Many believe the divisional round of the NFL playoffs is the best sports weekend of the year, and there are four fantastic matchups this season.
This playoff field was deep, and it means strong matchups throughout. The AFC seems wide open, and both wild-card teams that won in the first round seems capable of another road upset in round two. The NFC matchups feature the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles on an another unbelievable run against the No. 1 seed New Orleans Saints, and the ever-popular Dallas Cowboys traveling to Los Angeles to face the Rams.
Here is the schedule for the divisional round of the NFL playoffs:
Indianapolis Colts at Kansas City Chiefs, Saturday Jan. 12, 4:35 p.m. ET on NBC
The Chiefs don’t get an easy start to their postseason. Kansas City welcomes the Colts, perhaps the hottest team in the NFL. Andrew Luck and the Colts controlled the Houston Texans in wild-card weekend, winning 21-7 in a game that was never in doubt. Indianapolis has won 10 of its last 11 games. This matchup will be one between arguably the top two quarterbacks in the AFC this season. Patrick Mahomes seems like a lock to win MVP, and Luck should be among anyone’s top five.
Dallas Cowboys at Los Angeles Rams, Saturday Jan. 12, 8:15 p.m. ET on Fox
The Cowboys looked like they were headed toward a rematch against the Saints, a team they beat in the regular season, but then the Eagles came back and beat the Bears in the final minute on Sunday evening. That shifted Dallas’ focus to Los Angeles. The game will feature perhaps the two best running backs in the NFL, Ezekiel Elliott of the Cowboys and Todd Gurley of the Rams. Dallas advanced on the strength of its defense in a 24-22 win over the Seahawks, the only home team to win in wild-card weekend. Someone’s long drought will be snapped: The Cowboys haven’t been the NFC championship game since the end of the 1995 season, and the Rams haven’t been that far since the end of the 2001 season.
Los Angeles Chargers at New England Patriots, Sunday Jan. 13, 1:05 p.m. ET on CBS
The Chargers are in the weird situation of playing a divisional round game on the road despite having a better record than their opponent. The 12-4 Chargers should give a great challenge to the 11-5 Patriots, who have won back-to-back AFC championships. The Patriots were undefeated at home this season, but the Chargers were 8-1 on the road including a wild-card win over the Ravens. The matchup will pit 41-year-old Patriots quarterback Tom Brady against 37-year-old Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers. Given the star power on both sides, this could be the marquee matchup of the divisional round.
Philadelphia Eagles at New Orleans Saints, Sunday Jan. 13, 4:40 p.m. ET on Fox
The Nick Foles story keeps going on. Foles, last season’s Super Bowl MVP, led a fourth straight Eagles win, hitting Golden Tate for the game-winning touchdown on fourth down in the final minute against the Bears in a wild-card playoff victory. The Eagles will have a tough challenge at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, where they’ll find a fired-up crowd and a Saints offense led by MVP candidate Drew Brees. The Saints defense has also played very well in the second half of the season.
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