2020–21 NFL playoffs
Template:Infobox American football tournament season The 2020–21 NFL playoffs is the playoff tournament for the 2020 season. It began on January 9, 2021 and will conclude with Super Bowl LV on February 7 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.
The league expanded its playoff system from a 12-team to a 14-team tournament, adding a third wild card team for each conference for the first time since the 2001 season, and only awarding each conference's top seed a first round bye. The Wild Card round was thus extended from two to three games per day.
The playoffs may be affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. In case of an outbreak, postseason rounds could be delayed, the bye week before the Super Bowl could be eliminated and the game itself could be postponed to as late as February 28. On November 10, 2020, NFL owners approved a plan to implement a 16-team playoff format, with no teams getting a bye, should the virus force the cancellation of "meaningful" regular season games.
Participants[edit source | edit]
Bracket[edit source | edit]
Schedule[edit source | edit]
In the case of a COVID-19 outbreak, playoff games or entire postseason rounds could be postponed, the bye week after the Conference Championships could be eliminated, and the Super Bowl could be moved up to three weeks later to February 28.
Networks listed below are tentative until the league releases the official schedule for the Divisional playoffs.
|Away team||Score||Home Team||Date||Kickoff
(ET / UTC–5)
|Wild Card playoffs|
|Indianapolis Colts||24–27||Buffalo Bills||January 9, 2021||1:05 p.m.||CBS|
|Los Angeles Rams||30–20||Seattle Seahawks||January 9, 2021||4:40 p.m.||Fox|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||31–23||Washington Football Team||January 9, 2021||8:15 p.m.||NBC|
|Baltimore Ravens||Tennessee Titans||January 10, 2021||1:05 p.m.||ABC/ESPN|
|Chicago Bears||New Orleans Saints||January 10, 2021||4:40 p.m.||CBS/Nickelodeon|
|Cleveland Browns||Pittsburgh Steelers||January 10, 2021||8:15 p.m.||NBC/Peacock|
|Lower-seeded team||Higher-seeded team||January 16, 2021||4:35 p.m.||TBD|
|Lower-seeded team||Higher-seeded team||January 16, 2021||8:15 p.m.||TBD|
|Lower-seeded team||Higher-seeded team||January 17, 2021||3:05 p.m.||TBD|
|Lower-seeded team||Higher-seeded team||January 17, 2021||6:40 p.m.||TBD|
|Lower-seeded NFC team||Higher-seeded NFC team||January 24, 2021||3:05 p.m.||Fox|
|Lower-seeded AFC team||Higher-seeded AFC team||January 24, 2021||6:40 p.m.||CBS|
|Super Bowl LV|
Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida
|AFC Champion||NFC Champion||February 7, 2021||6:30 p.m.||CBS|
Wild Card playoffs[edit source | edit]
Saturday, January 9, 2021[edit source | edit]
AFC: Buffalo Bills 27, Indianapolis Colts 24[edit source | edit]
Buffalo built up a 24-10 second half lead and hold off an Indianapolis fourth quarter rally to earn their first playoff win since the 1995 season.
In the first quarter, Colts quarterback Phillip Rivers' completions to T. Y. Hilton and Michael Pittman Jr. for gains for 23 and 22 yards set up the first score on a 30-yard field goal by Rodrigo Blankenship. Buffalo responded with an 8-play, 85-yard drive, featuring a 36-yard completion from Josh Allen to Stefon Diggs. Allen finished the drive with a 3-yard touchdown pass to tight end Dawson Knox, giving the Bills a 7-3 lead with less than 2 minutes left in the quarter.
On a second quarter drive, Rivers completed a 32-yard pass to Pittman, while running back Jonathan Taylor caught a 6-yard pass and rushed four times for 17 yards, the last carry a 1-yard touchdown run to put the Colts up 10-7. Then after a punt, Indianapolis drove to a 1st and goal from the Bills 4-yard line. But after a 2-yard pass and a 1-yard run, Taylor was tackled for a 3-yard loss by Tre'Davious White and Taron Johnson. Deciding to attempt a conversion on 4th and goal, Indianapolis turned the ball over on downs when Rivers' pass was incomplete. Taking the ball back with 1:46 on the clock, Allen completed passes to Gabriel Davis for gains of 37 and 19 yards, while also picking up 16 yards on a scramble as he led the team 96 yards in 10 plays to score on his 5-yard touchdown run with 20 seconds left before halftime, giving Buffalo a 14-10 lead.
Buffalo took the second half kickoff and drove 44 yards in 9 plays, with Allen completing two passes to Cole Beasley for 23 yards and a 16-yard pass to Diggs. Tyler Bass finished the possession with a 46-yard field that increased the team's lead to 17-10. Indianapolis responded with a drive to the Bills 15-yard line, only to have Blankenship miss a 33-yard field goal attempt. Buffalo then drove 77 yards in 9 plays to go up 24-10 on Allen's 35-yard touchdown completion to Diggs with 14:17 left in the game.
