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Preseason · Regular Season · Playoff Race
Seeds · Scenarios · Tiebreaker Explanation · Ask Tiebreaker Expert Joe Ferreira
Seeds (Final)
Seed Team Division Record
1  Indianapolis (yz*) South 14-2-0
2  San Diego (yz) West 13-3-0
3  New England (y) East 10-6-0
4  Cincinnati (y) North 10-6-0
5  N.Y. Jets (x) East 9-7-0
6  Baltimore (x) North 9-7-0
7  Houston South 9-7-0
8  Pittsburgh North 9-7-0
9  Denver West 8-8-0
10  Tennessee South 8-8-0
11  Miami East 7-9-0
12  Jacksonville South 7-9-0
13  Buffalo East 6-10-0
14  Cleveland North 5-11-0
15  Oakland West 5-11-0
16  Kansas City West 4-12-0
Seed Team Division Record
1  New Orleans (yz*) South 13-3-0
2  Minnesota (yz) North 12-4-0
3  Dallas (y) East 11-5-0
4  Arizona (y) West 10-6-0
5  Green Bay (x) North 11-5-0
6  Philadelphia (x) East 11-5-0
7  Atlanta South 9-7-0
8  Carolina South 8-8-0
9  San Francisco West 8-8-0
10  N.Y. Giants East 8-8-0
11  Chicago North 7-9-0
12  Seattle West 5-11-0
13  Washington East 4-12-0
14  Tampa Bay South 3-13-0
15  Detroit North 2-14-0
16  St. Louis West 1-15-0
x-clinched playoff berth
y-denotes division winner
z-denotes first-round bye
*-clinched home-field advantage

During the regular season, the seeds reflect how the playoffs would stand if the season ended up to that point. The NFL playoffs are not based on a pure bracket system. In the divisional playoffs, the No. 1 seed is assured of playing the lowest-seeded Wild Card survivor. There are no restrictions on intra-division games and the higher seed of any matchup will have home-field advantage.

AFC Playoff tiebreakers
  • New England earns the No. 3 seed over Cincinnati based on strength of victory (.450 to the Bengals' .438).
  • N.Y. Jets and Baltimore finish ahead of Houston based on conference record (Ravens' 7-5 and Jets' 7-5 to the Texans' 6-6).
  • N.Y. Jets earn the No. 5 seed over of Baltimore based on common games (4-1 to the Ravens' 1-4).
  • Baltimore earns the No. 6 seed over Houston based on conference record (7-5 to the Texans' 6-6).

AFC Division tiebreakers
  • Baltimore finishes ahead of Pittsburgh based on division record (3-3 to the Steelers' 2-4).

AFC non-Playoff tiebreakers

  • Houston finishes ahead of Pittsburgh based on common games (4-1 to the Texans' 2-3).
  • Denver finishes ahead of Tennessee based on conference record (6-6 to the Titans' 4-8).
  • Miami finishes ahead of Jacksonville based on head to head (1-0).
  • Cleveland finishes ahead of Oakland based on head to head (1-0).

NFC Playoff tiebreakers
  • Green Bay earns the No. 5 seed over Philadelphia based on common games (4-1 to the Eagles' 3-2).
NFC Division tiebreakers
  • Dallas wins the NFC East Division over Philadelphia based on head to head (2-0).

NFC non-Playoff tiebreakers
  • Carolina finishes ahead of San Francisco and the N.Y. Giants based on conference record (8-4 to the 49ers' 7-5 and the Giants' 6-6).
  • San Francisco finishes ahead of the N.Y. Giants based on conference record (7-5 and the Giants' 6-6).

AFC eliminations
  • Cleveland (Week 12), Kansas City (Week 13), Oakland (Week 14), Buffalo (Week 15), Tennessee (Week 16), Jacksonville (Week 17), Miami (Week 17), Pittsburgh (Week 17), Denver (Week 17), Houston (Week 17)

NFC eliminations
  • Detroit (Week 12), St. Louis (Week 12), Tampa Bay (Week 12), Washington (Week 13), Chicago (Week 14), Seattle (Week 15), Carolina (Week 15), Atlanta (Week 15), San Francisco (Week 15), N.Y. Giants (Week 16)

Click here for the official tiebreaking procedures.

Talk Back
Since:Aug 30, 2006

November 30, 2009 12:51 am

Check out my blog (http://joenfl.blogs.cbssports.com/m
) as I dive into all of the various NFL playoff race possibilities ... including division clinching scenarios, home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, wild-card spots, seeding possibilities and the inevitable elimina

Since:Oct 3, 2009

December 31, 2009 10:37 am
I am sure that I will have many nay sayers about this blog, but there is something else to chew on.  Sure we are all upset that the Colts pulled their starters, but here is my conspiracy theory.  Why pull your starters and give life back to a team that is on the playoff bubble?  You may have to look no further then to a team in their division.  There is a team that has battled ...(more)
Since:Nov 2, 2006

December 29, 2009 7:48 am
Just to give you an idea of when certain teams will be playing their playoff games.

