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NFL: Matchups, Schedule



The NFL playoffs are set to commence, featuring 12 teams competing during Wild Card Weekend for the opportunity to progress to the Divisional Round and inch closer to winning the Lombardi Trophy. The action kicks off with the Cleveland Browns facing the Houston Texans on Saturday afternoon and concludes with a Monday Night Football clash between the Philadelphia Eagles and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Here’s a breakdown of the AFC and NFC Wild Card matchups:


1. **Cleveland Browns at Houston Texans:** The Browns, overcoming challenges like multiple starting quarterbacks and injuries, enter the playoffs as the top Wild Card seed in the AFC. Quarterback Joe Flacco aims to surpass Tom Brady for the most road playoff wins by beating the Texans, led by rookie sensation C.J. Stroud.

2. **Miami Dolphins at Kansas Chiefs:** The fifth-seeded Dolphins face the defending-champion Chiefs in a cold Midwest clash, with temperatures set to challenge both teams. Keep an eye on Tyreek Hill’s return to Kansas City.

3. **Pittsburgh Steelers at Buffalo Bills:** The seventh-seeded Steelers and the second-seeded Bills, both initially hovering around .500, made late-season surges to secure playoff berths. The Bills, riding a five-game win streak, aim to continue their success against the Steelers.


4. **Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys:** The seventh-seeded Packers, led by quarterback Jordan Love, make their playoff appearance in the post-Aaron Rodgers era, facing former coach Mike McCarthy’s 12-5 Cowboys. This matchup adds another chapter to the historic postseason encounters between these franchises.

5. **Los Angeles Rams at Detroit Lions:** Matthew Stafford, traded from the Lions to the Rams, returns to Detroit for a Wild Card matchup. The third-seeded Lions host their first playoff game since 1993 against the sixth-seeded Rams.

6. **Philadelphia Eagles at Tampa Bay Buccaneers:** Despite a late-season slump, the Eagles secure the top Wild Card spot in the NFC and face the defending conference champions, the Buccaneers, led by quarterback Baker Mayfield.

**Game Times, Announcers, and How to Watch:**

The Wild Card slate spans three days, starting with AFC contests on Saturday and concluding with an NFC matchup on Monday night. Here’s the schedule:

– **Saturday, January 13:**
– Browns at Texans: 4:30 p.m. ET (NBC, Noah Eagle and Todd Blackledge).
– Dolphins at Chiefs: 8 p.m. ET (Peacock, Mike Tirico and Jason Garrett).

– **Sunday, January 14:**
– Steelers at Bills: 1 p.m. ET (CBS, Jim Nantz and Tony Romo).
– Packers at Cowboys: 4:30 p.m. ET (FOX, Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen).
– Rams at Lions: 8 p.m. ET (NBC, Mike Tirico and Cris Collinsworth).

– **Monday, January 15:**
– Eagles at Bucs: 8:15 p.m. ET (ESPN, Joe Buck and Troy Aikman).

**NFL Playoff Bracket and Beyond:**

The top-seeded Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers, with byes this week, await the lowest-remaining seed in their conferences in the Divisional Round. The full NFL postseason bracket leads to Super Bowl LVIII on Sunday, February 11, at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, airing on CBS.

As for Super Bowl favorites, the 49ers hold the best odds (+220) to win, followed by the Ravens, Bills, Cowboys, and Chiefs. The Steelers carry the least favorable odds among postseason teams.

The postseason action sets the stage for the Divisional Round, with game times yet to be released. The conference championship games follow on Sunday, January 28, leading up to Super Bowl LVIII.

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