The addition of a third Wild Card team and the subsequent expansion of the playoffs has resulted in a Super Wild Card Weekend of NFL action.
For the first time ever, there will be three games on Saturday, January 9, and three games on Sunday, January 10, to be played at 1:05 p.m., 4:40 p.m., and 8:15 p.m. ET on each day.
The postseason kicks off Saturday on the heels of the highest-scoring regular season in NFL history, packed with more points (12,692) and touchdowns (1,473) than any of the league’s previous 100 years. All told, 179 of 256 games – 70 percent – were within one score (eight points) in the fourth quarter, more games than all but one season in league annals (184 in 2016). And no lead was safe, as winning teams combined to erase deficits of 10-or-more points in 43 games, tying a single-season league record.
Steady, dangerous teams led by consistent veterans, young and on-the-rise clubs guided by sensational newcomers, they all have seats at the table.
The NFL Super Wild Card Weekend schedule:
Saturday, January 9
|AFC||Indianapolis at Buffalo||1:05 PM ET||CBS, CBS All Access|
|NFC||Los Angeles Rams at Seattle||4:40 PM ET||FOX, FOX Deportes|
|NFC||Tampa Bay at Washington||8:15 PM ET||NBC, Universo|
Sunday, January 10
|AFC||Baltimore at Tennessee||1:05 PM ET||ESPN/ABC, ESPN2, ESPN+, ESPN Deportes, Freeform|
|NFC||Chicago at New Orleans||4:40 PM ET||CBS, Nickelodeon, Amazon Prime Video, CBS All Access|
|AFC||Cleveland at Pittsburgh||8:15 PM ET||NBC, Telemundo, Peacock|
The 14 teams in contention for the Vince Lombardi Trophy at Super Bowl LV in Tampa Bay:
AMERICAN FOOTBALL CONFERENCE
NATIONAL FOOTBALL CONFERENCE
|1.||Kansas City Chiefs (14-2), AFC West champion*||1.||Green Bay Packers (13-3), NFC North champion*|
|2.||Buffalo Bills (13-3), AFC East champion||2.||New Orleans Saints (12-4) NFC South champion|
|3.||Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4), AFC North champion||3.||Seattle Seahawks (12-4), NFC West champion|
|4.||Tennessee Titans (11-5), AFC South champion||4.||Washington (7-9), NFC East champion|
|5.||Baltimore Ravens (11-5)||5.||Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11-5)|
|6.||Cleveland Browns (11-5)||6.||Los Angeles Rams (10-6)|
|7.||Indianapolis Colts (11-5)||7.||Chicago Bears (8-8)|
|*Earned conference’s only first-round bye|
AFC FIELD STACKED WITH HIGH-WIN CLUBS
For just the second time since the 1970 league merger, every playoff team in one conference has at least 11 regular-season wins. It also happened in 1980, in the AFC, when the NFL expanded its playoff field with an additional Wild Card qualifier in each conference. One of those 1980 AFC teams, the 11-5 OAKLAND RAIDERS, went on to become the first Wild Card team to win a Super Bowl.
WATCH OUT FOR ROAD TEAMS
The road club has won six of the last eight NFL Wild Card games over the past two seasons. Since the 2017 playoffs, road teams are 8-4. And, in seven of the past eight seasons, at least one road team has won a Wild Card game.
HISTORY ON WASHINGTON’S SIDE
Since divisional play began, 438 teams have earned division championships. The WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM (7-9) is the third club in league history to win its division with a record below .500. However, each of those two previous teams – the 2010 SEATTLE SEAHAWKS and the 2014 CAROLINA PANTHERS – were victorious in their first-round playoff games.
WOMEN ASSISTANT COACHES WELL-REPRESENTED
There were eight women serving in assistant-coach roles this season. Six of them will be coaching during Super Wild Card Weekend.
The eight women assistant coaches in the NFL this season:
|Callie Brownson||Cleveland Browns|
|Emily Zaler||Denver Broncos|
|Chelsea Romero||Los Angeles Rams|
|Katie Sowers||San Francisco 49ers|
|Lori Locust||Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|Maral Javadifar||Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|Cristi Bartlett||Tennessee Titans|
|Jennifer King||Washington Football Team|
A look at the six games on Super Wild Card Weekend:
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (11-5) at BUFFALO BILLS (13-3)
Saturday, CBS/CBS All Access, 1:05 PM ET
- Buffalo secured its third playoff berth in the past four seasons, since SEAN McDERMOTT became head coach. The Bills won their division for the first time since 1995 and earned their first home playoff game since the 1996 season.