On the second play of the Colts next possession, Nyheim Hines took off for a 29-yard run, and then Taylor ripped on a 20-yard burst on his next carry. The Colts were on the move and didn't stop until Rivers finished the drive with a 9-yard touchdown pass to tight end Zach Pascal, making the score 24-16. After a Bills penalty moved the ball to the 1-yard line on a PAT attempt, the Colts decided to try a 2-point conversion. Linebacker Matt Milano broke up the play by getting through the line and dropping Taylor for a 1-yard loss. Buffalo then responded with a pair of 16-yard receptions by Diggs and Beasley that set up Bass' 54-yard field goal, increasing the Bills' lead to 27-16 with just over 8 minutes left. Faced with 3rd and 7 on their ensuing drive, the Colts managed the fool Buffalo's defense with a draw play, in which Hines took a delayed handoff and ran 33 yards to the Buffalo 27. On the next play, Rivers completed a 27-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jack Doyle. Then he threw the ball to Doyle again for a 2-point conversion, making the score 27-24.
Buffalo took the ball back and drove to the Colts 34-yard line, putting themselves into position to increase their lead or run out the clock to win the game. But Colts defensive end Denico Autry sacked Allen and forced a fumble. Bills tackle Daryl Williams recovered the ball, but the team lost 18 yards and ended up having to punt with 2:38 left, giving the Colts a chance to drive for a winning or tying score. The Colts proceeded to drive to the Buffalo 46-yard line, converting two fourth downs along the way. On the second one, Pascal made a diving catch for 17 yards on 4th and 10, then appeared to fumble the ball as he got up, which Buffalo recovered. However, officials ruled him down by contact after making the catch, and this was upheld by replay review. Still, the Bills defense managed to hang on after this, forcing a 1-yard loss and three straight incompletions to achieve a turnover on downs and win the game.
Allen finished the game 26/35 for 324 yards and two touchdowns, while also leading the Bills in rushing with 11 carries for 54 yards and a score. Diggs caught 6 passes for 128 yards and a touchdown. Rivers was 27/46 for 309 yards and two touchdowns. Taylor was the top rusher for the game with 21 carries for 76 yards and a touchdown, while Hines had 75 yards on just 6 rushes. Pittman caught 5 passes for 90 yards. Colts linebacker Darius Leonard had 9 solo tackles and 3 assists. The Bills won despite being outgained in total yards 472 to 397.
NFC: Los Angeles Rams 30, Seattle Seahawks 20[edit source | edit]
NFC: Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31, Washington Football Team 23[edit source | edit]
Sunday, January 10, 2021[edit source | edit]
AFC: Baltimore Ravens vs. Tennessee Titans[edit source | edit]
NFC: Chicago Bears vs. New Orleans Saints[edit source | edit]
AFC: Cleveland Browns vs. Pittsburgh Steelers[edit source | edit]
Television coverage[edit source | edit]
All playoff games will be televised nationally on network television.
CBS and NBC acquired the rights to the two new Wild Card Round games. The coverage of the rest of the Wild Card round essentially remains the same, with ESPN producing coverage of one Wild Card game and simulcasting it on ABC; and CBS, NBC, and Fox televising each of the other three remaining Wild Card games. CBS will also co-produce an alternate broadcast of their Sunday Wild Card game on sister network Nickelodeon, oriented toward a younger audience.
Fox has exclusive coverage of both NFC Divisional games and the NFC Championship Game. Coverage of the AFC Divisional games is split between CBS and NBC. CBS then has exclusive coverage of the AFC Championship Game and the Super Bowl.
References[edit source | edit]
- Seifert, Kevin (March 31, 2020). "NFL owners vote to approve expanded 14-team playoff format". ESPN. Archived from the original on April 1, 2020. Retrieved April 1, 2020.
- Fraser, Sam (May 7, 2020). "NFL is ready to call an audible or two if coronavirus forces schedule changes". Los Angeles Times.
- Schefter, Adam (May 7, 2020). "Sources: Super Bowl LV could provide the NFL a pandemic scheduling solution". ESPN.
- Kerr, Jeff (November 10, 2020). "NFL owners approve contingency plan to expand playoffs to 16 teams if COVID-19 causes cancellations". CBS Sports. Retrieved November 28, 2020.
- "18 teams remain in the playoff picture… who will make it to #SuperWildCard weekend? #NFLPlayoffs". twitter.com. Retrieved January 1, 2021.
- Around the NFL staff (January 3, 2021). "NFL announces schedule for Super Wild Card Weekend". NFL.com. NFL Enterprises, LLC. Retrieved January 4, 2021.
- "SUPER WILD CARD WEEKEND SCHEDULE ANNOUNCED". NFLCommunications.com (Press release). NFL Enterprises. January 7, 2021. Retrieved January 7, 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- "New NFL Wild Cards Costing CBS, NBC Around $70M". Sports Business Daily. Archived from the original on April 2, 2020. Retrieved April 1, 2020.
- Steinberg, Brian (March 31, 2020). "CBS, NBC Nab New NFL Wild-Card Games in Expanded Season". Variety. Archived from the original on July 10, 2020. Retrieved July 10, 2020.
- "NFL CLUBS APPROVE EXPANSION OF POSTSEASON". nflcommunications.com. Retrieved 2020-12-23.
- "CBS Sports, Nickelodeon team up to air 'NFL Wild Card Game on Nickelodeon' on Jan. 10". NFL.com. Retrieved December 16, 2020.
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