The much-awaited NFL playoff Wild Card Weekend is finally here, starting with two thrilling matchups on Saturday. After expanding the playoffs to include 14 teams last season, the NFL is continuing the exciting six-game Wild Card format this year. The playoff field used to feature just 12 teams until 2020 when the league added an extra Wild Card team in each conference. This brought the total number of games on the first playoff weekend to six – up from four in previous years.
The league has split the games between Saturday, Sunday and Monday. This year, there will be two AFC matchups on Saturday, followed by three NFC contests on Sunday, capped off with one AFC battle on Monday night. Football fans can look forward to nonstop playoff action across the weekend.
Texans Host Browns In Houston To Open Playoffs On Saturday Afternoon
The playoff spectacle kicks off on Saturday at 4:30 pm ET on NBC, when the Houston Texans host the Cleveland Browns at NRG Stadium in an AFC Wild Card showdown. The Texans, led by veteran quarterback Tom Brady, enter the playoffs as AFC South champions after the Jacksonville Jaguars fell to the Tennessee Titans in Week 18.
Meanwhile, the Browns snuck into the playoffs as the AFC’s seventh seed with a 9-8 record behind top players Nick Chubb and Amari Cooper. In fact, these two teams faced each other in Week 13, when the Browns cruised to a 36-22 victory on Christmas Eve. Cooper exploded for a franchise-record 265 receiving yards, as Cleveland dominated from start to finish.
The Browns will attempt to replicate that performance on the road in Houston. But the Texans are out for revenge on their home turf, where they went 6-2 this season. With playoff experience on his side, Brady will look to pick apart Cleveland’s 26th-ranked pass defense. This matchup features plenty of star power and high-powered offenses, setting the stage for a potential shootout to commence the NFL playoffs.
Hill’s Chiefs Reunion Headlines AFC’s Saturday Nightcap
In Saturday’s nightcap at 8:15 pm ET on NBC and Peacock, the Miami Dolphins visit the Kansas City Chiefs at raucous Arrowhead Stadium in arguably the most anticipated game of Super Wild Card Weekend. This primetime AFC duel will mark elite wide receiver Tyreek Hill’s first matchup against his former team after being traded to Miami last offseason.
The Dolphins limp into the playoffs having lost five straight games, including a costly Week 18 defeat against the Buffalo Bills that cost them the AFC East title. But with Hill and Jaylen Waddle at his disposal, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has plenty of speed to attack Kansas City’s 20th-ranked pass defense. These two clubs actually squared off in Week 9, with the Chiefs prevailing 21-14 in Germany.
Kansas City still boasts Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, and an explosive offense. But they have sorely lacked a vertical threat without Hill blowing past defensive backs this season. Hill will be extra motivated to deliver a monster performance against his ex-team on Saturday night. An emotional reunion could spell trouble for the Chiefs, as Hill hopes to end their Super Bowl repeat bid.
Strap in for two thrilling AFC showdowns as the NFL’s Super Wild Card Weekend extravaganza begins on Saturday. Will the veteran savvy of Brady or the playmaking of Hill carry their teams to victory? Tune in to find out, as the road to the Super Bowl officially commences.