Indianapolis clinched its second playoff berth in the past three seasons, since FRANK REICH became head coach.
- Offensively, the Bills ranked second in the league in points per game (31.3) and tied for second in total offense (396.4 yards/game) this season.
- Buffalo quarterback JOSH ALLEN, who had 4,544 passing yards with 37 touchdown passes and eight rushing touchdowns in 2020, is the first player with at least 4,500 passing yards, 35 touchdown passes and five rushing touchdowns in a single season in NFL history.
- Allen (37 touchdown passes, age 24) along with Kansas City’s PATRICK MAHOMES (38 touchdown passes, age 25), Houston’s DESHAUN WATSON (33 touchdown passes, age 25) and the Chargers’ JUSTIN HERBERT (31 touchdown passes, age 22) helped make 2020 the first season in league history in which four quarterbacks under the age of 26 each threw at least 30 touchdown passes.
- Bills wide receiver STEFON DIGGS this season led the NFL with 127 receptions, the sixth-most receptions in a single season in league annals. Only MICHAEL THOMAS (149 receptions in 2019), Pro Football Hall of Famer MARVIN HARRISON (143 in 2002), JULIO JONES (136 in 2015) and ANTONIO BROWN (136 in 2015 and 129 in 2014) had more.
Colts quarterback PHILIP RIVERS passed for 4,169 yards, his 12th-career 4,000-yard season, tied for the second most in NFL history.
- Indianapolis rookie running back JONATHAN TAYLOR rushed for 253 yards and two touchdowns in the Colts’ Week 17 win. Taylor’s 253 rushing yards were tied with DEMARCO MURRAY (253 rushing yards on Oct. 23, 2011) for the second-most rushing yards by a rookie in a single game in NFL history. Only ADRIAN PETERSON (296 rushing yards on Nov. 4, 2007) had more.
LOS ANGELES RAMS (10-6) at SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (12-4)
Saturday, FOX/FOX Deportes, 4:40 PM ET
- Seattle is in the playoffs for the ninth time in 11 seasons under head coach PETE CARROLL.
The Rams have clinched a playoff berth in three of the past four seasons, since SEAN MCVAY became head coach.
- LA split their regular-season series this season, with each club winning its home game. The Rams beat Seattle, 23-16, in Week 10 while the Seahawks defeated Los Angeles, 20-9, in Week 16.
- Since selecting quarterback RUSSELL WILSON in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft, Seattle has earned eight postseason berths in nine years.
- Wilson threw a career-high 40 touchdown passes and, with 4,212 passing yards, registered his fourth career 4,000-yard season in 2020. He also became the third player ever with 30-or-more touchdown passes in four consecutive seasons.
Seattle wide receiver DK METCALF had a career-high and franchise-record 1,303 receiving yards in 2020.
- Seahawks wide receiver TYLER LOCKETT registered a career-high and franchise-record 100 receptions. With 1,054 receiving yards, he posted his second straight 1,000-yard season in 2020.
- Defensively, Los Angeles allowed the fewest points per game (18.5) and fewest yards per game (281.9). They recorded the second-most sacks (53) in the NFL this season.
- Rams defensive lineman AARON DONALD tied for second in the NFL with 13.5 sacks. Since entering the NFL in 2014, he leads the league with 85.5 sacks, having surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer DERRICK THOMAS (85) for the third-most sacks by a player in his first seven seasons since 1982, when the individual sack became an official statistic.
- Los Angeles wide receiver ROBERT WOODS tied his career highs in receptions (90) and receiving touchdowns (six) in 2020. In four career playoff games, he has 26 receptions for 314 yards (78.5 per game).
- In five of the previous eight seasons (2012-19), an NFC West team has represented the conference in the Super Bowl, including the Rams in 2018 and the Seahawks in 2013 and 2014.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (11-5) at WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM (7-9)
Saturday, NBC/Universo, 8:15 PM ET
- The Buccaneers, in their second season under head coach BRUCE ARIANS, clinched their first playoff berth since 2007. At the reins of the Cardinals in 2015, Arians guided Arizona to the NFC Championship game.
