2021 NFL Playoff Preview: Super Wild Card Weekend

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Tom Brady
Derick E. Hingle/New Orleans Saints Pool Photo

2021 Playoff Preview

The NFL playoffs begin with Super Wild Card Weekend (January 15-17), which for the first time will conclude with a game on Monday night.

The NFL Super Wild Card Weekend schedule:

Saturday, January 15

AFC

Las Vegas at Cincinnati

4:30 PM ET

NBC, Peacock, Universo

AFC

New England at Buffalo

8:15 PM ET

CBS, Paramount+

Sunday, January 16

NFC

Philadelphia at Tampa Bay

1:00 PM ET

FOX, FOX Deportes

NFC

San Francisco at Dallas

4:30 PM ET

CBS, Paramount+, Nickelodeon, Amazon Prime Video

AFC

Pittsburgh at Kansas City

8:15 PM ET

NBC, Peacock, Telemundo

Monday, January 17

NFC

Arizona at Los Angeles Rams

8:15 PM ET

ESPN/ABC, ESPN2, ESPN+, ESPN Deportes

The NFL expanded the playoffs last season for the first time since 1990, adding a third Wild Card team in each conference and in the process creating “Super Wild Card Weekend” – three Wild Card games on Saturday and three games on Sunday.

With the addition of a Monday night game to the 2021 playoffs, Super Wild Card Weekend will now have two Wild Card games on Saturday (4:30 PM and 8:15 PM ET), three on Sunday (1:00 PM, 4:30 PM, and 8:15 PM ET), and one on Monday (8:15 PM ET).

On Saturday, the Las Vegas Raiders play at the Cincinnati Bengals (NBC, Peacock, Universo, 4:30 PM ET) and the New England Patriots visit the Buffalo Bills (CBS, Paramount+, 8:15 PM ET).

Super Wild Card Weekend continues Sunday as the Philadelphia Eagles visit the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (FOX, FOX Deportes, 1:00 PM ET), the Dallas Cowboys welcome the San Francisco 49ers (CBS, Paramount+, Nickelodeon, Amazon Prime Video, 4:30 PM ET) and the Pittsburgh Steelers travel to face the Kansas City Chiefs (NBC, Peacock, Telemundo, 8:15 PM ET).

Super Wild Card Weekend concludes with the Arizona Cardinals visiting the Los Angeles Rams on Monday night (ESPN/ABC, ESPN2, ESPN+ ESPN Deportes, 8:15 PM ET).

TURNAROUND TEAMS & CONSISTENT WINNERS HIGHLIGHT PLAYOFF FIELD

There are seven new playoff teams in 2021: ARIZONA, CINCINNATI, DALLAS, LAS VEGAS, NEW ENGLAND, PHILADELPHIA and SAN FRANCISCO.

Since 1990 – a streak of 32 consecutive seasons – at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs in every season that were not in the postseason the year before.

The teams since 1990 to make the playoffs a season after failing to qualify:

SEASON

PLAYOFF TEAMS NOT IN PREVIOUS SEASON’S PLAYOFFS

1990

7 (Cincinnati, Chicago, Kansas City, Los Angeles Raiders, Miami, New Orleans, Washington)

1991

5 (Atlanta, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, New York Jets)

1992

6 (Miami, Minnesota, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Diego Chargers, San Francisco)

1993

5 (Denver, Detroit, Green Bay, Los Angeles Raiders, New York Giants)

1994

5 (Chicago, Cleveland, Miami, New England, San Diego Chargers)

1995

4 (Atlanta, Buffalo, Indianapolis, Philadelphia)

1996

5 (Carolina, Denver, Jacksonville, Minnesota, New England)

1997

5 (Detroit, Kansas City, Miami, New York Giants, Tampa Bay)

1998

5 (Arizona, Atlanta, Buffalo, Dallas, New York Jets)

1999

7 (Detroit, Indianapolis, St. Louis Rams, Seattle, Tampa Bay, Tennessee, Washington)

2000

6 (Baltimore, Denver, New Orleans, New York Giants, Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia)

2001

6 (Chicago, Green Bay, New England, New York Jets, Pittsburgh, San Francisco)

2002

5 (Atlanta, Cleveland, Indianapolis, New York Giants, Tennessee)

2003

8 (Baltimore, Carolina, Dallas, Denver, Kansas City, New England, St. Louis Rams, Seattle)

2004

5 (Atlanta, Minnesota, New York Jets, Pittsburgh, San Diego Chargers)

2005

7 (Carolina, Chicago, Cincinnati, Jacksonville, New York Giants, Tampa Bay, Washington)

2006

7 (Baltimore, Dallas, Kansas City, New Orleans, New York Jets, Philadelphia, San Diego Chargers)

2007

6 (Green Bay, Jacksonville, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Tennessee, Washington)

2008

7 (Arizona, Atlanta, Baltimore, Carolina, Miami, Minnesota, Philadelphia)

2009

6 (Cincinnati, Dallas, Green Bay, New England, New Orleans, New York Jets)

2010

5 (Atlanta, Chicago, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Seattle)

2011

6 (Cincinnati, Denver, Detroit, Houston, New York Giants, San Francisco)

2012

4 (Indianapolis, Minnesota, Seattle, Washington)

2013

5 (Carolina, Kansas City, New Orleans, Philadelphia, San Diego Chargers)

2014

5 (Arizona, Baltimore, Dallas, Detroit, Pittsburgh)

2015

4 (Houston, Kansas City, Minnesota, Washington)

2016

6 (Atlanta, Dallas, Detroit, Miami, New York Giants, Oakland Raiders)

2017

8 (Buffalo, Carolina, Jacksonville, Los Angeles Rams, Minnesota, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Tennessee)

2018

7 (Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles Chargers, Seattle)

2019

5 (Buffalo, Green Bay, Minnesota, San Francisco, Tennessee)

2020

7 (Chicago, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Los Angeles Rams, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Washington)

2021

7 (Arizona, Cincinnati, Dallas, Las Vegas, New England, Philadelphia, San Francisco)

Two teams won division titles – Cincinnati (AFC North) and Dallas (NFC East) – after missing the playoffs last season. At least two teams have won their divisions the season after missing the playoffs in 18 of the past 19 years.

