NFL Playoffs 2022: Overtime Rules, Bracket and Postseason Format

Maurice Bobb@@ReeseReportFeatured ColumnistJanuary 15, 2022

NFL Playoffs 2022: Overtime Rules, Bracket and Postseason Format

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    John Munson/Associated Press

    The 2022 NFL postseason officially gets underway this Saturday with the start of Super Wild Card Weekend.

    With six games on the schedule (two games on Saturday, three games on Sunday, one on Monday), the league's expanded playoff format is giving fans all the postseason football they can handle.

    As always, the big question with Super Wild Card Weekend is how many upsets will fans witness?

    Last season, there were four upsets in the wild-card round. Will there be more this year?

    Here's a quick look at the postseason bracket, format and overtime rules.

The New Playoff Format

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    Steve Marcus/Getty Images

    For the second straight year, the new playoff format is on display and in motion, and the jury's still out on whether fans like it.

    It goes without saying, though, that the teams that otherwise wouldn't be playing before the change to the wild-card pool definitely appreciate it.

    Just like last year, the No. 1 seed in each conference get the first-round bye and won't have to play until the divisional round, while the No. 2 seed hosts the No. 7 seed, the No. 3 seed hosts the No. 6 seed and the No. 4 seed hosts the No. 5 seed.

    This new format is why fans will see a top-tier team like the Kansas City Chiefs take on the Pittsburgh Steelers, who barely made it in following the results of the nail-biter between the Las Vegas Raiders and Los Angeles Chargers last week, where the Raiders advanced in overtime 35-32.

    Once things move to the divisional round, the No. 1 seed will play host to the lowest seed in each conference. 

    There will likely be some upsets this year during Super Wild Card Weekend, but after it's done, the playoff format will revert to that of years past.

Playoff Overtime Rules

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    Willfredo Lee/Associated Press

    There will probably never be as many mentions of a game ending in a tie as last week, when the implications of the possibility of the Raiders and Chargers game ending in a tie were so interesting.

    But unlike the regular season, postseason games cannot end in a tie, so overtime rules are slightly different.

    For instance, instead of 10 minutes on the clock for overtime, the teams get 15 minutes for the period.

    Each team gets three timeouts during a half and there will be a two-minute intermission between each overtime period.

    From NFL Operations: "If the score is still tied at the end of an overtime period—or if the second team's initial possession has not ended—the teams will play another overtime period. Play will continue regardless of how many overtime periods are needed for a winner to be determined."

    Similar to the regular season, though, if the opening possession team scores a touchdown in overtime, the game is over. But if that team only scores a field goal, the opposing team will get a chance to score. If that team can't score, the game is over.

    If no team scores during the opening possession of overtime, the team that scores a field goal or touchdown, wins the game. 

Wild Card Weekend Schedule

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    Julio Cortez/Associated Press

    Saturday, January 15

    5. Las Vegas Raiders at 4. Cincinnati Bengals

    4:30 p.m. ET on NBC, NBC Sports

    6. New England Patriots at 3. Buffalo Bills

    8:15 p.m. ET on CBS, CBS Sports


    Sunday, January 16

    7. Philadelphia Eagles at 2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    1:00 p.m. ET on Fox, Fox Sports

    6. San Francisco 49ers at 3. Dallas Cowboys

    4:30 p.m. ET on CBS, Nickelodeon, CBS Sports

    7. Pittsburgh Steelers at 2. Kansas City Chiefs

    8:15 p.m. ET on NBC, NBC Sports


    Monday, January 17

    5. Arizona Cardinals at 4. Los Angeles Rams

    8:15 p.m. ET on ABC, ESPN, ESPN App


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