- Washington, in the team’s first season under head coach RON RIVERA, secured its first division title and playoff berth since 2015. Rivera led the Panthers to Super Bowl 50 five years ago.
- Tampa Bay quarterback TOM BRADY passed for 399 yards and four touchdowns with one interception for a 117.8 rating while wide receiver ANTONIO BROWN had 11 receptions for 138 yards and two touchdowns in the Buccaneers’ Week 17 win.
Brady made the 299th regular-season start of his career and surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer BRETT FAVRE (298 starts) for the most regular-season starts by a quarterback in NFL history.
- He had 50 touchdown passes in 2007, recorded 40 touchdown passes in 2020 and became the fifth quarterback with at least 40 touchdown passes in multiple seasons in NFL history. He is joining AARON RODGERS (three seasons), DREW BREES (two), PEYTON MANNING (two) and Pro Football Hall of Famer DAN MARINO (two).
- Brady is the all-time postseason leader in completions (1,025), passing yards (11,388) and touchdown passes (73).
- Brown recorded his 22nd career game with at least 10 receptions, tied with ANDRE JOHNSON (22 games) for the most games with at least 10 receptions in NFL history. Brown also has 11 career games with at least 125 receiving yards and two touchdown receptions, tied with Pro Football Hall of Famers DON MAYNARD (11 games) and TERRELL OWENS (11) for the fifth-most such games in league annals. Only Pro Football Hall of Famers JERRY RICE (22 games), RANDY MOSS (15), MARVIN HARRISON (13) and DON HUTSON (13) have more.
Tampa Bay wide receiver MIKE EVANS, who had 1,006 receiving yards this season, is the first player in NFL history with at least 1,000 receiving yards in each of his first seven seasons.
- Washington quarterback ALEX SMITH is expected to make his eighth-career postseason start, including five with Kansas City and two with San Francisco. Smith would become just the fifth quarterback in NFL history to start a postseason game for three-or-more franchises, joining KERRY COLLINS, JEFF GARCIA, BRAD JOHNSON and DAVE KRIEG.
- Washington running back ANTONIO GIBSON had 11 rushing touchdowns, tied with the Colts’ JONATHAN TAYLOR for the most among NFL rookies this season.
- Wide receiver TERRY MCLAURIN led the team with 87 receptions and 1,118 receiving yards.
- Washington defensive end CHASE YOUNG led all rookies in sacks (7.5) and tackles for loss (10) this season.
BALTIMORE RAVENS (11-5) at TENNESSEE TITANS (11-5)
Sunday, ESPN/ABC/ESPN2/ESPN+/ESPN Deportes/Freeform, 1:05 PM ET
- Baltimore is playoff bound for the third consecutive season and the ninth time in 13 years under head coach JOHN HARBAUGH.
- Tennessee captured its first division crown since 2008 and is in the postseason for a second straight year. MIKE VRABEL has guided the Titans to two playoff berths in his three seasons as head coach.
- Tennessee running back DERRICK HENRY rushed for 250 yards and two touchdowns in the Titans’ Week 17 victory. Henry led the NFL with 2,027 rushing yards in 2020 and is the eighth player in league annals to rush for at least 2,000 yards in a season.
- Derrick Henry, who led the NFL with 1,540 rushing yards in 2019, is the first player since Pro Football Hall of Famer LADAINIAN TOMLINSON (2006-07) to lead the league in rushing yards in consecutive seasons. Henry had 3,567 combined rushing yards from 2019-20 to register the sixth-highest consecutive-season rushing total in NFL history, behind Pro Football Hall of Famers ERIC DICKERSON (3,913 from 1983-84), TERRELL DAVIS (3,758 from 1997-98), EARL CAMPBELL (3,631 from1979-80) and BARRY SANDERS (3,606 from 1996-97), as well as SHAUN ALEXANDER (3,576 from 2004-05).
Henry is the first player in NFL history with five career regular-season games with at least 200 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns.
- Baltimore rushed for 404 yards in Week 17, the fourth-highest single-game total since 1950. Only the NEW YORK GIANTS (423 rushing yards on Nov. 19, 1950), CINCINNATI BENGALS (407 rushing yards on Oct. 22, 2000) and CHICAGO BEARS (406 rushing yards on Sept. 6, 1955) had more.
