Falcons were last in the NFL playoffs in 2017.
Photo: Hyosub Shin/hshin@ajc.com
Photo: Hyosub Shin/hshin@ajc.com

NFL owners approve expanded playoffs for 2020 

NFL owners, voting Tuesday during a league meeting held remotely, followed the recommendation of the competition committee, management-council executive committee and media committee and increased the number of playoff teams from 12 to 14 for the 2020 season.

Two additional wild-card teams — one each in the AFC and the NFC — will qualify for the playoffs. The No. 1 seed in each conference will receive a bye in the wild-card round.

The remaining division champions in each conference with the best records will be seeded Nos. 2, 3 and 4, followed by the next three teams per conference with the best records seeded Nos. 5, 6 and 7.

AFC and NFC wild-card games will feature the No. 2 seed hosting the No. 7 seed, the No. 3 seed hosting the No. 6 seed and the No. 4 seed hosting the No. 5 seed.

Wild-card weekend for the 2020 season will consist of three games Jan. 9 (a Saturday) and three games Jan. 10. 

The NFL last expanded the playoffs for the 1990 season, increasing from 10 to 12 the number of teams to qualify for the postseason. 

The 2009 Falcons (9-7) and the 2015 team (8-8) are the only Falcons teams that would have made the playoffs as a No. 7 seed since the expansion in 1990. 

Since 1990, at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs that missed the postseason the year before — a streak of 30 consecutive seasons.

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