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When do the 2021 NFL playoffs start? How do they work, and how many teams make it? Schedule, start times, bracket, how to watch

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After 18 weeks of gruelling regular season competition, the 2021 NFL playoffs are finally here!

In addition to the usual Saturday and Sunday games, there will be a Monday night game for the first time in the history of the playoffs which will take place on Super Wild Card Weekend.

DAZN News breaks down this season's NFL Playoffs and the road to Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles.

When do the NFL Playoffs start?

The NFL playoffs start on Saturday, January 15th with the Las Vegas Raiders travelling to the Cincinnati Bengals.

The game will get underway at 4:30 p.m. ET.

How do the NFL Playoffs work?

This upcoming weekend sees six teams from both the AFC and NFC battle it out on Super Wild Card Weekend for a place in the divisional round.

Unlike previous seasons where two teams receive a first round bye, it's just the number one seed in each conference who are given the week off. For 2021, the AFC's Tennesee Titans and NFC's Green Bay Packers are awarded the bye.

Once the wildcard games conclude, the three winners from each conference will advance to the divisional round and then those victorious in the division round will compete for their respective conference championships. Whichever team is crowned AFC and NFC conference champion will play at Super Bowl LVI.

2021 NFL Playoffs schedule

Super Wild Card Weekend

Saturday, January 15th

  • Las Vegas Raiders (5) at Cincinnati Bengals (4): 4:30 p.m. ET on NBC
  • New England Patriots (6) at Buffalo Bills (3): 8:15 p.m. ET on CBS

Sunday, January 16th

  • Philadelphia Eagles (7) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2): 1 p.m. ET on Fox
  • San Francisco 49ers (6) at Dallas Cowboys (3): 4:30 p.m. ET on CBS
  • Pittsburgh Steelers (7) at Kansas City Chiefs (2): 8:15 p.m. ET on NBC

Monday, January 17th

  • Arizona Cardinals (5) at Los Angeles Rams (4): 8:15 p.m. ET on ABC / ESPN

Divisional Round

Saturday, January 22nd

  • TBA vs. TBA, 4:35 p.m. ET
  • TBA vs. TBA, 8:15 p.m. ET

Sunday, January 23rd

  • TBA vs. TBA, 3:05 p.m. ET
  • TBA vs. TBA, 6:40 p.m. ET

The Titans and Packers will both host divisional round playoff games.

Championship Sunday

Sunday, January 30th

  • AFC Championship, 3:05 p.m. ET on CBS
  • NFC Championship, 6:40 p.m. ET on Fox

Super Bowl LVI

  • AFC Champion vs. NFC Champion, 6:30 p.m. ET on NBC

The bracket for this season's playoffs can be found below.

How to watch the 2021 NFL Playoffs 

US: CBS, Fox, NBC, ESPN and ABC

UK: Sky Sports

The games will be broadcast across CBS, Fox, NBC, ESPN and ABC in the US, while Sky Sports will show the 2021 NFL Playoffs in the UK.

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