NFL tiebreaker rules: How are ties decided in division, playoff standings?

Super Bowl LVII - Kansas City Chiefs v Philadelphia Eagles
Super Bowl LVII - Kansas City Chiefs v Philadelphia Eagles / Carmen Mandato/GettyImages

Trying to figure out how things work in the NFL can be a head-scratcher of an exercise at times. Why are various punishments or suspensions given out? Why are some things penalized and others are not? And what is a safety: a position or a play?

The same level of confusion can extend to tiebreakers in the NFL, where it can be hard to figure out how things might work if you're trying to project how things might turn out for your favorite team. Who ends up with first place if both teams have the same record at season's end in the same division? How does it work for playoff seeding? We have you covered.

Tiebreaker rules are used to determine the standings in a division or conference when two or more teams finish the year with the same win-loss records. The specific tiebreaker procedures vary depending on whether the tie is within a division or for playoff seeding.

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Let's go through each scenario:

If two teams are tied in the division standings, the first tiebreaker is their head-to-head record against each other. From there, if the tied teams have an identical head-to-head record, the next tiebreaker is their divisional record. Following that, he next tiebreaker is their record against common opponents. The team with the better record against common opponents wins the tiebreaker.

If somehow two or more teams are still tied with the same record against common opponents, the next tiebreaker is their conference record. Then comes their strength of victory rating, a figure determined by calculating the combined winning percentage of the opponents a team has defeated. Next in line is a team's strength of schedule followed by net points in divisional games.

Finally, if all else fails to separate two teams from one another, a coin toss will be used as a last resort.

The same list would be used in the case of a tie in playoff seeding as well, from their head-to-head record (if applicable) all the way to a coin toss.