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NFL

What is the Wild Card in the NFL, how does it work, when is it and how many teams play?

The regular season is ending and the NFL playoffs are drawing closer with the Wild Card weekend, which will determine who the final competitors will be.

Ariel Velázquez
Update:
The regular season is ending and the NFL playoffs are drawing closer with the Wild Card weekend, which will determine who the final competitors will be.

When the clock at Lambeau Field runs down to the last second of the fourth quarter on Sunday night, the last team to enter the postseason with the Wild Card tag will have been determined.

Throughout the years, wild-card teams have rocked the postseason, which is why fans are paying attention to them from the beginning of the bracket to the Vince Lombardi trophy.

How does the Wild Card work?

The National Football League is made up of two conferences (AFC and NFC) each divided into four divisions. The teams that finish with the best win-loss card in each division are declared champions of that unit and earn an automatic spot in the postseason. Thus, four playoff spots are already filled per conference, for a total of eight for the entire league.

Since 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic forced the NFL to expand the playoffs to raise more money for television rights, wild-card teams have gone from two to three per conference .

But how does an organization become a wild card?

Currently, a total of 14 teams reach the postseason. the eight winners from each division and six wild card teams (three from each conference). The organizations that win the Wild Card are those with the best win-loss record overall, but failed to win their division title.

The three wild cards of each conference can belong to the same division as long as they finish above the rest of the teams that were not champions of their respective sectors.

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How many teams play the Wild Card round?

Prior to 2020, the top two teams from each conference would earn a bye in the Wild Card round.

However, with the inclusion of a third wild card, only the top seed gets a bye in the first stage of the postseason.

In this way the three wild-card teams play against the three divisional champions that did not finish with the best winning record.

The top ranked wild card takes on the divisional champion with the worst record.

The second-highest ranked wild card will play the second-lowest ranked champion.

The worst wild card will face off against the team with the second best record from each of the conferences.

When is the the Wild Card round?

The Wild Card round will run from January 14 to 16.

Saturday, Jan. 14

Team to be designated vs, Team to be designated 4:30 a.m. ET

Team to be designated vs, Team to be designated 20:15 ET

Sunday, Jan. 15

Team to be designated vs, Team to be designated 1:00 p.m. ET

Team to be designated vs, Team to be designated 15:30 ET

Team to be designated vs, Team to be designated 20:15 ET

Monday, January 16

Team to be designated vs, Team to be designated 20:15 ET

But, before Super Wild Card Weekend, there’s Week 18 action to look forward to.

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