Cincinnati completed the “worst-to-first” turnaround, winning the AFC North the season after finishing in last place. At least one team has won its division the season after finishing in or tied for last place in 17 of the past 19 seasons.

The divisions with new champions in 2021:

AFC NORTH

NFC EAST

NFC SOUTH

NFC WEST

2021

Cincinnati

Dallas

Tampa Bay

Los Angeles Rams

2020

Pittsburgh

Washington

New Orleans

Seattle

In the 20 seasons since realignment in 2002, 30 of the 32 NFL teams have won a division title at least once.

How the 2021 playoff teams have fared in the 20 seasons since realignment in 2002 (2021 division winners in bold/italics):

TEAM

DIVISION TITLES

PLAYOFF BERTHS

New England

16

17

Green Bay

12

15

Philadelphia

8

12

Pittsburgh

8

12

Kansas City

8

11

Dallas

6

8

Cincinnati

5

8

San Francisco

4

6

Tennessee

4

8

L.A. Rams

4

6

Tampa Bay

4

5

Arizona

3

5

Buffalo

2

4

Las Vegas

1

3

Seven of this season’s 14 playoff teams have won at least one Super Bowl since 1999, capturing 14 of the past 22 Vince Lombardi Trophies. Those teams are the Patriots (XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX, XLIX, LI, LIII), Buccaneers (XXXVII, LV), Steelers (XL, XLIII), Packers (XLV), Chiefs (LIV), Eagles (LII) and Rams (XXXIV).

SUPER BOWL

SEASON

WINNER

XXXIV

1999

St. Louis Rams*

XXXV

2000

Baltimore Ravens

XXXVI

2001

New England Patriots*

XXXVII

2002

Tampa Bay Buccaneers*

XXXVIII

2003

New England Patriots*

XXXIX

2004

New England Patriots*

XL

2005

Pittsburgh Steelers*

XLI

2006

Indianapolis Colts

XLII

2007

New York Giants

XLIII

2008

Pittsburgh Steelers*

XLIV

2009

New Orleans Saints

XLV

2010

Green Bay Packers*

XLVI

2011

New York Giants

XLVII

2012

Baltimore Ravens

XLVIII

2013

Seattle Seahawks

XLIX

2014

New England Patriots*

50

2015

Denver Broncos

LI

2016

New England Patriots*

LII

2017

Philadelphia Eagles*

LIII

2018

New England Patriots*

LIV

2019

Kansas City Chiefs*

LV

2020

Tampa Bay Buccaneers*

*In 2021 postseason

The New England Patriots (.638), San Francisco 49ers (.604) and Green Bay Packers (.600) have the three highest postseason winning percentages in NFL history, while the Patriots (37 wins), Packers (36) and Pittsburgh Steelers (36) have the most postseason wins all-time.

The 14 playoff teams and their postseason records:

TEAM

WINS

LOSSES

PCT.

New England Patriots

37

21

.638

San Francisco 49ers

32

21

.604

Green Bay Packers

36

24

.600

Pittsburgh Steelers

36

26

.581

Las Vegas Raiders

25

19

.568

Dallas Cowboys

35

28

.556

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

10

9

.526

Philadelphia Eagles

23

23

.500

Buffalo Bills

16

18

.471

Los Angeles Rams

22

27

.449

Arizona Cardinals

7

9

.438

Tennessee Titans

17

22

.436

Kansas City Chiefs

15

20

.429

Cincinnati Bengals

5

14

.263

YOUTH & CONSISTENCY HIGHLIGHT THE PLAYOFF QUARTERBACKS

The 2021 postseason is filled with young stars on the rise and veterans at the top of their game at the quarterback position.

Six starting quarterbacks are under the age of 27 – Buffalo’s JOSH ALLEN (age 25), Cincinnati’s JOE BURROW (25), Philadelphia’s JALEN HURTS (23), New England’s MAC JONES (23), Kansas City’s PATRICK MAHOMES (26) and Arizona’s KYLER MURRAY (24). The only postseason with more was 2020 (seven).

Four quarterbacks have won at least one Super Bowl title, including three that have been named Super Bowl Most Valuable Player:

  • Tampa Bay quarterback TOM BRADY, who has a league-record seven Super Bowl titles after leading the Buccaneers to a Super Bowl LV title last season, led the NFL in passing yards (5,316) and passing touchdowns (43) as the Buccaneers earned their first NFC South division title since 2007. Brady is the postseason’s all-time leader in games played (45), passing yards (12,449) and touchdown passes (83) and has been named Super Bowl MVP five times, more than any player in league history.

  • Kansas City quarterback PATRICK MAHOMES ranked fourth in the NFL with 4,839 passing yards and tied for fourth with 37 touchdown passes to help the Chiefs earn their sixth consecutive AFC West Division title and fourth since he became the starting quarterback in 2018. In eight career postseason starts, he has 2,324 passing yards (290.5 per game) with 21 touchdowns (17 passing, four rushing) against four interceptions for a 100.4 rating and has led the Chiefs to consecutive Super Bowl appearances. During the 2019 season, Mahomes became the youngest quarterback to win Super Bowl MVP honors as Kansas City earned the Super Bowl LIV title.

  • Green Bay quarterback AARON RODGERS, who is expected to make his 21st career playoff start in the Divisional round, can tie Pro Football Hall of Famer JOHN ELWAY (21 starts) for the sixth-most in NFL history. Rodgers led the NFL with a 111.9 passer rating and became the fourth quarterback since 1970 to lead the league in the category in at least four different seasons. In 20 career postseason starts, he has 5,669 passing yards (283.4 per game) with 49 touchdowns (45 passing, four rushing) and 13 interceptions for a 100.5 rating. Rodgers earned Super Bowl MVP honors when he led the Packers to a Super Bowl XLV championship in 2010.