Looking back at the last few NFL playoff schedules, the conference (and network) schedules have alternated every other year.

1st Round: Last year, AFC/CBS hosted the early game Sunday (Baltimore/Miami) and FOX hosted the late game Sunday (Philadelphia/Minnesota). It appears it is NFC's/FOX's t
Since:Dec 16, 2006

January 3, 2010 1:38 am
As you all know, the NFL allows rookies to make more money than veterans. Could you imagine going into work and finding out that a new guy with no professional experience was hired making twice your salary? The NFL is a business just like any other corporation, so why isn't there a guideline for player salaries and contracts? Here's just an example of what the NFL could do:

Since:Dec 17, 2008

January 1, 2010 1:13 am
(POLL) To add a WC team to playoffs. One day the Playoffs will have a division champ in the playoffs with a percentage of less than .500. This would cost a 10-6 or 11-5 from being in the playoffs. The NFL should put it's best teams in the playoffs.

The team that wins the conference gets HFA and a BYE.

The 3 other division winners play the 3 wild cards in wild card playoffs.
2 p
Since:Dec 17, 2008

January 1, 2010 11:25 pm
(POLL) Should the NFL expand to 18 game season?

A possible outcome will be more common games 
They would pair with another team (1st place team playing 2nd,3rd, or 4th place team
Since:Oct 3, 2006

January 4, 2010 10:53 am
or, sorry, "selection meeting" tiebreakers, (took me a minute to figure out what in the world a "selection meeting" was the first time I started playing around with these...)

Is there a good reason why head to head and/or common games are not used to differentiate ties between AFC and NFC teams with matching SOS? Though I'm sure the commerotaive coin
Since:Nov 2, 2006

December 29, 2009 7:22 am
New England and Cincinnati are in contention for the 3 seed this Sunday. Both are divisional champs, neither can earn a first round bye. Of course you want to win your division and get that home game in the 1st round. Of course you want the 1st round bye. And of course you want home field throughout the conference. But how much difference is there between the 3 seed and the 4 seed? Honestly I woul ...(more)
Since:Nov 2, 2006

December 29, 2009 10:38 am
Hey, I'm from Philadelphia. We didn't know NFL games can end in ties (right Donovan)? I remember that game vs. the Bengals last year, we were a lot closer to a loss than a tie. Had the Eagles lost to the Bengals, they would've been 9-7 and tied with the Cowboys, Buccanneers, and Bears for the last playoff spot. Now I'm not sure who would've won the tiebreaker but that tie could've been the differe ...(more)
Since:Dec 3, 2006

December 13, 2009 11:41 pm
OK, let's assume the top 5 teams are all in - Indy, San Diego, Cincy, NE and Denver.  Not sure of exact seeding between 2 and 3 and who wins the west, but lets say all 5 are in.
That leaves 4 teams for 1 spot: Jacksonville, Baltimore, Miami and the Jets.  I think it comes down to whoever wins out.  It's going to take 10 wins to get in, so if any of those 4 slip, they're done
Since:Jan 22, 2007

December 29, 2009 10:29 am
I never thought that the Cowboys would have a chance to have a 1st round bye after losing to the Giants and Chargers to start December, But with one big win against Philadelphia and a little help from the Packers (Which Ironic since the Packers beat the Cowboys earlier this year) and GULP! The Giants. A few weeks ago I was holding my Breath just hoping they would get in the playoffs and now they h ...(more)
Since:Oct 19, 2006

December 29, 2009 3:05 am
Usually to be a playoff team, you have to win at least ten games. I find it very interesting that two AFC playoff teams, with the AFC usually being considered better than the NFC, will only have 9 wins. What is the reason for this? NFC now better? Lesser teams becoming more competitive? Good teams losing to bad teams? It just seems strange that somewhat mediocre teams will be in the playoffs this ...(more)
Since:Aug 31, 2009

December 22, 2009 4:36 pm
Here is why I think Pittsburgh makes the playoffs:

Mike Tomlin challenged his defense for the rest of the season when he made the call to go for the on-side kick. 

I think Pittsburgh beats Baltimore which means all the teams below except Miami who Pitt will beat in week 17, Denver who they hold the tiebreaker against, and Baltimore, will all have worse records than Pitt
Since:Dec 30, 2006

December 26, 2009 5:16 am

The Tıtans loss made it a little bit tougher, but the Steelers still have a good chance of making the playoffs.

Pittsburgh wins out, Jets, Jacksonville, Miami, Houston, and Denver all go 1-1. If Baltimore goes 0-2, the Steelers would have the 5 seed. Jets play the Colts and Bengals, Jacksonville plays NE and Cleveland, Miami plays Houston and Pitt, Houston plays Miami ...(more)

Since:Sep 13, 2006

January 3, 2010 9:53 pm
when they should be out...

nfl needs to investigate this...it threatens the integrity of the game...
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