The NFL expanded the playoffs for the 1990 season, adding a sixth team in each conference. As a result, the worst division winner in each conference (#3 seed) hosted the third wildcard in the wildcard round. As a result, the league also did away with the rule prohibiting two division opponents from meeting in the playoffs prior to the championship game. The league also adopted a rule that the #1 seed in each conference would play the worst-seeded team that advanced out of the wildcard round (so that if the #6 seed won, it would play at the #1 seed, but if the #3 seed won, it would play at the #2 seed).
A total of four teams (Jets, Jaguars, Broncos, and Raiders) finished with a 12-4 record in the AFC.
- The Broncos beat the Raiders twice in head-to-head matchups to earn AFC West crown.
- The Jaguars beat the Broncos in their head-to-head matchup.
- The Jaguars had a 1.6 better percentage against common opponents to edge the Jets for the top seed.
- The Jets had a better conference record than the Broncos to earn the second seed.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars
2. New York Jets
3. Denver Broncos
4. Oakland Raiders
5. Miami Dolphins
6. Buffalo Bills
1. Minnesota Vikings
2. San Francisco 49ers
3. Dallas Cowboys
4. Green Bay Packers
5. Atlanta Falcons
6. Arizona Cardinals