  • Pittsburgh quarterback BEN ROETHLISBERGER has 22 career postseason starts, the fifth-most in NFL history, and can tie Pro Football Hall of Famer JOE MONTANA (23 starts) for the fourth-most all by a quarterback. He has totaled 5,757 passing yards and 37 touchdowns (34 passing, three rushing) in the playoffs and led the Steelers to Super Bowl titles in 2005 (XL) and 2008 (XLIII). In 249 regular-season games, he ranks fifth all-time in passing yards (64,088) and eighth in touchdown passes (418).

    Five quarterbacks, including four age 25 or younger, are scheduled to make their playoff debuts:

  • Cincinnati quarterback JOE BURROW (age 25), the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, is slated to make his postseason debut on Super Wild Card Weekend. He finished the 2021 season ranked second in the NFL in passer rating (108.3), sixth in passing yards (4,611) and eighth in touchdown passes (34). In Week 16, Burrow recorded 525 passing yards, the fourth-most in a single game in NFL history.

  • Las Vegas quarterback DEREK CARR makes his playoff debut after ranking fifth in passing yards (career-high 4,804) during the 2021 regular season. He became the fourth player with at least 3,000 passing yards in each of his first eight seasons in NFL history and the fifth player to reach 30,000 passing yards (31,700) in his first eight seasons all-time.

  • Philadelphia quarterback JALEN HURTS (age 23), a second-round selection (No. 53 overall) in the 2020 NFL Draft, looks to make his playoff debut in the Wild Card round. He passed for 3,144 yards and 16 touchdowns in 15 games this season and led all quarterbacks in rushing yards (784) and rushing touchdowns (10). Hurts has five career games with at least two rushing touchdowns, the most by a quarterback in his first two seasons in the Super Bowl era.

  • New England rookie quarterback MAC JONES (age 23) makes his postseason debut after totaling 3,801 passing yards, 22 touchdown passes and a 92.5 rating in 17 starts, all the most among rookies this season. He completed at least 70 percent of his passes in nine games, tied for the most such games by a rookie quarterback all-time. Jones became the third rookie to win each of his first six road starts and the fourth rookie quarterback in the Super Bowl era to win seven consecutive starts (Weeks 7-13).

  • Arizona quarterback KYLER MURRAY (age 24), the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, makes his postseason debut after leading the Cardinals to their first playoff berth since 2015. Murray totaled 3,787 passing yards with 24 touchdowns and a 100.6 rating while adding 423 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns. He became the first player with at least 70 touchdown passes (70) and 20 rushing touchdowns (20) in his first three seasons all-time.

    Five starting quarterbacks will be making at least their second career postseason appearance:

  • Buffalo quarterback JOSH ALLEN, who led Buffalo to its second-consecutive AFC East division title, is expected to make his fifth-career postseason start. In his first four playoff starts, he has totaled 1,081 passing yards (270.3 per game) with five touchdowns against one interception for an 87.4 rating and added 237 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown. He also recorded a receiving touchdown in the 2019 Wild Card round. Allen has 103 touchdown passes and 31 rushing touchdowns since entering the NFL in 2018 and is the first player ever with at least 100 touchdown passes and 30 rushing touchdowns in his first four seasons.

  • San Francisco quarterback JIMMY GAROPPOLO is expected to make his fourth-career postseason start on Super Wild Card Weekend. He led the 49ers to a Super Bowl LIV appearance following the 2019 season. Garoppolo, who recorded 3,810 passing yards and 23 total touchdowns (20 passing, three rushing) in 15 starts this season, ranked third in the league with a 103.2 rating over the final 10 weeks of the regular season (Weeks 9-18).

  • Dallas quarterback DAK PRESCOTT makes his third trip to the postseason after leading Dallas to its first division title since 2018. In three career postseason starts, he has seven touchdowns (five passing, two rushing) with two interceptions and a 95.7 rating. Prescott ranked third in the league with a 104.2 passer rating this season and tied for fourth with a franchise-record 37 touchdown passes.

  • Los Angeles Rams quarterback MATTHEW STAFFORD makes his fourth-career postseason appearance and first with Los Angeles. He has at least 300 passing yards and a passer rating of 85-or-higher in two of his first three playoff starts, all of which occurred on the road. Stafford ranked second in touchdown passes (41), third in passing yards (4,886) and sixth in passer rating (102.9) this season.

  • Tennessee quarterback RYAN TANNEHILL is set to make his fifth-career postseason start when the Titans host their the Divisional playoff game after leading Tennessee to consecutive AFC South division titles. He recorded 3,734 passing yards and 21 touchdown passes in 2021 and is the only quarterback with at least seven rushing touchdowns in each of the past two seasons.

BEST NFL PLAYOFF PERFORMANCES

(Single postseason)

PASSING YARDS

PLAYER, TEAM

SEASON

COMP.

ATT.

YARDS

TD

INT

Eli Manning, New York Giants

2011

106

163

1,219

9

1

Kurt WarnerHOF, Arizona

2008

92

135

1,147

11

3

Joe Flacco, Baltimore

2012

73

126

1,140

11

0

Tom Brady, New England

2016

93

142

1,137

7

3

Tom Brady, New England

2017

89

139

1,132

8

0

RUSHING YARDS

PLAYER, TEAM

SEASON

ATT.

YARDS

TD

John RigginsHOF, Washington

1982

136

610

4

Terrell DavisHOF, Denver

1997

112

581

8

Terrell DavisHOF, Denver

1998

78

468

3

Marcus AllenHOF, Los Angeles Raiders

1983

58

466

4

Eddie George, Tennessee

1999

108

449

3

RECEIVING YARDS

PLAYER, TEAM

SEASON

REC.

