The following procedures are used to break ties in the standings for playoff seeds and in determining the order of teams in the annual draft.

For playoff seedings, all teams are seeded 1-4 within their divisions before the conference seeds are determined. Any ties in the standings within a division must be resolved first before proceeding to the conference seeds.

In the tiebreakers below, the W-L record in all situations is the win percentage of the games under consideration, with ties counting as a half-win. It is possible that the number of games being considered in a tiebreaker step are not equal for the tied teams, so win percentage is used.

For any step that has the “sum of rankings,” add the 2 rankings in the applicable category, with the lowest number winning. A team that is first in points scored and third in points against will have a 4 for that tiebreaker step. In case of a ranking tie (for example: 2 teams with the same points against in conference games), both teams receive the same rank number.

Ties in division seeds

  1. W-L in head-to-head games
  2. W-L in division games
  3. W-L in common games
  4. Strength of victory
  5. Strength of schedule
  6. Sum of conference rankings in points scored + points against
  7. Sum of league rankings in points scored + points against
  8. Point differential in common games
  9. Point differential in all games
  10. Best net touchdowns in all games
  11. Coin toss

Ties in conference seeds

Before beginning the tiebreaker, eliminate all the intradivisional ties, so that there is not more than 1 team from any division. If there are only teams from the same division in the tiebreaker, then use the division tiebreaker.

  1. Head-to-head sweep (only if a team has won or lost all games against all other teams in tiebreaker)
  2. W-L in conference games
  3. W-L in common games, minimum of four.
  4. Strength of victory
  5. Strength of schedule
  6. Sum of conference rankings in points scored + points against
  7. Sum of league rankings in points scored + points against
  8. Point differential in conference games
  9. Point differential in all games
  10. Best net touchdowns in all games.
  11. Coin toss.

Special procedures

  1. Conference Seeds #1-4 will always be from separate divisions.
  2. If at any step, there are two teams remaining, restart the tiebreaker at Step 1 comparing both teams.
  3. When a team has won tiebreakers in both the divisional and the conference tiebreakers to determine a conference seed, the next seeded team from that division joins the next tiebreaker, unless it is for a seed higher than #5.

Draft order procedures and tiebreakers

The Super Bowl winner is 32, the Super Bowl loser is 31.

Next, group the teams that exited each round of the playoffs: losers of the Conference Championships (29, 30), Divisional Playoffs (25-28), and Wild Card games (21-24). Non-playoff teams are 1-20.

Within those groups, order teams based on W-L record in the regular season, with the better record getting the later pick. Teams in different groups with the same W-L record are not tied. For example, the team with the highest record of Wild Card losers will be 24, even if it has a better record than a Divisional Playoff loser.

If there is a tie within a group (examples: 2 Wild Card losers with a 10-6 record, or 4 non-playoff teams with a 7-9 record), these tiebreaker steps are applied:

  1. First rank teams by strength of schedule, highest percentage getting the later pick
  2. If all remaining tied teams are in the same division, the higher division seed gets the later of the tied picks
  3. If all remaining tied teams are in the same conference, the higher conference seed gets the later of the tied picks
  4. Interconference ties that remain are broken by coin flip at the NFL Combine

Teams that are involved in a tiebreaker will cycle through the order each round, based on the tiebreaker order. Thus, in a 4-team tiebreaker, a team will rotate 1-4-3-2, the second team 2-1-4-3, the third 3-2-1-4, and the fourth 4-3-2-1.