How Many Wild Card Games Are There?

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By Ralph Torres

If you’re a fan of sports, particularly American football, you might have heard of the term “wild card.” In the National Football League (NFL), there are several wild card games played every season.

But how many exactly? Let’s dive in and find out.

What is a Wild Card?

In the NFL, there are two conferences – the American Football Conference (AFC) and the National Football Conference (NFC). Each conference has four divisions, with four teams in each division.

At the end of the regular season, six teams from each conference advance to the playoffs. The top two teams from each division make it to the playoffs along with two wild card teams from each conference.

A wild card team is a team that didn’t win their division but still made it to the playoffs based on their overall record. The two wild card teams with the best record in each conference advance to the playoffs as well.

How Many Wild Card Games Are There?

After all 12 teams have been determined for the playoffs, they are seeded based on their records. The top four teams from each conference receive a bye week during the first round of playoffs while the remaining eight teams play in four wild card games.

Each conference has two wild card games played during wildcard weekend, which is typically held on the first weekend of January after the conclusion of regular-season play.

What Happens Next?

The winners of each game move on to face one of the top-seeded teams in their respective conferences during Divisional Weekend. The Divisional Weekend consists of four games – two in each conference – that will determine who advances to participate in their respective Conference Championship Games.

The AFC and NFC Championship Games are then held a week later with one winner emerging from each conference. These winning teams then meet up for Super Bowl Sunday where they play against one another for NFL supremacy.


In summary, there are four wild card games played during the NFL playoffs – two in the AFC and two in the NFC. These games are played by the four wild card teams who didn’t win their respective division but have good overall records. The winners of these games move on to face top-seeded teams during Divisional Weekend with one ultimate winner emerging from each conference to compete in the Super Bowl.

Understanding how many wild card games there are is just one part of understanding the NFL playoffs and how they work. It’s an exciting time for football fans everywhere, as teams battle it out for a chance to lift the Lombardi Trophy and be crowned champions at the end of a long and grueling season.