YARDS

TD

Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona

2008

30

546

7

Hakeem Nicks, New York Giants

2011

28

444

4

Jerry RiceHOF, San Francisco

1988

21

409

6

Steve Smith, Sr., Carolina

2003

18

404

3

Charlie Brown, Washington

1983

14

401

1

RECEPTIONS

PLAYER, TEAM

SEASON

REC.

YARDS

TD

Travis Kelce, Kansas City

2020

31

360

3

Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona

2008

30

546

7

Hakeem Nicks, New York Giants

2011

28

444

4

Demaryius Thomas, Denver

2013

28

306

3

Steve Smith, Sr., Carolina

2005

27

335

3

Wes Welker, New England

2007

27

213

2

SCRIMMAGE TOUCHDOWNS

PLAYER, TEAM

SEASON

TOTAL TD

RUSH TD

REC. TD

Terrell DavisHOF, Denver

1997

8

8

0

Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona

2008

7

0

7

Larry CsonkaHOF, Miami

1973

6

6

0

Franco HarrisHOF, Pittsburgh

1974

6

6

0

Sony Michel, New England

2018

6

6

0

Jerry RiceHOF, San Francisco

1988

6

0

6

John RigginsHOF, Washington

1983

6

6

0

Gerald Riggs, Washington

1991

6

6

0

Emmitt SmithHOF, Dallas

1995

6

6

0

Ricky Watters, San Francisco

1993

6

6

0

Damien Williams, Kansas City

2019

6

4

2

For more from NFL Communication​s, visit NFLCommunications.com and follow @NFL345.

NFL PLAYOFFS KICK OFF WITH THREE DAYS OF SUPER WILD CARD ACTION, INCLUDING MONDAY NIGHT SHOWDOWN

Get ready for a three-day weekend unlike any other.

Super Wild Card Weekend begins with two games Saturday, continues with a tripleheader on Sunday and finishes with the debut of a Monday night Wild Card game.

The 2021 postseason kicks off Saturday on the heels of the most exciting regular season in NFL history. NFL teams combined to pack into the 2021 season:

  • 34 games that featured a winning score on the final play, the most ever;

  • 49 game-winning scores in the final minute of regulation or in overtime, tied for the most in a season all-time;

  • 57 game-winning scores in the final two minutes of regulation or in overtime, also tied for the most in NFL history.

Super Wild Card Weekend features steady, quality teams led by consistent veterans, and young and on-the-rise clubs guided by sensational newcomers.

Each of the last six NFL Drafts have contributed a starting quarterback to this weekend’s games: The Patriots’ MAC JONES (first round, 2021), the Bengals’ JOE BURROW (first round, 2020), the Eagles’ JALEN HURTS (second round, 2020), the Cardinals’ KYLER MURRAY (first round, 2019), the Bills’ JOSH ALLEN (first round, 2018), the Chiefs’ PATRICK MAHOMES (first round, 2017) and the Cowboys’ DAK PRESCOTT (fourth round, 2016),

And, with six starting quarterbacks not yet 27 years old, the 2021 playoff field is expected to tie for the second-most such quarterbacks in league history. Only the 2020 postseason, with seven, had more.

The weekend also features TOM BRADY guiding a Tampa Bay team challenging to snap the NFL’s 17-year stretch without a repeat Super Bowl champion, the longest streak in league history. Not since Brady and the Patriots won consecutive Super Bowl titles in 2003 and 2004 has an NFL team repeated as world champion.

SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles awaits. For 14 teams, the journey toward that dream continues this weekend.

The 14 teams in contention for the Vince Lombardi Trophy at Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles:

American Football Conference

National Football Conference

1.

Tennessee Titans (12-5), AFC South champion*

1.

Green Bay Packers (13-4), NFC North champion*

2.

Kansas City Chiefs (12-5), AFC West champion

2.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (13-4), NFC South champion

3.

Buffalo Bills (11-6), AFC East champion

3.

Dallas Cowboys (12-5), NFC East champion

4.

Cincinnati Bengals (10-7), AFC North champion

4.

Los Angeles Rams (12-5), NFC West champion

5.

Las Vegas Raiders (10-7)

5.

Arizona Cardinals (11-6)

6.

New England Patriots (10-7)

6.

San Francisco 49ers (10-7)

7.

Pittsburgh Steelers (9-7-1)

7.

Philadelphia Eagles (9-8)

*Earned conference’s only first-round bye

WILD-CARD SUPER BOWL WINNERS: The Buccaneers last year took their first postseason step toward an eventual Super Bowl title by winning a Wild Card game as a Wild Card team (non-division winner). Since the inception of Wild Card playoff entries in 1978, Tampa Bay became the seventh Wild Card team to win a Super Bowl. Will another Wild Card team playing this weekend join that group at Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles?

The seven Wild Card teams to win the Super Bowl:

WILD CARD TEAM

SEASON

OPPONENT

SUPER BOWL

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2020

Kansas City Chiefs

LV

Green Bay Packers

2010

Pittsburgh Steelers

XLV

New York Giants

2007

New England Patriots

XLI

Pittsburgh Steelers

2005

Seattle Seahawks

XL

Baltimore Ravens

2000

New York Giants

XXXV

Denver Broncos

1997

Green Bay Packers

XXXII

Oakland Raiders

1980

Philadelphia Eagles

XV

REMATCHES: Five of the six games on Super Wild Card Weekend are rematches of 2021 regular-season games. No other Wild Card round in league history has had as many rematches.

The five rematches in the Wild Card round of the 2021 playoffs:

WILD CARD GAME

IN REGULAR SEASON

Arizona at L.A. Rams

Cardinals, 37-20 (Week 4 at LAR); Rams, 30-23 (Week 14 at ARZ)

Las Vegas at Cincinnati

Bengals, 32-13 (Week 11, at LV)

New England at Buffalo

Patriots, 14-10 (Week 13 at BUF); Bills, 33-21 (Week 16 at NE)

Philadelphia at Tampa Bay

Buccaneers, 28-22 (Week 6, at PHI)

Pittsburgh at Kansas City

Chiefs, 36-10 (Week 16, at KC)

Don’t expect the team that won the regular-season matchup to automatically follow with a Wild Card win. Eight teams in the previous five years have rebounded from at least one regular-season loss against an opponent to avenge that loss with a win in the Wild Card round.

