It’s here, the NFL Postseason Playoffs are just about to begin. It’s been another wild and winding road to the Playoffs with plenty of drama and surprises to keep us gripped over the past 18 weeks.
We begin our road to the Super Bowl with another Wild encounter this weekend.
We begin with the Conference leaders who get the first-round bye. Then we have three Wildcard teams vs three of the Conference Division Winners, battling it out to represent their conference at the Super Bowl.
One victory for a Wildcard over a Division winner can make a huge impact on the shape of the contest going forward.
So who’s facing off in the Wild Card Round?
American Football Conference
The Kansas City Chiefs (AFC West Winner) lead the Conference with 14 wins, 3 losses over the season. They’re getting the pleasure of a first-round bye.
Cincinnati Bengals vs Baltimore Ravens
Bengals (AFC North Winner) vs Ravens (Second Wild Card)
This will be the first time both teams have faced each other in the NFL Playoffs.
That’s despite an intense rivalry dating back to 1996. Their rivalry intensified in 2003 when the Bengals hired Marvin Lewis, the long-time defence coordinator for the Ravens.
In the Regular season, the Ravens lead the series by 3 wins (28 – 25). The Bengals’ 25th win came in the final game of this season. They beat the Ravens 27 – 16.
Buffalo Bills vs Miami Dolphins
Bills (AFC East Winner) vs Dolphins (Third Wild Card)
Here are two teams who are quite accustomed to facing each other.
The Bills lead the series of Playoff wins by 2 wins (3 – 1) while overall the Dolphins have the record of 62 wins compared to 55 for the Bills.
This will be the first time the Dolphins have been in the Playoffs in 6 years. Their last time being knocked out by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2016.
On the other hand, this will be the Bills’ fourth appearance at the Wild Card Round in the past four years. Their 2020 and 2021 seasons saw them get knocked out in the Conference and Divisional Round respectively.
They dropped out of the 2019 Wildcard round following a close 19 – 22 loss to the Houston Texans.
Jacksonville Jaguars vs Los Angeles Chargers
Jaguars (AFC South Winner) vs Chargers (First Wild Card)
The Chargers will get their chance for a rematch against the Jaguars following their punishing 10 – 38 loss back in September.
Chargers aren’t afraid of the Jags though. It’s clear from the 9 wins they’ve achieved against Jags in the Regular Season. The major difference this time is the period of the contest.
Neither team has played each other in the Playoffs so that’s going to be added pressure.
National Football Conference
The Philadelphia Eagles (NFC East Winner) were the overall leaders of the Conference with 14 wins, 3 losses. They’ll be getting the first-round bye.
Minnesota Vikings vs New York Giants
Vikings (AFC North Winner) vs Giants (Second Wild Card)
It’s the first time in 3 years since the Minnesota Vikings made it to the Playoffs and 6 for the New York Giants.
As far as the Regular Season goes, the Vikings have the win advantage of 17 games compared to the 10 mustered by the Giants.
However, in the last three Playoffs, the Vikings have trailed the Giants. Giants previously knocked them out twice and the Vikings only collected a sole win.
San Francisco 49ers vs Seattle Seahawks
49ers (NFC West Winner) vs Seahawks (Third Wild Card)
Things have certainly picked up for the 49ers since Brock ‘Mr Irrelevant’ Purdy was called in as Quarterback to replace the injured Jimmy Garoppolo.
The 49ers walk into their Seahawks game with only a 39.6% win percentage over their Seattle opponents (19 – 30). One of those wins was picked up during the Playoffs.
The Seahawks knocked them out with a 17 – 23 defeat.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Dallas Cowboys
Buccaneers (NFC South Winner) vs Cowboys (First Wild Card)
Here’s an interesting matchup. Buccaneers could be considered favorites given their past experience as former Super Bowl winners but the Cowboys have looked formidable coming to this stage of the contest and they stand a chance.
Could this be the shock win of this season? Currently the Cowboys lead the Buccaneers with 2 wins to naught in the Playoffs while they lead them 13 wins over 6 for the Bucs in the Regular season.
Both teams will fight for the next round.
So that’s the Wildcard Round. This weekend is going to be full of drama. Check back soon where we’ll be going over who made it through and the next stop on the road to the Super Bowl.