Russell WilsonIn the wake of the fantastic Wild Card Weekend the NFL had last week, commissioner Roger Goodell has reopened the possibility of expanding the NFL playoffs to allow a seventh and maybe even an eighth seed from each conference.

Not much has been discussed about how that would change the format, but presumably, in a seven team systerm, the No. 1 seed would receive a bye while the other six teams would battled on Wild Card Weekend.

The playoffs would then follow as it always does with the No. 1 seed playing the lowest seed remaining, the other two surviving teams facing off and then the winners playing in the Championship Game.

Here is how the playoffs in each conference would have looked this season with the seven team format:

NFC

1-Seattle

7-Arizona at 2-Carolina
6-New Orleans at 3-Philadelphia
5-San Francisco at 4-Green Bay

AFC

1-Denver

7-Pittsburgh at 2-New England
6-San Diego at 3-Cincinnati
5-Kansas City at 4-Indianapolis

Assuming both No. 2 seeds won their games against the No. 7 seeds, the NFL would have the exact same matchups Division Weekend in both the six and seven team systems. But what happens if Arizona pulled the upset over Carolina:

NFC Hypothetical Division Round

7-Arizona at 1-Seattle
6-New Orleans at 5-San Francisco

In this scenario, not only does Carolina lose out because the team played and lost rather than resting for the second round, San Francisco now has a home playoff game as a non-division winner because all three wild card teams won.

In the eight-team format, things get a little tricky because the NFL has not specifically said how the byes would work. The league could do either of the following:

Scenario 1: No Byes

NFC

8-Dallas at 1-Seattle
7-Arizona at 2-Carolina
6-New Orleans at 3-Philadelphia
5-San Francisco at 4-Green Bay

AFC

8-Baltimore at 1-Denver
7-Pittsburgh at 2-New England
6-San Diego at 3-Cincinnati
5-Kansas City at 4-Indianapolis

Again assuming the top seeds win, the NFL would have the same matchups in the division round. In the AFC, San Diego would visit Denver and Indianapolis would play in New England.

Would fans and the NFL love a rematch of Baltimore and Denver again in this year's playoffs? Absolutely. But look what happens in the next round if Baltimore pulls the upset.

AFC Hypothetical Division Round

8-Baltimore at 2-New England
6-San Diego at 4-Indianapolis

Now this is getting very hypothetical, but fans know what happend last year when Baltimore finished the season strong and San Diego is doing the same thing this year. Under this system, the NFL is setting itself up for a possible 8-Baltimore vs. 6-San Diego AFC Championship. 

Scenario 2: Double-Byes and an extra weekend *Note:the conference playoffs would now be four weeks long

NFC

First Wild Card Weekend

     8-Dallas at 7-Arizona

Second Wild Card Weekend

     Winner of First Weekend Game at 2-Carolina
     6-New Orleans at 3-Philadelphia
     5-San Francisco at 4-Green Bay

     1-Seattle (Double-Bye)

AFC

First Wild Card Weekend

     8-Baltimore at 7-Pittsburgh

Second Wild Card Weekend

     Winner of First Weekend Game at 2-New England
     6-San Diego at 3-Cincinnati
     5-Kansas City at 4-Indianapolis

     1-Denver (Double-Bye)

In the double bye format this year, NFL fans would get to see Baltimore and Pittsburgh for the third time which is always an entertaining game with the winner then going to New England. The Wild Card game the first weekend would be tremendous and it would not matter who wins to play the Patriots because all three teams have a strong disdain for each other.

But again, the NFL is setting themselves up for a No. 7 or No. 8 seed, Pittsburgh and Baltimore this year, to make a deep playoff run if the team gets hot in January. Also, NFL teams have never had byes in consecutive weeks, so the league really has no idea if that would be more of an advantage or disadvantage.

Really what fans need to ask themselves is what is more important: seeing the best regular season teams play for the NFL title or having the opportuntity to see great matchups again such as Ravens at Broncos, Ravens at Steelers, and Steelers at Patriots? 

Dave wants to hear your opinion. Leave a comment below, send him a tweet @dmholcomb or call into I-80 Sports Talk on mtrmedia.com, 609-910-0687.