  • Last season alone, the BALTIMORE RAVENS knocked off Tennessee while the CLEVELAND BROWNS defeated Pittsburgh and the LOS ANGELES RAMS beat Seattle after each splitting their regular-season series.

ENCORE PERFORMANCES FOR MONDAY NIGHT WINNERS: The Rams host the Cardinals in the NFL’s first Monday postseason contest since the Rams lost to the Minnesota Vikings in a Wild Card game on Dec. 26, 1988. The winner of Monday’s game will have history on its side in the Divisional round.

  • During the 2021 regular season, teams that won on a Monday went 13-2-1 on the following Sunday.

  • Over a longer stretch, dating to Week 14 of the 2020 season, clubs that won a Monday game have gone 16-2-1 on the following Sunday.

WATCH OUT FOR ROAD TEAMS: The road club has won 10 of the last 14 NFL Wild Card games over the past three seasons, including four of the six Wild Card games last year. Since the 2017 playoffs, road teams are 12-6. And, in eight of the past nine seasons, at least one road team has won a Wild Card game.

A look at the six games on Super Wild Card Weekend:

LAS VEGAS RAIDERS (10-7) at CINCINNATI BENGALS (10-7)

Saturday, NBC/Peacock/Universo, 4:35 PM ET

  • Cincinnati has captured its first division title since 2015 and looks for its first postseason win since Jan. 6, 1991, when the Bengals won a Wild Card game over the Houston Oilers before traveling to the Los Angeles Coliseum, where they lost to the Raiders, 20-10, in the last postseason meeting between the clubs.

  • This season, Bengals head coach ZAC TAYLOR guided a team that became the first in NFL history with a 4,000-yard passer (JOE BURROW), a 1,000-yard rusher (JOE MIXON) and two 1,000-yard receivers (JA’MARR CHASE and TEE HIGGINS) all under the age of 26 in the same season. Chase and Higgins, who are each under the age of 23, became the youngest pair of 1,000-yard receivers in NFL annals.

  • Burrow makes his postseason debut after setting single-season franchise records with 4,611 passing yards and 34 touchdown passes and ranking second in the NFL with a 108.3 passer rating.

  • Chase led the AFC with 1,455 receiving yards, the most by a rookie in the Super Bowl era.

  • Mixon finished third in the league with a career-best 1,205 rushing yards. He joined AUSTIN EKELER and JONATHAN TAYLOR as the only players with at least 1,500 scrimmage yards and 15 touchdowns (16) this season.

  • Cincinnati also had the fifth-stingiest rushing defense in the NFL (102.5 rushing yards per game).

  • Bengals defensive end TREY HENDRICKSON is one of two NFL players with 13-or-more sacks in each of the past two seasons, joining T.J. WATT.

  • Raiders head coach RICH BISACCIA and quarterback DEREK CARR have led the franchise to its first postseason appearance since 2016 and the first since the team moved to Las Vegas.

  • Carr, who was injured and could not play in the team’s last postseason game, is expected to make his postseason debut after ranking fifth in the NFL with a franchise-record 4,804 yards this season. Carr is one of four quarterbacks in league history with at least 3,000 passing yards in each of his first eight seasons.

  • Las Vegas wide receiver HUNTER RENFROW led the team with career bests in receptions (103), receiving yards (1,038) and touchdown catches (nine), joining Pro Football Hall of Famer TIM BROWN (104 in 1997) as the only wide receivers in franchise history to reach 100 catches in a season.

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (10-7) at BUFFALO BILLS (11-6)

Saturday, CBS/Paramount +, 8:15 PM ET      

  • Buffalo and New England will meet for a third time in 2021, having split the regular-season series. The road team has won each of the past three meetings.

  • On defense, the Bills (17.0 points allowed per game) and the Patriots (17.8) ranked first and second, respectively, in the NFL. Each team also had 30 takeaways this season, tied for third in the NFL.

  • The Patriots secured their 11th postseason berth in the past 12 seasons. Head coach BILL BELICHICK has 31 postseason wins in 43 postseason games as a head coach, both the most in NFL history.

  • New England’s MAC JONES became the first rookie quarterback to lead his team to the playoffs since DAK PRESCOTT in 2016. Jones led all rookies this season in completion percentage (67.6), passing yards (3,801), touchdown passes (22) and passer rating (92.5). He is bidding to become just the fourth rookie quarterback since 2000 and first since RUSSELL WILSON in 2012 to go on the road and win his first NFL postseason start.

  • The Patriots ranked second in the league with 24 rushing touchdowns this season, including 15 rushing touchdowns from running back DAMIEN HARRIS, tied for the second-most in the NFL this season.

  • New England defensive back J.C. JACKSON led the NFL with a career-high 23 passes defensed, including eight interceptions. Jackson, who has 25 career interceptions, became the fourth player in the Super Bowl era to record 25-or-more interceptions in his first four seasons.

  • Buffalo’s SEAN MCDERMOTT has led the Bills to playoff appearances in four of his five seasons as an NFL head coach, including consecutive AFC East titles, the team’s first division crowns since 1995. His 2021 club was the only team in the NFL to finish in the top five in both total offense (381.9 yards per game, fifth) and total defense (272.8 yards allowed per game, first).

  • Bills quarterback JOSH ALLEN became the first player in franchise history to pass for 4,000 yards in consecutive seasons. With six rushing touchdowns this season, he also became the first quarterback ever with six-or-more rushing touchdowns in each of his first four seasons.

  • Buffalo wide receiver STEFON DIGGS is one of two NFL players with 1,000-or-more receiving yards and at least six touchdown catches in each of the past four seasons, joining MIKE EVANS.

