The changes — which had been agreed to in the league’s latest collective-bargaining pact with players — will take effect for the coming 2020 season, NFL Network insider Ian Rapaport said per sources. The moves were approved today during a conference call among owners that replaced the league’s annual meeting that was canceled amid the coronavirus crisis.
AFC and NFC Wild Card games now will feature each conference’s 2-seed hosting the 7-seed, the 3 hosting the 6 and the 4 hosting the 5. NBC and CBS are set to air the additional wild card games, the league said on its website. Only the No. 1 seeds in the NFC and AFC will receive a first-round bye now. The No. 2 seeds in each conference had earned that bye.
With the NFL’s 2020 schedule not affected by the coronavirus as yet, its Wild Card Weekend is set to include three games on Saturday, January 9, and three the following day. In addition to CBS’ January 9 broadcast — which also will be livestreamed on CBS All Access — the league said a separately produced telecast of the game tailored for a younger audience will air on kid-focused cable net Nickelodeon.
NBC’s wild card game on Sunday, January 10, will air on Telemundo and stream on Peacock, the league said.
The NFL playoffs had been limited to 12 of the league’s 32 teams.
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