It will be hard for the NFL to top wild-card weekend.
Two of the first three games went to overtime. The Tennessee Titans’ upset of the New England Patriots was a one-point game until the final seconds, and the Seattle Seahawks’ win over the Philadelphia Eagles wasn’t decided until the final two minutes either. Two No. 6 seeds scored upsets. There were big plays and controversies and some fantastic moments.
The divisional round is thought of by some to be the best weekend of the NFL season, and there should be four good matchups:
No. 6 Minnesota Vikings at No. 1 San Francisco 49ers
Saturday, Jan. 11, 4:35 p.m. ET on NBC
The Vikings shocked the NFL by going into New Orleans and beating the Saints. They held a 20-10 lead, allowed the Saints to send the game to overtime, and then Kirk Cousins came up with two big throws in overtime for the win.
The 49ers have had a fantastic season, as their defense and running game has been very good all season and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has had big moments as well. This is San Francisco’s first home playoff game since January of 2013. It is the first NFL playoff game at Levi’s Stadium.
It’s also a rematch of one of the biggest postseason upsets ever, when Anthony Carter went for 227 yards and the Vikings beat Joe Montana and the 49ers in the divisional round at the end of the 1987 season.
No. 6 Tennessee Titans at No. 1 Baltimore Ravens
Saturday, Jan. 11, 8:15 p.m. ET on CBS
For the first time in 10 seasons we won’t have the New England Patriots be a part of the divisional round, and the Titans are the reason. Tennessee battered the Patriots with their running game and pulled off an upset. Derrick Henry rushed for 182 yards and carried the Titans offense, while the defense held Tom Brady and New England to 13 points.
If anyone knows about running the ball, it’s the Ravens. They set an NFL single-season record for rushing yards by a team. Quarterback Lamar Jackson set a record for rushing yards in a season by a quarterback, and he’s a near-lock to win MVP.
No. 4 Houston Texans at No. 2 Kansas City Chiefs
Sunday, Jan. 12, 3:05 p.m. ET on CBS
The Houston Texans looked finished, but rallied back from a big deficit and Deshaun Watson’s phenomenal play in overtime set up a game-winning field goal.
That sets up a thrilling quarterback matchup. Watson and Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes are two of the most exciting players in the NFL. The Texans have already won once at Kansas City this season. They beat the Chiefs 31-24 on Oct. 13. Watson scored the game-winning touchdown on a 1-yard run in the fourth quarter.
No. 5 Seattle Seahawks at No. 2 Green Bay Packers
Sunday, Jan. 12, 6:40 p.m. ET on FOX
The final game of the divisional round might get chilly. The Packers are back in the playoffs after missing each of the past two seasons after going 13-3 and getting a bye. That means the Packers get at least one game at Lambeau Field this month, where some of the coldest games in playoff history have taken place.
The Seahawks and Packers have some playoff history. The most memorable encounter was the NFC championship game at the end of the 2014 season, in which the Seahawks came back with the help of an onside kick, and then won in overtime on Russell Wilson’s walk-off touchdown pass. In a playoff field dominated by younger quarterbacks, Aaron Rodgers and Wilson will square off as two old Super Bowl-winning veterans.
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