Report: Expanded 16-team NFL playoff format being considered as contingency plan


The NFL already increased the amount of playoff teams from 12 to 14 before the 2020 season began, and now it's possible that two additional berths could be added.

ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported Tuesday that the proposed format, if adopted, would include eight teams in each conference making the playoffs. 

Mortensen also outlined how the matchups would be determined in the proposed format. In this scenario, no team would get a first-round bye. The current format gives a first-round bye only to the No. 1 seed in each conference.

One of the better ways for the league to make up lost revenue resulting from canceled games due to the COVID-19 pandemic would be to add playoff matchups. 

Every debate over expanding postseason formats includes the hesitancy to water down the tournament with additional teams. This proposal would see half of the league's 32 teams reach the playoffs, which would still be below the NBA (16 of 30) and NHL (16 of 31).

NFL trade deadline tracker: Follow the latest rumors, news

The New England Patriots would benefit from another playoff spot to chase during the 2020 season.

The Patriots are 2-5 and riding their first four-game losing streak since 2002. They trail the Cleveland Browns by 2.5 games for the No. 7 seed in the AFC. New England is two games behind the Las Vegas Raiders for eighth place, which would be the final postseason berth in the proposal detailed above.