Insider

Report: NFL considering 16-team playoffs, won't matter for NFC East

Insider

As the Covid pandemic continues to impact the NFL, let alone the world, the league is making contingency plans for the playoffs. 

On Monday night ESPN reported the "NFL competition committee expects to present a resolution to owners based on a contingency of having a 16-team playoff season (8 in each conference) if games are lost due to the pandemic, especially as bye weeks disappear, according to league sources. Committee met by zoom today."

The news comes at an interesting time as players across the league continue to test positive and Covid cases are surging across the country. 

The NFL has hit its halfway mark without too many interruptions, but some games have been moved due to Covid with some flexibility available because of bye weeks. As the season creeps along, more teams have already had their bye weeks, and that scheduling flexibility will collapse. Byes go from Week 5 to Week 13 in the NFL. 

Normally the NFL only invites six teams to the postseason per conference: four division winners and two wild card teams. This year due to Covid, the NFL already expanded its playoff format to 7 teams with an additional wild card. 

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The new proposal would bring in another wild card team, so four division winners and four wild card teams. 

Even then, the NFC East is so bad, it's hard to imagine a second team from the division going to the postseason. At 2-5, Washington is in second place in the division trailing the 3-4-1 Eagles.

 

Washington might be able to chase down Philly for the division - might - but chasing down a Wild Card spot seems implausible. The NFC West has three teams with five wins. The NFC South and North have two teams with five wins. There are too many good teams to chase a fourth NFC Wild Card spot before the NFC East will get involved.