Based on the rankings explanation provided by CBS regarding the NFL playoff situation; CBS provides something regarding a common record:

Seattle is ahead of Detroit based on common games record (4-0 to the Lions' 2-2).

What is a common games record?

  • 1
    Teams in the same division play each other twice each season. One of the common games in this scenario are the Cardinals. If Seattle loses to Arizona next week they will have a 1-1 record versus the Cardinals, how does that figure into the equation?
    – user7690
    Dec 12, 2014 at 17:54
  • The question asking about the relationship between the Seahawks and the Lions has nothing to do with the Cardinals.
    – alamoot
    Dec 12, 2014 at 18:01
  • 1
    @alamoot The Cardinals have everything to do with the question as the Seahawks and Lions have them as a common opponent and the question asks about common games. The Seahawks play the Cardinals twice this season as compared to once for the Lions.
    – user527
    Dec 12, 2014 at 18:22
  • 1
    WOOW I definitely didn't understand that question properly. My bad, you're right Cards are def a factor.
    – alamoot
    Dec 12, 2014 at 19:07

3 Answers 3


Common games in the NFL tie breaking rules are games that teams have with common opponents. For example, let's say that Team A and Team B are tied and are both in the running for a wildcard spot in the playoffs. Looking at each of their 16-game schedules, they have each played Teams C, D, E, and F at some point during the season. These are the common games. Team A beat teams C and D, but lost to E and F, for a common games record of 2-2. Team B beat D, but lost to C, E, and F, giving them a record of 1-3. Team A wins the tie breaker and goes into the playoffs, and team B is finished.

In order for this particular tie breaker to be enforced, there needs to be a minimum of 4 games with common opponents between the two teams. If they don't have at least 4 common games, this tie breaker gets skipped.

For this tiebreaker, what is compared is the percentage record. For example, let's say two teams in different divisions are tied for a wildcard spot. When looking at games against common opponents, one team has a record of 3-1, and the other team has a record of 3-2, having played one of the common teams twice. The 3-1 team would win the tiebreaker, having a better percentage.



common games would probably be their records against common opponents

  • packers
  • panthers
  • cardinals
  • giants

seahawks are 4-0 and lions are 3-1 vs the four teams they have both played.


"Best won-lost-tied percentage in common games, minimum of four." See: http://www.nfl.com/standings/tiebreakingprocedures

The confusion often surrounds the term "common games, minimum of four." Does it mean 4 opponents or 4 games?

All games against opponents played by both the tied teams are taken into consideration. There need only be four such "common games," which can occur with less than four common opponents.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.