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (9-8) at TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (13-4)

Sunday, FOX/FOX Deportes, 1:05 PM ET

  • Answering the team’s first Super Bowl victory since 2002, Tampa Bay won its division for the first time since 2007. The Buccaneers are bidding to become the first team since the 2004 Patriots and the eighth overall to repeat as Super Bowl champions.

  • Under head coach BRUCE ARIANS, who owns a 5-2 career postseason record, the Buccaneers in 2021 ranked second among NFL teams in both scoring offense (30.1 points per game) and total offense (405.9 yards per game), and led the NFC by allowing only 92.5 rushing yards per game on defense.

  • Reigning Super Bowl MVP TOM BRADY paced the NFL in passing touchdowns (43) and passing yards (career-high 5,316, the third-most passing yards in a season in NFL history). His 485 completions this year were a single-season NFL record. Brady this season joined DREW BREES as one of two players all-time with multiple 5,000-yard passing seasons, and joined AARON RODGERS as one of two quarterbacks ever with three seasons of 40-or-more touchdown passes.

  • Buccaneers wide receiver MIKE EVANS, who ranked second in the NFL with 14 receiving touchdowns in 2021, became the first player in NFL history to reach 1,000 yards in each of his first eight seasons.

  • First-year head coach NICK SIRIANNI returned the Eagles to the playoffs. Philadelphia has now advanced to the postseason in four of the past five years, including a Super Bowl LII title in 2017.

  • In 2021, no other team had more rushing yards than the Eagles (159.7 yards per game). Philadelphia became the first team since the 1985 CHICAGO BEARS to record at least 175 rushing yards in seven consecutive games (Week 8-15 this season).

  • Eagles quarterback JALEN HURTS makes his playoff debut after leading NFL quarterbacks with 784 rushing yards and 10 rushing touchdowns in 2021. His five career games with two-or-more rushing touchdowns are the most by a quarterback in his first two NFL seasons during the Super Bowl era.

  • Wide receiver DEVONTA SMITH established the Eagles’ rookie franchise record with 916 receiving yards.

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (10-7) at DALLAS COWBOYS (12-5)

Sunday, CBS/Paramount+/Nickelodeon/Amazon Prime Video, 4:40 PM ET

  • Pittsburgh clinched its second straight postseason berth. The Steelers are seeking their first playoff win since beating the Chiefs, 18-16, at Arrowhead Stadium in the 2016 Divisional Playoffs.

  • MIKE TOMLIN has guided Pittsburgh to a .500-or-better record in each of his 15 seasons as an NFL head coach (2007-21) and makes his 10th postseason appearance at the reins of the franchise.

  • Kansas City extended its streak of AFC West division titles to six (2016-21). In Week 18, the Chiefs’ ANDY REID became just the fifth head coach in NFL history to reach 250 career wins. Including the postseason, Reid is 250-150-1 (.625) in 23 seasons.

  • Steelers quarterback BEN ROETHLISBERGER is expected to make his 23rd career postseason start and tie Pro Football Hall of Famer JOE MONTANA for the fourth-most by a quarterback in NFL history. Roethlisberger has at least 450 passing yards and four-or-more touchdown passes in each of his last two postseason starts.

  • Pittsburgh running back NAJEE HARRIS led NFL rookies with 1,667 scrimmage yards (1,200 rushing, 467 receiving) this season.

  • Steelers linebacker T.J. WATT had 22.5 sacks and matched the single-season NFL record held by Pro Football Hall of Famer MICHAEL STRAHAN (2001).

  • Chiefs quarterback PATRICK MAHOMES, who has a 100.4 passer rating in eight career postseason games, ranked fourth in the NFL with 4,839 passing yards and tied for fourth with 37 touchdown passes this season.

  • Kansas City’s TRAVIS KELCE became the first tight end ever with to top 1,000 receiving yards in six NFL seasons, and also the first ever at his position to reach 80 receptions in six consecutive years.

  • Wide receiver TYREEK HILL led the Chiefs and ranked third in the NFL with a career-best 111 receptions.

PITTSBURGH STEELERS (9-7-1) at KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (12-5)

Sunday, NBC/Telemundo/Peacock, 8:15 PM ET

  • Pittsburgh clinched its second straight postseason berth. The Steelers are seeking their first playoff win since beating the Chiefs, 18-16, at Arrowhead Stadium in the 2016 Divisional Playoffs.

  • MIKE TOMLIN has guided Pittsburgh to a .500-or-better record in each of his 15 seasons as an NFL head coach (2007-21) and makes his 10th postseason appearance at the reins of the franchise.

  • Kansas City extended its streak of AFC West division titles to six (2016-21). The Chiefs’ ANDY REID last week became just the fifth head coach in NFL history to reach 250 career wins. Including the postseason, Reid is 250-150-1 (.625) in 23 seasons.

  • Steelers quarterback BEN ROETHLISBERGER is expected to make his 23rd career postseason start and tie Pro Football Hall of Famer JOE MONTANA for the fourth-most by a quarterback in NFL history. Roethlisberger has at least 450 passing yards and four-or-more touchdown passes in each of his last two postseason starts.

  • Pittsburgh running back NAJEE HARRIS led NFL rookies with 1,667 scrimmage yards (1,200 rushing, 467 receiving) this season.

  • Steelers linebacker T.J. WATT had 22.5 sacks and matched the single-season NFL record held by Pro Football Hall of Famer MICHAEL STRAHAN (2001).

  • Chiefs quarterback PATRICK MAHOMES, who has a 100.4 passer rating in eight career postseason games, ranked fourth in the NFL with 4,839 passing yards and tied for fourth with 37 touchdown passes this season.

  • Kansas City’s PATRICK KELCE became the first tight end ever with to top 1,000 receiving yards in six NFL seasons, and also the first ever at his position to reach 80 receptions in six consecutive years.

  • Wide receiver TYREEK HILL led the Chiefs and ranked third in the NFL with a career-best 111 receptions.

