NFL announces six-game wild-card schedule
The NFL announced the wild-card playoff schedule on Sunday night, providing an early look at the six-game slate that will take place next Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
Saturday’s postseason action kicks off at 4:30 p.m. ET., when the Cincinnati Bengals will host the Las Vegas Raiders on NBC.
Fourth-seeded Cincinnati (10-7) captured the AFC North title, while fifth-seeded Las Vegas (10-7) completed a roller-coaster regular season Sunday night by sneaking into the playoffs with a last-second 35-32 overtime victory over the Los Angeles Chargers.
The Bengals and Raiders met Nov. 21 in Las Vegas with the Bengals prevailing 32-13.
In Saturday’s nightcap, the Buffalo Bills will host their AFC East rivals, the New England Patriots, in an 8:15 p.m. ET kickoff on CBS.
The third-seeded Bills (11-6) won the division for the second straight year, while the sixth-seeded Patriots (10-7) are back in the postseason following a one-year absence. This will be the third meeting between the teams in just over a month, with each team previously winning on the opponent’s home field in December.
The defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers will open their title defense Sunday at 1 p.m. ET on FOX against the visiting Philadelphia Eagles.
The Buccaneers (13-4) earned the NFC’s No. 2 seed after winning the NFC South, while the Eagles (9-8) slipped into the playoffs with a late-season, four-game winning streak. Tampa Bay won 28-22 in Philadelphia on Oct. 14.
Sunday’s second contest (4:30 p.m. ET, CBS) pits the third-seeded Dallas Cowboys against the sixth-seeded San Francisco 49ers, two proud franchises seeking their first Super Bowl titles since the 1990s.
The NFC East champion Cowboys (12-5) won five of their final six games and will look to continue that momentum against the visiting Niners (10-7). San Francisco got into the postseason Sunday by rallying from a 17-0 deficit to stun the Los Angeles Rams 27-24 in overtime.
Another overtime winner on Sunday was the Pittsburgh Steelers, who slipped past the Baltimore Ravens to secure the final playoff spot in the AFC. Their prize is a wild-card matchup with the two-time defending AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs.
Second-seeded Kansas City (12-5) will host seventh-seeded Pittsburgh (9-7-1) at 8:15 p.m. ET on Sunday on NBC. The AFC West champion Chiefs have won nine of their last 10 games, including a 36-10 victory over the Steelers on Dec. 26.
The final game of wild-card weekend, which will take place Monday at 8:15 p.m. ET. on ABC/ESPN, features the fourth-seeded Los Angeles Rams and the fifth-seeded Arizona Cardinals. The host Rams (12-5) captured the NFC West title by finishing a game ahead of the Cardinals (11-6). Each team won on the other’s home field earlier this season.
The No. 1 seeds are the Green Bay Packers in the NFC and the Tennessee Titans in the AFC. Each team will face the lowest remaining seed in their conference in the divisional playoff round Jan. 22 and 23.
–Field Level Media