The playoffs are here, as the AFC finished its positional battles which left the Denver Broncos and the New England Patriots, while the Washington Redskins and the Minnesota Vikings got in on the final day of the regular season.
AFC Wild Card Round
January 5 – Cincinnati Bengals (10-6) at Houston Texans (12-4), 4:30 p.m. ET
A team that somehow managed to wiggle its way through into the playoffs without too many people noticing, but they ended up tied for the division lead in the AFC North and kept the Pittsburgh Steelers out of the postseason. The Texans have been slipping and slipping in recent weeks, especially in their quarterback play and execution on offense. Worst news? Even if they win against the Bengals, like last season, they’re going to have to travel to a very cold away game in the divisional playoffs.
January 6 – Indianapolis Colts (11-5) at Baltimore Ravens (10-6), 1 p.m. ET
The Colts are probably the surprise of the season, jumping from two wins to nine while enjoying a fantastic rookie season from their new franchise quarterback, Andrew Luck, and having somewhat of a heroic taste to the end of the regular season with the triumphant return of Chuck Pagano after a substantial absence. The Ravens decided to take it easy in the final week instead of getting a little bit more out of their still adapting offense.
NFC Wild Card Playoffs
January 5 – Minnesota Vikings (10-6) at Green Bay Packers (11-5), 8 p.m. ET
Adrian Peterson got the team he rushed for more yards against than anyone else this season one more time in the postseason, and the Vikings will be quite confident they can prevail in Lambeau as well. For the Packers, it’s going to be about finding ways to limit Peterson a little bit and forcing Christian Ponder to turn to his dark side.
January 6 – Seattle Seahawks (11-5) at Washington Redskins (10-6), 4:30 p.m. ET
The two hottest teams in the NFL, with two rookie quarterbacks who are having phenomenal seasons. Russell Wilson and the Seahawks are more of a home juggernaut team but at this point in this season, it really doesn’t matter. The Redskins have won their last 7 games and feature a much improved defense, a powerful running game and the most exciting quarterback to watch in the NFL.
The rest of the way
AFC Divisional Round – On January 12th, the lowest seed of the wild card winners comes to Denver to play the Broncos on 4:30 p.m. ET. The higher seed among the wild card winners arrive in the Northeast to play the New England Patriots on January 13, 4:30 p.m. ET.
AFC Championship Game – January 20, Site TBA, 6:30 p.m. ET
NFC Divisional Round – January 12 will put the higher seed of the wild card winners in San Francisco against the 49ers. Time: 8 p.m. ET. January 13 will give us the matchup between the lower seed in the NFC against the Atlanta Falcons in the Georgia Dome. Time: 1 p.m. ET.
NFC Championship Game – January 20, Site TBA, 3 p.m. ET
Super Bowl XLVII – February 3, Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, 6:30 p.m.