So what would trigger a 16-team postseason in 2020? It’s a question that immediately arose when Monday’s report from ESPN’s Chris Mortensen landed on the national radar screen, and it’s an answer worth chasing.
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Plan A for making up any and all postponed games would consist of adding an eighteenth week to the regular season. Plan B, if an extra week doesn’t allow all games to be played, would entail expanding the postseason to 16 teams.
Under that scenario, the league would expand the postseason even if only one game isn’t played. (It will be interesting to see if that’s the case, in the event that the game(s) not played have no impact on determining the 14-team playoff field.)
Apart from the obvious goal to recapture lost revenue via two extra playoff games, this approach would avoid the potential griping that could happen if the eighth seed in either conference narrowly misses the postseason via winning percentage based on the seventh seed or the eighth seed not playing a 16th game. It also would avoid a team securing a bye based on winning percentage, since there would be no byes for anyone.
That said, expanding the playoff field would not avoid questions about legitimacy of seeding based on winning percentage, and the ninth seed in either conference could end up feeling screwed out of a playoff spot if winning percentage delivers the last seat at the table for the eighth seed.
Source: 16-team postseason would happen if 18th week doesn’t get all games in originally appeared on Pro Football Talk