Redskins' Thomas Davis says No. 2 seed is getting 'penalized' in NFL's expanded playoff format

The NFL is expanding its postseason format for the first time in 30 years, as the league extended the playoff invitation from 12 to 14 teams in effect for the 2020 season. With the expanded postseason comes change to the playoff format, as seven teams from each conference, instead of six, will qualify for the playoffs.

Only one team from each conference will receive a first-round bye, which will be granted to the No. 1 seed in the conference. Redskins linebacker Thomas Davis is curious to see how it affects the No. 2 seed, which will play on Wild Card Weekend from now on. 

"It's definitely going to be different," Davis said, via the Associated Press. "It's going to be weird. Essentially, the second team (in each conference) is being penalized for being a good football team."

Davis brings up an interesting point with the No. 2 seed, as all the teams that advanced to the Super Bowl since 2013 had a first-round bye. The Baltimore Ravens were the last team that played on wild card weekend to advance to the Super Bowl (they won Super Bowl XLVII), so getting a first-round bye is imperative toward going deep in the postseason. 

Now there's only one team in each conference that will get that opportunity. 

Six teams from each conference will play on wild card weekend. The three division winners other than the top seed will host home playoff games on the first weekend, with all three wild cards from each conference as the visiting teams. The top seed will play the lowest remaining seed in the next round while the winners of the other two first-round games will play each other. 

The expanded playoff format will give two extra teams an opportunity to reach the postseason, which means 43.8% of the league qualifies for the playoffs (previously it was 37.5%). There were 28 teams in the league when the NFL last expanded its postseason format in 1990, which equated to 42.9% of the league making the playoffs. 

"It just makes it more competitive," Davis said. "It adds more teams in and it allows teams that are hot late in the season like the Titans to be able to make a run — a team that might not normally be in the playoffs are getting that opportunity. I like it, though."

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