The National Football League is 32-team competition divided into two conferences, each of them with 16 teams: the American Football Conference (AFC) and the National Football Conference (NFC).
From 2002 onwards each conference was divided into 4 divisions of 4 teams each, resulting in a total of 8 groups of 4 teams. This phase of the competition is called the regular season where conference and division champions and determined.
After the regular season has been played 12 teams will qualify for the Playoffs. They are determined as follows.
- The 4 division champions from each conference (the team in each division with the best record), which are seeded 1 through 4 (as in the image below) based on their overall won-lost-tied record.
- Two wild card qualifiers from each conference (the non division-champions with the conference’s best winning percentages), which are seeded 5 and 6 (image bellow as well).
Each of the 4 division winners is seeded 1–4 based on their overall records. The two wild card teams (labeled Wild Card 1 and 2) are seeded fifth and sixth (with the better of the two having seed 5) regardless of their records compared to the 4 division winners (please see image for seed numbers).
Teams from the same division may match up in any round. Furthermore, differently from other american professional sports leagues – NBA (Basketball), NHL (Hockey), or MLB (Baseball) – the NFL Playoffs are based on a single-elimination tournament (single game) in all four rounds instead of a best-off system (e.g. winner of most out of 5 games).
The first round of the Playoffs is known as the Wild Card Playoffs.
The 1 and 2 seeds from each conference automatically go foward to the second round, the Divisional Playoffs, where they face the Wild Card Playoffs survivors.
The two surviving teams from each conference’s Divisional Playoff games then meet in the respective AFC and NFC Conference Championship games. Conference champions will play against each other in the Super Bowl.
Now that the NFL regular season reached its 14 week Atlanta Falcons are on top of the National League as well as the National Football Conference and Houston Texans lead the league American Football Conference both teams with 11 wins and two losses.
These two teams obviously also lead their division and the other 3 AFC (New England Patriots, Baltimore Ravens and Denver Broncos) 3 NFC divisions (New York Giants, Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers) are topped by the teams in brackets.
It’s all about winning and scoring reach the Playoffs. And do you know what type of points can be scored? Well it goes like this:
– Touchdown (6 points)
– Field Goal (3 points)
– Safety (2 points)
– Try (1 or points, depending whether it resulted from a field goal/safety or a touchdown)
In future posts we will explain in more detail the moves that allow for each type of scoring starting with the Touchdown and having as source the NFL Rulebook below: