Nfl Playoff Bracket 2020-21

07.03.2021by

The Cardinals' victory via Hail Mary on Sunday didn't just thrill NFL viewers. It also helped shake up the NFC playoff race for the 2020 season. When the dust settled, the Cardinals were atop the NFC West and the Packers were holding the top spot in the conference.

  1. The 2020 NFL regular season concludes January 3, 2021 with, for the first time in NFL history, the top seven teams from each conference moving onto the 2020-21 NFL Playoffs, which are set to begin January 9, 2021. We’ve been tracking the odds for all 32 teams to make the playoffs from the time the odds opened and will continue to do so right.
  2. Complete coverage of the 2020 NFL Playoffs including a schedule, game times, and bracket for AFC and NFC playoff games. Get the latest updates from CBS Sports on the road to Super Bowl LV.
  3. See the latest NFL Standings by Division, Conference and League. Find current or past season NFL standings by team.

We continue to base our weekly playoff picture analysis on a 14-team field. NFL owners did approve a contingency plan for a 16-team field last week, should the regular season be cut short by COVID-19. But that plan is subject to approval by the NFL Players Association, and the terms of its trigger -- how many games would need to be canceled for it to be implemented -- have not been publicized. We'll use ESPN's Football Power Index (FPI) to help project the coming weeks, with our usual disclaimer: There is a long way to go. Let's jump in, starting with the lone undefeated team in the NFL.

Jump to: AFC NFC

The latest updated NFL Playoff bracket and schedule can be found on our printable NFL Playoff bracket and schedule for the Divisional Round. With an expanded playoff format in the 2020-21 NFL season, there was no shortage of chaos affecting the seeding in Week 17.

AFC

1. Pittsburgh Steelers (9-0)

FPI chances to make playoffs: 99.9%
FPI chances to win division: 87.8%

The Steelers were the first NFL team to nine victories and now own a full game lead on the Chiefs for the top spot in the conference. You know you're humming along when your starting quarterback can miss the week of practice, as Ben Roethlisberger did because of COVID-19 protocols, and still put up 333 passing yards and four touchdown passes.

The Steelers will finish their season with a quite lopsided schedule, with very winnable games against the Jaguars and Bengals and then four against strong postseason contenders (Ravens, Bills, Colts and Browns).

Up next: at Jaguars

2. Kansas City Chiefs (8-1)

FPI chances to make playoffs: 99.9%
FPI chances to win division: 94.2%

The Chiefs better hit the ground running after their bye. Their next five games include four road matchups against the playoff-contending Raiders, Buccaneers, Dolphins and Saints. It's the 11th-most difficult remaining schedule in the league. There is every reason to believe the Chiefs are the class of the AFC West, but they'll need to show it over the next month.

Up next: at Raiders

3. Buffalo Bills (7-3)

FPI chances to make playoffs: 87.3%
FPI chances to win division: 74.8%

Were it not for one of the most perfectly executed Hail Marys in memory, the Bills would have been 8-2 and in command of the AFC East. Nothing we saw Sunday should dissuade us from considering the Bills one of the best teams in football. But now they have less room to maneuver in both the division and the conference. The Dolphins, for one, could match their record in Week 11 while the Bills are on their bye.

Up next: vs. Chargers (Week 12)

4. Indianapolis Colts (6-3)

FPI chances to make playoffs: 67.1%
FPI chances to win division: 54.8%

The Colts pulled even with the Titans after trouncing them last Thursday, by far their most impressive game of the season. Four of their six victories have come against teams with losing records, and as it turns out, they had the second-easiest schedule through Week 10 in the NFL.

So did they turn a corner in Tennessee? Or will they settle back toward a .500 mark during a second half that includes games against the Packers, Titans (again), Raiders and Steelers? They're ahead of the Titans on this list because they hold a (possibly) temporary head-to-head tiebreaker.

Up next: vs. Packers

5. Las Vegas Raiders (6-3)

FPI chances to make playoffs: 73.2%
FPI chances to win division: 5.8%

The Raiders have won three of their past four games after a 2-2 start, including wins over the Chiefs and Browns, and they'll have a chance in Week 11 to eat further into the Chiefs' lead in the AFC West. Sweeping the season series would put the Raiders one game out of the division lead. After that, they would have only two games remaining against teams who currently have winning records.

Up next: vs. Chiefs

6. Miami Dolphins (6-3)

FPI chances to make playoffs: 49.8%
FPI chances to win division: 20.8%

Just as we all suspected: The Dolphins are 3-0 since inserting rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa into the starting lineup. The truth is that the entire team has surged over that time; all three games have featured at least one big defensive or special-teams play. As coach Brian Flores puts himself into the Coach of the Year discussion, the Dolphins are squarely in the wild-card mix and closer in the AFC East than anyone would have anticipated.

Up next: at Broncos

7. Baltimore Ravens (6-3)

FPI chances to make playoffs: 93.6%
FPI chances to win division: 11.5%

Week 10 made clear that it's going to be tough for the Ravens to repeat as AFC North champions. Their unexpected loss to the Patriots dropped them three games behind the Steelers and, for the moment, left them barely clinging to a wild-card spot. And they've got a tough stretch coming with the Titans and Steelers on the schedule. Given the strength of the AFC, the Ravens are suddenly in playoff survival mode.

Up next: vs. Titans

Also in the AFC mix

Cleveland Browns (6-3): There will come a time when we'll collectively accept the Browns as genuine playoff contenders. Sunday's 10-7 victory over the 2-7 Texans wasn't too inspiring, but in an expanded field, they might need only three more victories to pull off a berth.

Tennessee Titans (6-3): The Titans have cooled off considerably in the past month, losing three of their past four games. That, combined with a reverse 3-1 surge from the Colts, has cost the Titans control of the AFC South. FPI is still giving them a 66.3% chance to make the playoffs, but the Colts are now a slight favorite to win the division. That is in part because the Titans will play five of their final seven games on the road. Playing at home hasn't been an advantage for teams this season, but that doesn't eliminate the potential for increasing their late-season grind.

New England Patriots (4-5): A significant gap remains, but it's worth noting that the Patriots would hold head-to-head tiebreakers over the Raiders and Ravens if it comes to that.

NFC

1. Green Bay Packers (7-2)

FPI chances to make playoffs: 97.7%
FPI chances to win division: 91.5%

A home victory over the Jaguars, combined with the Seahawks' loss to the Rams, boosted the Packers to the top spot in the conference. The Packers ascended based on the head-to-head tiebreaker, via their Week 3 win in New Orleans. Now, the question is whether the Packers can stay there. They will continue to hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Saints, but they did lose to the Buccaneers -- an outcome that will matter here only if the Saints falter in the NFC South.

Up next: at Colts

2. New Orleans Saints (7-2)

FPI chances to make playoffs: 98.8%
FPI chances to win division: 72.4%

Despite Sunday's win over the 49ers, the Saints dropped out of the top spot because the Seahawks' loss eliminated a three-way tie with the Packers. Of more pressing concern, however, is which quarterback they'll head down the stretch with. Starter Drew Brees' immediate status is in doubt because of a rib injury. He would be replaced by the combination of Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill.

The Saints won all five starts Brees missed because of a thumb injury in 2019, but would you feel as comfortable with Winston and Hill as you did with 2019 backup Teddy Bridgewater? Fortunately, the Saints don't play a team that currently has a winning record until they host the Chiefs in Week 15.

Up next: vs. Falcons

3. Arizona Cardinals (6-3)

FPI chances to make playoffs: 69.8%
FPI chances to win division: 28.1%

In a matter of minutes Sunday, the Cardinals cemented their ascendance into a legitimate contender for the highly competitive NFC West title. DeAndre Hopkins' Hail Mary touchdown flipped their game against the Bills from a loss to a win at about the same time the Seahawks were wrapping up a defeat to the Rams.

There's obviously a long way to go, but if you're wondering why the Cardinals would currently win out in a three-way division tiebreaker: They have a better division record than the Rams, and they defeated the Seahawks in Week 7 for a head-to-head advantage. But two games against the Rams, and one Thursday night in Seattle, remain on their schedule.

Up next: at Seahawks

4. Philadelphia Eagles (3-5-1)

FPI chances to make playoffs: 63.6%
FPI chances to win division: 63.5%

They're going to blow this, aren't they? Despite a sub-.500 record, the Eagles had a chance Sunday to add some distance between them and the only team that appears capable of competing with them for the NFC title. And naturally, the Eagles lost by two scores to the Giants and could fall behind them in the division standings as early as Week 11 with another loss and a Giants victory.

Nfl Playoff Bracket 2020-21 Printable

Up next: at Browns

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-3)

FPI chances to make playoffs: 95.1%
FPI chances to win division: 27.6%

If you wanted to argue that the Buccaneers are one of the NFL's top teams, except when they play the Saints, Sunday brought you some more evidence. Once their offense got rolling against the Panthers, it was a sight to behold. After spotting the Panthers a 14-7 deficit, they outscored them 39-9 the rest of the way, in the process rolling up 30 first downs and 544 total yards. Drew Brees' injury for the Saints might open a lane for the Buccaneers to win the NFC South. But if not, they'd still likely be one of the scariest wild-card teams in some time.

Up next: vs. Rams

6. Los Angeles Rams (6-3)

FPI chances to make playoffs: 79.8%
FPI chances to win division: 32.6%

Some wondered if the Rams had reached the midseason playoff picture largely because they've played (and defeated) the entire NFC East. But they provided some decent evidence to the contrary Sunday by dismantling the Seahawks. It was their second victory over a team with a winning record this season. If this holds up, the Rams will make the NFC West a three-team race.

Up next: at Buccaneers

7. Seattle Seahawks (6-3)

FPI chances to make playoffs: 87.0%
FPI chances to win division: 37.7%

Could the Seahawks collapse after putting too much on the shoulders of quarterback Russell Wilson? They have now lost three of their past four games, with Wilson committing 10 turnovers in the three defeats. They'll need to regroup in a hurry; the Cardinals will come to Seattle in four days. To this point, the primary damage of this slump is losing control of the NFC West. There is plenty of time to jump back ahead.

Up next: vs. Cardinals

Also in the NFC mix

Chicago Bears (5-5): With Monday night's injury to quarterback Nick Foles, and the team's continued offensive struggles, it's hard to see the Bears as a true contender.

Minnesota Vikings (4-5): Like the Lions, the Vikings are near .500 with plenty of time to make a move.

Detroit Lions (4-5): Nothing about Sunday made anyone think the Lions are ready to surge. They needed a 59-yard field goal to beat Washington after losing a 24-3 lead, but any team near .500 at this point in a seven-team bracket is mathematically in the mix.

San Francisco 49ers (4-6): It appears that the 49ers' injuries and COVID-19 absences are going to fell the defending conference champions, especially in a division as competitive as the NFC West.

New York Giants (3-7): When a team opens its season with seven losses in its first eight games, as the Giants did, you can usually assume it won't be part of the mid-November playoff picture. But it took them only two consecutive victories to climb back into the NFC East race, and look out: They might be the best team in the division.

The NFL playoff bracket for 2021 has taken its final shape.

The NFC East champion Washington Football Team claimed the NFC's No. 4 seed and will host the Buccaneers in the wild-card round. The Chiefs and Packers got each conference's lone bye. The Dolphins, Cardinals and Cowboys had costly Week 17 losses. And the Bills and Rams showed they can win even without their best players on the field.

Beginning Jan. 9, the NFL will show off its expanded 14-team playoff bracket (up from the usual 12 for the first time this season). Out of those 14, 12 will play in the first round thanks to a necessarily altered bye structure to wind up with the same number of playoff rounds. Additional teams mean two additional games, putting a trio of games on both Saturday and Sunday in wild card weekend.

Below is all you need to know about the NFL playoff bracket in 2021, including a complete postseason schedule, TV channels for all the playoff games and scores/results as they come.

MORE: SN predicts the entire 2021 NFL playoff bracket

NFL playoff bracket 2021

Nfl Playoff Bracket 2020-21 Pdf

Schedule© Provided by Sporting News nfl-playoff-bracket-2021-ftr

Here's a look at the complete NFL playoff bracket for 2021:

AFC

1. Kansas City Chiefs vs. 2. Buffalo Bills

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1. Kansas City Chiefs vs. 6. Cleveland Browns

2. Buffalo Bills vs. 5. Baltimore Ravens

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1. Kansas City Chiefs (bye)

2. Buffalo Bills vs. 7. Indianapolis Colts

3. Pittsburgh Steelers vs. 6. Cleveland Browns

4. Tennessee Titans vs. 5. Baltimore Ravens

NFC

1. Green Bay Packers vs. 5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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1. Green Bay Packers vs. 6. Los Angeles Rams

2. New Orleans Saints vs. 5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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1. Green Bay Packers (bye)

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2. New Orleans Saints vs. 7. Chicago Bears

3. Seattle Seahawks vs. 6. Los Angeles Rams

4. Washington Football Team vs. 5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

MORE: NFL's expanded playoff bracket, explained

NFL playoff schedule 2021

Below is the full NFL playoff schedule for 2021, complete with TV channels and live stream links.

