NFL Playoffs 2018: Schedule, dates, times, TV for AFC, NFC Divisional round
After a dramatic Wild Card Weekend that gave us two upsets, don’t be surprised if things get just as crazy in the divisional round of the playoffs.
Although the Falcons were a big underdog against the Rams over the weekend, they’re actually favored by 2.5 points over the Eagles, and if they close as favorites before kickoff, it’ll be the first time in NFL history that a sixth seed has been favored over a No. 1 seed in a playoff game. Oddsmakers clearly aren’t counting on Nick Foles to carry the Eagles to the NFC title game.
In the AFC, the Patriots will be playing a game for the first time since a report came out claiming that there’s some serious tension between Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and owner Robert Kraft. If the Patriots have proven one thing over the past few years, it’s that adversity doesn’t really seem to bother them, so don’t be surprised if they come out and play like a team possessed against the Titans.
The other two divisional games will be rematches from the 2017 regular season. The Jaguars will be returning to Pittsburgh, where they stunned the Steelers 30-9 in Week 5. A big reason the Jags were able to pull off the upset that week is because Ben Roethlisberger threw five interceptions.
One thing to note in the divisional round is that all four games will feature at least one quarterback who has Super Bowl experience with Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, Matt Ryan and Drew Brees going up against opponents who have zero big-game experience.
Here’s the complete schedule for the upcoming weekend, along with a quick look back at the wild-card round.
Wild Card Weekend
Saturday, Jan. 6
AFC: (5) Tennessee 22-21 over (4) Kansas City: The Titans pulled off a shocker to kick off the playoffs with an 18-point second-half comeback. Tennessee was led by Marcus Mariota, who basically willed his team to a win with two touchdown passes, including one to himself. The Titans quarterback threw for 205 yards and rushed for another 46 in the win.
NFC: (6) Atlanta 26-13 over (3) Los Angeles Rams: The Falcons capped off a wild first day of the postseason with Saturday’s second upset. Thanks to an efficient performance from Matt Ryan (21 of 30) and a defense that was able to shut down the Rams’ high-powered offense, the Falcons escaped from L.A. and will now travel to Philadelphia for a showdown with an Eagles team that won’t have Carson Wentz.
Sunday, Jan. 7
AFC: (3) Jacksonville 10-3 over (6) Buffalo: The Jaguars rode their defense to multiple wins during the regular season, and that’s exactly what they did in their wild-card win over the Bills. The Jaguars defense forced two turnovers and kept the Bills out of the end zone as Jacksonville picked up its first home playoff win since January 2000. The win over Buffalo sets up a rematch with a Steelers team that the Jags beat 30-9 in Week 5 in a game where Ben Roethlisberger threw five interceptions.
NFC: (4) New Orleans 31-26 over (5) Carolina: With Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram in the backfield, Drew Brees didn’t have to carry the Saints offense often in 2017, but he’s definitely still capable of doing that, and we found that out in Sunday’s wild-card game. Brees threw for 376 yards and two touchdowns to help the Saints advance to the divisional round for the third time in seven years.
Saturday, Jan. 13
NFC: (6) Atlanta (11-6) at (1) Philadelphia (13-3), 4:35 p.m. ET (NBC)
AFC: (5) Tennessee (10-7) at (1) New England (13-3), 8:15 p.m. ET (CBS)
Sunday, Jan. 14
AFC: (3) Jacksonville (11-6) at (2) Pittsburgh (13-3), 1:05 p.m. ET (CBS)
NFC: (4) New Orleans (12-5) at (2) Minnesota (13-3), 4:40 p.m. ET (Fox)
AFC Championship Game
Titans/Jaguars/Steelers at Jaguars/Steelers/Patriots, 3:05 p.m. ET (CBS)
NFC Championship Game
Falcons/Saints/Vikings at Saints/Vikings/Eagles, 6:40 p.m. ET (Fox)
Super Bowl LII (Minneapolis)
AFC champion vs. NFC champion at U.S. Bank Stadium, 6:30 p.m. ET (NBC)