everything is under review.” That includes resuming play next week after the regular season ends this weekend and delaying the start of the playoffs, eliminating the bye week before the Super Bowl to allow extra time to fit in that game, or eliminating the game entirely as a non-contest.
ProFootballTalk discussed the concept expanding the AFC and NFC playoff fields from seven to eight teams to ease the challenge of determining the first seed in the AFC Bills–of Bengal don’t play Adding an eighth playoff team in each conference has not been discussed, NFLPA Executive Director DeMorris Smith said during a conference call Thursday, but it will require more negotiations to ensure those eighth players and the teams that would receive a bye are seeded No. 1, received additional compensation.
If the NFL were to expand the playoffs this season, three teams would currently be eliminated from playoff contention ( Jet planes in AFC, art Commanders and Saints in the NFC) will get a shot at the postseason again.
Here’s a closer look at how things could shake out.
Current playoff teams
Heading into Week 18, there are 11 NFL teams that have already clinched playoff spots in the seven-team postseason format. This would remain the case if the NFL decided to expand the field to eight teams in each conference:
Took a place in the playoffs
Took a place in the playoffs
There are eight other teams in the current postseason format vying for the remaining three playoff spots: The Jaguars, Patriots, Dolphins, Steelers and Titans for two places in the AFC and Sea hawks, Lviv and Packers for one NFC location.
New teams in the 8-team playoff format
If the NFL’s postseason format were expanded to include eight teams from each conference, three teams previously eliminated in the seven-team format would have a chance to earn a playoff spot this weekend:
- Commanders (7-8-1)
- Saints (7-9)
That would mean there would now be 11 teams vying for five unclaimed playoff spots, with six AFC teams vying for three spots and five NFC teams vying for two spots.
Chances of earning a spot in the playoffs in an 8-team format
Below are the odds for each of those 11 teams to earn a playoff spot in the expanded eight-team postseason format. Chances through Athletica betting model created by Austin Mock.
Chances of earning a spot in the AFC playoffs in the 8-team format
Chances to earn a spot in the NFC playoffs in an 8-team format
(Photo: Ken Blaze/USA Today)
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