The longest season in NFL history ended with the wackiest and craziest game in Week 18 history. The Las Vegas Raiders eliminated the Los Angeles Chargers with a walk-off field goal in overtime that sent the Raiders to the playoffs — avoiding the dreaded tie that would have been dreadful for the Pittsburgh Steelers as Pittsburgh would have missed the playoffs if the Chargers and Raiders tied on Sunday night.
The San Francisco 49ers clinched a playoff berth with an overtime win over the Los Angeles Rams, eliminating the New Orleans Saints (who won their game to put pressure on the 49ers). The Rams clinched the NFC West with the Arizona Cardinals’ loss.
With that information, we can begin to look forward to what is to come this weekend.
NFC 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. Could this year be the year Aaron Rodgers gets his second ring?
AFC First Round Bye No. 1 Tennessee Titans
The Tennessee Titans is 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. With the First round bye Titans star running back Derrick Henry should be geared up in two weeks’ time. A massive help for the Titans that possesses great wideouts and the best running back in the league.
NFC wild-card round:
No. 7 Philadelphia Eagles at No. 2 Tamba Bay Buccaneers
The Bucs dominated the Panthers and clinched the No. 2 seed based on their head-to-head win against the Cowboys way back in Week 1. The defending Super Bowl champion Bucs seek to become the first team to win back-to-back Super Bowls since New England Patriots in 2003 and 2004. The Eagles are locked into the NFC’s seventh seed after losing to Dallas at home Saturday night while resting many of their key players. They are in the playoffs for the fourth time in five seasons.
No. 6 San Francisco 49ers at No. 3 Dallas Cowboys
San Francisco makes its first postseason appearance since 2019 — and second in five seasons under Kyle Shanahan. The win against the Eagles gave Dallas an NFC-best 10-2 conference record. That record was the tiebreaker between the Cowboys and Rams, who are 8-4 within the conference. The Cowboys are in the playoffs for the first time since 2018 and haven’t reached the NFC Championship Game since 1995
No. 5 Arizona Cardinals at No. 4 Los Angeles Rams
The Rams lost to the 49ers in overtime at home, but they still were winners Sunday, in a way. They captured the NFC West thanks to Arizona’s home loss to Seattle. Coach Sean McVay leads the Rams to the playoffs for the fourth time in his five seasons. Arizona needed a win and a Rams loss to win the NFC West, but they got only one of those things. They were an NFL-best 8-1 on the road this season, which should help against the Rams.
AFC wild-card round:
No. 7 Pittsburgh Steelers at No. 2 Kansas City Chiefs
Pittsburgh reached the playoffs for the second straight season and the 10th time in 15 seasons under Mike Tomlin. The AFC West champs’ eight-game winning streak came to an end in Week 17, but they closed their regular season Saturday with a win at Denver. Because of a Week 7 loss against Tennessee, the Chiefs lost out on the No. 1
No. 6 New England Patriots at No. 3 Buffalo Bills
New England’s 8-4 conference record tied with Cincinnati for the best in the AFC, but the Patriots lost three of their final four games to close the regular season. New England Patriots is in the playoffs for the 11th time in 12 seasons. The Buffalo Bills are making their third consecutive trip to the playoffs after making the playoffs only three times from 1997 to 2018.
No. 5 Las Vegas Raiders at No. 4 Cincinnati Bengals
The Raiders are in the playoffs for the first time since 2016 and only the second time since 2003. For the Bengals, this is their first playoff appearance since 2015, and they have not won a playoff game since the 1990 season.