New NFL playoff overtime rules could impact Wild Card Weekend

By Adam Burke  ( 

January 14, 2023 01:29 PM

Both teams will get the ball unless a safety is scored on the first possession

The NFL has unveiled its new policies and procedures for overtime in the playoffs. We’ll have to wait and see if any games are impacted this postseason, but both teams get the ball at least once, unless a safety occurs on the first possession of the extra period. 

After a possession for each team, the team with more points wins (FG vs. TD, missed XP, two-point conversion, etc). If the teams are still tied, the team that had the ball first gets another possession and the next score wins. All challenges come from the replay booth and 

The overtime period will be up to 15 minutes long. If the game is still tied, any subsequent overtime period would be sudden-death.

NFL playoff overtime games

Since 2002, there have been 24 overtime games in the playoffs, including two last season, both in the AFC. The Chiefs beat the Bills 42-36 on the first possession of overtime in the Divisional Round and the Bengals intercepted the Chiefs and then kicked a game-winning field goal in the AFC Championship Game to win 27-24.

There were two overtime games in 2020 as well, as the Vikings beat the Saints 26-20 on the first possession and the Texans beat the Bills 22-19 on the second possession.

The rule change certainly creates a fairer playing field for the postseason. The most obvious example is Super Bowl LI when the Patriots came back from a 28-3 deficit to win 34-28 on the first possession in overtime. That remains the only Super Bowl to go to overtime.

Betting impact of new overtime rules

It is a mild concern, since it still takes a lot for a game to get to overtime. Out of 271 completed regular season games during the 2022 season, only 20 games went to overtime. Teams are more evenly-matched in a lot of respects in the postseason and we’ve basically averaged a little over one game per postseason in the last 20 years.

Both teams getting the ball does give the opportunity for more points, especially from the league’s better offenses, most of which qualified for the playoffs. It shouldn’t be a determining factor in betting an under or an over, but it wouldn’t be shocking to see an under become a bad beat because of an overtime period with nine or more points at some point this postseason or in future postseasons.

Like everything else, it is something to take into consideration when making a bet and a topic of hosts, guests and writers will hit on throughout the postseason on our VSiN airwaves and at

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