- Ravens quarterback LAMAR JACKSON, who had 36 touchdown passes and seven rushing touchdowns last season, had 26 touchdown passes and seven rushing touchdowns in 2020. Hejoined DESHAUN WATSON (2018-19) as the only quarterbacks with at least 25 touchdown passes and five rushing touchdowns in consecutive seasons in NFL history.
- Jackson, who rushed for 1,206 yards in 2019, had 1,005 rushing yards in 2020 and became the first quarterback in NFL history with at least 1,000 rushing yards in multiple seasons.
- Baltimore running back J.K. DOBBINS recorded a rushing touchdown in six consecutive games (Week 11, Week 13-17), tied for the third-longest such streak by a rookie running back in the Super Bowl era. Only MAURICE JONES-DREW (eight games in 2006) and CURTIS DICKEY (seven games in 1980) had longer streaks.
CHICAGO BEARS (8-8) at NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (12-4)
Sunday, CBS/Nickelodeon/Amazon Prime Video/CBS All Access, 4:40 PM ET
- The Saints secured their fourth consecutive division title and their ninth playoff berth in 14 seasons under head coach SEAN PAYTON.
Chicago clinched its second postseason berth in three years under head coach MATT NAGY.
- Bears quarterback MITCHELL TRUBISKY led Chicago to the 2020 playoffs by going 6-3 as a starter. In his only career postseason start, he passed for 303 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions (Jan. 6, 2019, vs. Philadelphia).
- Chicago running back DAVID MONTGOMERY in 2020 ranked fifth in the NFL with a career-high 1,508 scrimmage yards (1,070 rushing, 438 receiving). He scored a career-high 10 touchdowns (eight rushing, two receiving). He joined DALVIN COOK and DERRICK HENRY as the only players with at least seven games of 110-or-more scrimmage yards and one-or-more touchdowns this season.
- Bears linebacker KHALIL MACK is one of two NFL players with eight-or-more sacks in each of the past six seasons, joining AARON DONALD.
- New Orleans quarterback DREW BREES has thrown for 4,967 yards (310.4 per game) and 34 touchdowns with 12 interceptions for a 99.6 rating in 16 career postseason starts.
- Saints running back ALVIN KAMARA, who tied the single-game NFL record with six rushing touchdowns in his last start in Week 16. He led the league with 21 touchdowns (16 rushing, five receiving). He also ranked third in scrimmage yards (1,688) and led all running backs with a career-high 83 receptions.
CLEVELAND BROWNS (11-5) at PITTSBURGH STEELERS (12-4)
Sunday, NBC/Telemundo/Peacock, 8:15 PM ET
Browns Make The Playoffs!! After beating the Steelers!! pic.twitter.com/pPNMobmK1f
— Haz Matthews (@heyhaz) January 5, 2021
- Pittsburgh clinched its first division title and playoff berth since 2017. Steelers head coach MIKE TOMLIN has guided his team to the postseason in nine of 14 years as head coach.
Rookie head coach KEVIN STEFANSKI guided the Browns to their first playoff berth since 2002.
- Browns quarterback BAKER MAYFIELD threw for 3,563 yards and 26 touchdowns with a career-best 95.9 rating in 2020. He joined ANDREW LUCK and PEYTON MANNING as the only players in NFL history with at least 3,500 passing yards and 20-or-more TD passes in each of their first three seasons.
- Cleveland running backs NICK CHUBB (1,217 scrimmage yards) and KAREEM HUNT (1,145) were the NFL’s only pair of running-back teammates to each eclipse 1,000 scrimmage yards in 2020.
- Steelers quarterback BEN ROETHLISBERGER passed for 3,803 yards and 33 touchdowns in 2020. It is his 10th career season with at least 3,500 passing yards. He ranks fifth in NFL history with 5,256 career postseason passing yards (250.3 per game).
- Pittsburgh wide receiver CHASE CLAYPOOL led NFL rookies with nine receiving touchdowns this season.
- Steelers linebacker T.J. WATT led the NFL in both sacks (15) and tackles for loss (23), establishing career highs in each category.
- For the first time in eight years, two teams that concluded the regular season against each other will meet in a rematch in the first round of the playoffs. Since the NFL added a Wild Card round in 1978, this marks the 15th time two teams that closed the regular season are meeting again in the first round. In each of last two instances, and in eight of the previous 14, the team that lost the regular-season finale rebounded to win in the playoffs.