ARIZONA CARDINALS (11-6) at LOS ANGELES RAMS (12-5)

Monday, ESPN/ABC/ESPN2/ESPN+/ESPN Deportes, 8:15 PM ET    

  • The Rams make their fourth trip to the playoffs in six seasons since returning to Los Angeles in 2016.

  • Under head coach SEAN MCVAY (2017-21), the Rams clinched their third NFC West title and fourth playoff berth.

  • Rams wide receiver COOPER KUPP led the NFL in receptions (145), receiving yards (1,947) and receiving touchdowns (16) in 2021, becoming the fourth player since the league merger in 1970 to lead the league in all three categories. His 145 receptions and 1,947 receiving yards were each the second-most by a player in a season all-time.

  • Los Angeles quarterback MATTHEW STAFFORD finished second in the league with 41 touchdown passes and third with 4,886 passing yards in 2021.

  • Defensive lineman AARON DONALD led the Rams with 12.5 sacks this season and became the fourth player since 1982, when the individual sack became an official NFL statistic, to record at least eight sacks in each of his first eight NFL seasons.

  • Arizona makes its first playoff appearance since advancing to the NFC Championship Game in 2015. Head coach KLIFF KINGSBURY and quarterback KYLER MURRAY make their postseason debuts.

  • The Cardinals in 2021 became one of just three teams ever to win seven consecutive road games, each by double digits, including a 37-20 triumph over the Rams at SoFi Stadium in Week 4.

  • Murray, who has 70 career touchdown passes and 20 career rushing touchdowns, became the first quarterback in NFL history to reach those two marks in his first three NFL seasons. He also distinguished himself as the only quarterback in league annals to reach 3,500 passing yards, and 400 rushing yards in each of his first three NFL seasons.

  • Arizona running back JAMES CONNER ranked third in the NFL with a career-high 18 touchdowns (15 rushing, three receiving). In each of the Cardinals’ two games against the Rams in 2021, Conner had two rushing touchdowns.

What To Look For – Super Wild Card Weekend

MORE TEAMS, MORE GAMES, MORE WILD: The addition of a third Wild Card team in each conference and the subsequent expansion of the playoffs last year has resulted in a Super Wild Card Weekend of NFL action. For the second consecutive season, there will be six games, with two on Saturday, January 15, three on Sunday, January 16, and for the first time since 1988, an NFL postseason game will be played on a Monday (January 17).

Seven of the 12 teams in action this weekend are new to the postseason in 2021, having missed the playoffs a year ago: ARIZONA, CINCINNATI, DALLAS, LAS VEGAS, NEW ENGLAND, PHILADELPHIA and SAN FRANCISCO. Two of those teams – Cincinnati (AFC North) and Dallas (NFC East) – won their divisions.

Since 1990, at least four teams every season have qualified for the playoffs after failing to make the postseason the year before. Additionally, at least two teams have won their divisions the season after missing the playoffs in 18 of the past 19 years, including 2021.

Each of the 12 teams playing this weekend hope to earn their first of four wins needed to capture the Lombardi Trophy. Winners in the Wild Card round have won the Super Bowl 10 times, including the TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS last season.

The Wild Card round participants to win the Super Bowl:

SEASON

TEAM

SUPER BOWL RESULT

1980

Oakland Raiders

Defeated Philadelphia in Super Bowl XV, 27-10

1997

Denver Broncos

Defeated Green Bay in Super Bowl XXXII, 31-24

2000

Baltimore Ravens

Defeated New York Giants in Super Bowl XXXV, 34-7

2005

Pittsburgh Steelers

Defeated Seattle in Super Bowl XL, 21-10

2006

Indianapolis Colts*

Defeated Chicago in Super Bowl XLI, 29-17

2007

New York Giants

Defeated New England in Super Bowl XLII, 17-14

2010

Green Bay Packers

Defeated Pittsburgh in Super Bowl XLV, 31-25

2011

New York Giants*

Defeated New England in Super Bowl XLVI, 21-17

2012

Baltimore Ravens*

Defeated San Francisco in Super Bowl XLVII, 34-31

2020

Tampa Bay

Defeated Kansas City in Super Bowl LV, 31-9

*Won division

SUPER WILD CARD WEEKEND

POSTSEASON ALL-TIME LEADING PASSERS: Three of the top seven most prolific postseason quarterbacks are a part of the 2021 playoff field vying for the Super Bowl LVI title.

Tampa Bay quarterback TOM BRADY enters the 2021 postseason as the league’s all-time playoff leader in games started by a quarterback (45), wins by a starting quarterback (34), passing yards (12,449), touchdown passes (83), Super Bowl titles (seven) and Super Bowl MVPs (five). He led the Buccaneers to the Super Bowl LV title last season and joined Pro Football Hall of Famer PEYTON MANNING as the only starting quarterbacks to win Super Bowls with multiple franchises.

Green Bay quarterback AARON RODGERS, who will make his 2021 playoff debut in the NFC Divisional playoffs, ranks tied for second in postseason touchdown passes (45), sixth in postseason passing yards (5,669) and seventh in postseason games started (20) among quarterbacks all-time.

Pittsburgh quarterback BEN ROETHLISBERGER enters the 2021 postseason ranking fifth all-time in passing yards (5,757), fifth in quarterback starts (22) and seventh in touchdown passes (34) in playoff history.

This postseason, both Rodgers and Roethlisberger can surpass Pro Football Hall of Famers BRETT FAVRE (5,855 passing yards, third-most) and JOE MONTANA (5,772, fourth-most) on the all-time postseason passing yards list.

With a Pittsburgh victory against Kansas City on Sunday night (8:15 PM ET, NBC/Peacock/Telemundo), Roethlisberger would tie Pro Football Hall of Famers TERRY BRADSHAW (14 wins), JOHN ELWAY (14) and PEYTON MANNING (14) for the third-most playoff wins by a starting quarterback in NFL history.