Wild-card round

Saturday, Jan. 9

Results
Bills 27, Colts 24
Rams 30, Seahawks 20
Buccaneers 31, Washington 23

Sunday, Jan. 10

Results
Ravens 20, Titans 13
Saints 21, Bears 9
Browns 48, Steelers 37

Divisional round

Saturday, Jan. 16

Matchup
Packers 32, Rams 18
Bills 17, Ravens 3

Sunday, Jan. 17

Matchup
Chiefs 22, Browns 17
Buccaneers 30, Saints 20

Conference championships

Sunday, Jan. 24

MatchupStart timeTV channelLive stream
Buccaneers at Packers3:05 p.m. ETFoxfuboTV
Bills at Chiefs6:40 p.m. ETCBSfuboTV

Nfl Playoff Bracket 2020-21 Updated

Super Bowl 55

Sunday, Feb. 7

MatchupStart timeTV channelLive stream
AFC champion vs. NFC champion6:30 p.m. ETCBSfuboTV

TV channels, live streams for NFL playoff games

Beginning with the wild-card round, NFL playoff games each week will be shown nationally on NBC, CBS, Fox and ESPN. CBS has exclusive broadcast rights for the AFC championship game, while Fox showed the NFC championship. CBS is the home to Super Bowl 55.

In Canada, you can live stream on DAZN, which offers a free trial.

Details of national and local television coverage for each playoff game are included in the tables below.

MORE: Live stream NFL playoff games on fuboTV (7-day free trial)

Wild-card round

Saturday, Jan. 9

MatchupStart timeTV channelLive stream
Colts at Bills1:05 p.m. ETCBSCBS All Access, fuboTV
Rams at Seahawks4:40 p.m. ETFoxFox Sports Go, fuboTV
Buccaneers at Washington8:15 p.m. ETNBCNBC Sports App, fuboTV

Sunday, Jan. 10

MatchupStart timeTV channelLive stream
Ravens at Titans1:05 p.m. ETESPN/ABCESPN App, fuboTV
Bears at Saints4:40 p.m. ETCBS/Nickelodeon/Amazon PrimeCBS All Access, Amazon Prime Video, fuboTV
Browns at Steelers8:15 p.m. ETNBCNBC Sports App, fuboTV

Saturday, Jan. 16

MatchupStart timeTV channelLive stream
Rams at Packers4:35 p.m. ETFoxfuboTV
Ravens at Bills8:15 p.m. ETNBCfuboTV

Sunday, Jan. 17

MatchupStart timeTV channelLive stream
Browns at Chiefs3:05 p.m. ETCBSfuboTV
Buccaneers at Saints6:40 p.m. ETFoxfuboTV

Conference championships

Sunday, Jan. 24

MatchupStart timeTV channelLive stream
Buccaneers at Packers3:05 p.m. ETFoxfuboTV
Bills at Chiefs6:40 p.m. ETCBSfuboTV

Super Bowl 55

Sunday, Feb. 7

MatchupStart timeTV channelLive stream
AFC champion vs. NFC champion6:30 p.m. ETCBSfuboTV

Nfl Playoff Bracket 2020-21 Cbs

When do the NFL playoffs end 2021?

  • Start date: Saturday, Jan. 9
  • End date: Sunday, Feb. 7

Nfl Playoff Bracket 2020-21 Schedule

The NFL playoffs last about a month, starting with the wild card round, then the divisional round and conference championships before culminating in the Super Bowl on Feb. 7 in Tampa, Florida.

Nfl Playoff Bracket 2020-21 Picture

As is often the case, there's a week off between the conference title games and the Super Bowl. Normally, the Pro Bowl is played in that gap, although there isn't a physical Pro Bowl game being played in 2021.

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