What Are Wild Card Games in NFL?

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By Ralph Torres

Wild Card Games in NFL: Explained

If you are a fan of American football, you must have heard of Wild Card games. These games are an essential part of the National Football League (NFL) playoffs, where the top teams from the regular season compete for the ultimate prize – The Super Bowl Championship.

In this article, we will discuss what Wild Card games are, how they work, and what makes them such a significant factor in the NFL playoffs.

What are Wild Card Games?

The NFL consists of 32 teams that play each other during the regular season. The season lasts for 17 weeks, and each team plays 16 games. After these 16 games, the top six teams from each conference (AFC and NFC) qualify for the playoffs.

The top two teams from each conference get a bye week in the first round and automatically advance to the Divisional Round. The remaining four teams from each conference play in Wild Card rounds to determine who advances to face those top two teams.

How do Wild Card Games work?

Wild Card games take place on the first weekend of the NFL playoffs. They consist of four games – two from each conference – where four lower-seeded teams face off against each other.

The game is played as a single-elimination round where one team advances to the next round while the other is knocked out of playoff contention.


The seeding for these Wild Card games is determined based on a team’s performance during the regular season. The four division winners from each conference automatically qualify for playoffs with one of them receiving a home game in Wild Card round based on their record. The remaining two spots are filled by two wildcard teams with best records regardless of their divisional standings.

The team with better regular-season record hosts these games (with exception if both teams have equal records). In case both wildcard team have better records than a division winner, they will host the game even if they are seeded lower.

Why are Wild Card Games important?

Wild Card games are significant for several reasons. First of all, they provide an opportunity for teams that may not have performed as well during the regular season to make a run in the playoffs. It’s an opportunity to prove themselves and see if they can compete with the top teams in their conference.

Secondly, Wild Card games often produce some of the most exciting moments of the playoffs. With every team fighting for survival, these games can be intense and dramatic.

Lastly, winning a Wild Card game gives a team momentum going into the next round. It shows that they can compete and win when it matters most, building confidence and momentum as they look to make a deep playoff run.


In conclusion, Wild Card games are an essential part of the NFL playoffs. They provide an opportunity for underperforming teams to make a run and create some of the most memorable moments of the season. So gear up for some exciting football action on Wild Card weekend!