With the conclusion of the 2013 NFL regular season, the playoffs are set to begin. Eight teams will be in action during wild-card weekend.
Of the four contests scheduled for the first round of the 2014 playoffs, three are rematches from this season. In the AFC, the Kansas City Chiefs and Indianapolis Colts will play each other just two weeks after Indianapolis left Kansas City with a 23-7 win. The Cincinnati Bengals will host the San Diego Chargers, and Cincinnati went on the road to beat San Diego on Dec. 1. The third rematch dates back to Week One when the San Francisco 49ers beat the Green Bay Packers in San Francisco.
The primetime matchup on Saturday is the only game that hasn’t been seen in 2013. The Philadelphia Eagles will host the New Orleans Saints, even though Philadelphia won one less game at 10-6. The Saints were in control of the NFC South for much of the season, but lost the division title to the Panthers, who finished the season by winning 11 of their final 12 games.
The Carolina Panthers earned a bye as the No.2 seed in the conference. The Seattle Seahawks will also have a week off to prepare for their game, since they are the No.1 seed and will have home-field advantage throughout. If either of the road teams win, the Seahawks are guaranteed a rematch in their first playoff game.
The Denver Broncos and New England Patriots have byes in the AFC. It’s the second straight year that both teams are the top two seeds. Denver lost their first playoff game to the Baltimore Ravens, while New England fell to the Ravens in the AFC Championship Game.
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This year’s wild-card weekend looks a lot different than last year’s. Only the Bengals, Colts and Packers competed in the first round of last year’s postseason.
Below are the dates, start times and TV channels for each contest in the upcoming round of games.
Saturday, Jan. 4
No.5 Kansas City Chiefs at No.4 Indianapolis Colts, 4:35 p.m. ET, NBC
No.6 New Orleans Saints at No.3 Philadelphia Eagles, 8:10 p.m. ET, NBC
Sunday, Jan. 5
No.6 San Diego Chargers at No.3 Cincinnati Bengals, 1:05 p.m. ET, CBS
No.5 San Francisco 49ers at No.4 Green Bay Packers, 4:40 p.m. ET, FOX