NFL playoff picture: Wild-card weekend matchups set
The longest NFL regular season in history is over, and now the real fun begins.
Over the next three weeks, the NFL playoff field of 14 teams will be dwindled down to the final two teams that will play in Super Bowl LVI on Feb. 13 at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California.
The six matchups for Super Wild-Card Weekend are set following a Sunday night overtime thriller that decided the AFC picture.
Here are the matchups and important numbers to know for each showdown.
First-round bye: No. 1 Green Bay Packers
The Packers are the NFC’s No. 1 seed for the second consecutive season, a first in franchise history. Green Bay is guaranteed to play at Lambeau Field in the divisional round, where the Pack finished a perfect 8-0 in the regular season.
The Packers’ last defeat at Lambeau Field? The 2021 NFC Championship game — a 31-26 loss to Tampa Bay. They lost in the NFC Championship the past two seasons and are 0-4 in it since winning Super Bowl XLV in 2011.
NFC wild-card round:
The defending Super Bowl champion Bucs seek to become the first team to win back-to-back Super Bowls since Tom Brady's New England Patriots in 2003 and 2004. Tampa Bay's 13 wins this season are a single-season franchise record.
The Eagles are in the playoffs for the first time since 2019 and the fourth time in the past five seasons. They led the NFL this year in rushing (159.7 YPG).
San Francisco makes its first postseason appearance since 2019 — and second in five seasons under Kyle Shanahan. The 49ers reached the NFC Championship game in each of their past four playoff appearances, dating to 2011.
The Cowboys are in the playoffs for the first time since 2018 and haven't reached the NFC Championship Game since 1995 (when they went on to win the Super Bowl). Washington and Detroit are the only other NFC teams that have not made at least one NFC Championship appearance in the same period.
The Cardinals are in the postseason for the first time since 2015. They were an NFL-best 8-1 on the road this season, which should help against the Rams. Arizona last made a Super Bowl in 2008 — a loss to the Steelers.
Coach Sean McVay leads the Rams to the playoffs for the fourth time in his five seasons. Matthew Stafford is in the playoffs for only the fourth time in his 13-year career, and he's still looking for his first playoff win (0-3).
First-round bye: No. 1 Tennessee Titans
The Titans are in the playoffs for the third straight season and enter as the AFC's top seed for just the third time in franchise history.
The No. 1 seed in the AFC has reached the Super Bowl in six of the past eight postseasons, which bodes well for a Tennessee team looking to return to the Super Bowl for the first time since 1999.
AFC wild-card round:
Pittsburgh reached the playoffs for the second straight season and the 10th time in 15 seasons under Mike Tomlin. The Steelers hope to reach the Super Bowl for the first time since 2008.
The Chiefs have been the class of the AFC the past three seasons, advancing to three straight AFC Championship Games and playing in the previous two Super Bowls. This is their seventh consecutive trip to the postseason, the longest active streak in the NFL.
The Patriots are in the playoffs for the 18th time in 22 seasons under Bill Belichick. With his 19th playoff appearance as a head coach, Belichick is tied with Don Shula for the most playoff appearances by a coach in NFL history. Mac Jones is the only rookie QB in this year’s playoff field.
The Bills are making their third consecutive trip to the playoffs after making the playoffs only three times from 1997 to 2018. This is their first time making three consecutive playoff appearances since a franchise-record six straight trips from 1988 to '93, which included four consecutive Super Bowl losses from 1990 to '93.
The Raiders are in the playoffs for the first time since 2016 and only the second time since 2003. They have not won a playoff game since the 2002 season. In his eighth NFL season, Derek Carr will be making his first playoff start.
For the Bengals, this is their first playoff appearance since 2015, and they have not won a playoff game since the 1990 season, the longest active drought in the NFL.