What Are the Wild Card Playoff Games?

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By Ralph Torres

The NFL playoffs can be a confusing time for even the most devoted football fans. The postseason is broken up into several rounds, each with its own unique format and rules. One of the most exciting parts of the playoffs is the Wild Card round.

What Are the Wild Card Playoff Games?

The Wild Card round is the first week of the NFL playoffs, where two wildcard teams from each conference compete against each other for a chance to advance to the Divisional Round. In other words, these are teams that did not win their respective divisions but still made it into the playoffs based on their regular-season performances.

During this round, there are four games played over two days: two games on Saturday and two games on Sunday. The matchups are determined by seeding, with the highest-seeded wild card team playing against the lowest-seeded division winner and vice versa.

What Happens If a Wild Card Team Wins?

If a wild card team wins in the Wild Card round, they move on to play one of the top-seeded division winners in their conference in the Divisional Round. The winners of those games then move on to play in their respective conference championship games.

It’s worth noting that since 1990, when the current playoff system was introduced, at least one team seeded sixth or lower has advanced to their respective conference championship game 14 times. So even though wild card teams may seem like underdogs, they have a real chance of making it deep into the playoffs.

Formatting Your Team Lists

When discussing playoff matchups, it can be helpful to list out which teams are playing and what their respective records were during the regular season. To do this in HTML, you can use an ordered list (<ol>) or an unordered list (<ul>). Here’s an example using an unordered list:

  • Indianapolis Colts (11-5) vs. Buffalo Bills (13-3)
  • Seattle Seahawks (12-4) vs. Los Angeles Rams (10-6)
  • Tennessee Titans (11-5) vs. Baltimore Ravens (11-5)
  • Washington Football Team (7-9) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11-5)


The Wild Card round is a thrilling start to the NFL playoffs, with four games played over the course of two days featuring teams that barely made it into the postseason. The winners of these games move on to play division winners in the next round, and from there, it’s anyone’s game. So be sure to tune in and catch all the action!