The quarterbacks with the most career postseason passing yards in NFL history:

PLAYER

TEAM(S)

PASSING YARDS

Tom Brady*

New England, Tampa Bay

12,449

Peyton ManningHOF

Indianapolis, Denver

7,339

Brett FavreHOF

Green Bay, Minnesota

5,855

Joe MontanaHOF

San Francisco, Kansas City

5,772

Ben Roethlisberger*

Pittsburgh

5,757

Aaron Rodgers*

Green Bay

5,669

*Active in 2021 postseason

The quarterbacks with the most career postseason passing touchdowns in NFL history:

PLAYER

TEAM(S)

PASSING TOUCHDOWNS

Tom Brady*

New England, Tampa Bay

83

Joe MontanaHOF

San Francisco, Kansas City

45

Aaron Rodgers*

Green Bay

45

Brett FavreHOF

Green Bay, Minnesota

44

Peyton ManningHOF

Indianapolis, Denver

40

Drew Brees

San Diego Chargers, New Orleans

37

Ben Roethlisberger*

Pittsburgh

34

*Active in 2021 postseason

The quarterbacks with the most career postseason starts in NFL history:

PLAYER

TEAM(S)

POSTSEASON STARTS

Tom Brady*

New England, Tampa Bay

45

Peyton ManningHOF

Indianapolis, Denver

27

Brett FavreHOF

Green Bay, Minnesota

24

Joe MontanaHOF

San Francisco, Kansas City

23

Ben Roethlisberger*

Pittsburgh

22

John ElwayHOF

Denver

21

Aaron Rodgers*

Green Bay

20

*Active in 2021 postseason

SUPER WILD CARD WEEKEND

CHAMPS ARE HERE: The TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS enter the 2021 postseason aiming to become the first team to repeat as Super Bowl champions since New England in 2004. Last year, they became the first team in NFL history to score at least 30 points in four consecutive playoff games within a single postseason in route to a Super Bowl LV championship.

If Tampa Bay scores at least 30 points against Philadelphia on Sunday (1:05 PM ET, FOX/FOX Deportes), it will become the third team ever to score at least 30 points in five-or-more consecutive postseason games.

The teams to score at least 30 points in the most consecutive postseason games in NFL history:

TEAM

GAMES (DATES)

New Orleans Saints

6 (Jan. 16, 2010 – Jan. 14, 2012)

Kansas City Chiefs

5 (Jan. 12, 2019 – Feb. 2, 2020)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

4* (Jan. 9, 2021 – Feb. 7, 2021)

*Active streak

 

Tampa Bay running back LEONARD FOURNETTE totaled 448 scrimmage yards (112 per game) in the Buccaneers’ four playoff games last year and scored a touchdown in each contest. Going back to his 2017 postseason with Jacksonville, Fournette has scored a touchdown in six consecutive playoff games.

With a touchdown against Philadelphia, Fournette would become the sixth running back all-time to score a touchdown in seven-or-more consecutive postseason games.

The running backs with the most consecutive postseason games with a touchdown in NFL history:

PLAYER

TEAM(S)

GAMES (DATES)

Thurman ThomasHOF

Buffalo

9 (Jan. 17, 1993 – Jan. 2, 1999)

Emmitt SmithHOF

Dallas

8 (Jan. 23, 1994 – Dec. 28, 1996)

Marcus AllenHOF

L.A. Raiders

7 (Jan. 8, 1983 – Jan. 5, 1986)

Terrell DavisHOF

Denver

7 (Jan. 4, 1997 – Jan. 17, 1999)

John RigginsHOF

Washington

7 (Jan. 15, 1983 – Dec. 30, 1984)

Leonard Fournette

Jacksonville, Tampa Bay

6* (Jan. 14, 2018 – Feb. 7, 2021)

*Active streak

 

 

SUPER WILD CARD WEEKEND

KANSAS CITY STARS: The KANSAS CITY CHIEFS enter the 2021 postseason aiming to become the fourth team ever to advance to three consecutive Super Bowls, joining Miami (1971-73), Buffalo (1990-93) and New England (2016-18).

Quarterback PATRICK MAHOMES is expected to make his ninth-career postseason start, having surpassed 250 passing yards in each of his previous eight playoff starts. With at least 250 passing yards against Pittsburgh on Sunday night (8:15 PM ET, NBC/Telemundo/Peacock), Mahomes will tie DREW BREES (nine consecutive games from Feb. 7, 2010 to Jan. 13, 2019) for the second-most consecutive postseason games with at least 250 passing yards NFL history. Only TOM BRADY (12 from Feb. 1, 2015 to Feb. 3, 2019) has more.

The players with at least 250 passing yards in the most consecutive postseason games in NFL history:

PLAYER

TEAM

CONSECUTIVE GAMES

Tom Brady

New England

12 (Feb. 1, 2015 – Feb. 3, 2019)

Drew Brees

New Orleans

9 (Feb. 7, 2010 – Jan. 13, 2019)

Patrick Mahomes

Kansas City

8* (Jan. 12, 2019 – Feb. 7, 2021)

*Active streak

Mahomes has guided the Chiefs to a playoff win each of the past three years and with a victory on Sunday night will become the fourth quarterback ever to win at least one postseason game in four of his first five seasons, joining JOE FLACCO, DONOVAN MCNABB and RUSSELL WILSON.

Mahomes could also become the sixth quarterback with at least one victory in each of his first four postseason appearances.

Tight end TRAVIS KELCE surpassed 100 receiving yards in each of Kansas City’s three playoff games last season and can join ANTONIO BROWN (four consecutive games from Jan. 3, 2015 to Jan. 15, 2017) and LARRY FITZGERALD (four consecutive games from Jan. 3, 2009 to Feb. 1, 2009) as the only players ever to record at least 100 receiving yards in four consecutive postseason games.

In his career, Kelce has recorded at least 100 receiving yards in six postseason games, tied for the second-most ever. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer JERRY RICE (eight games) has more.

The players with the most 100-yard receiving games in NFL postseason history:

PLAYER

TEAM(S)

GAMES WITH 100+ REC. YARDS

Jerry RiceHOF

San Francisco, Oakland Raiders

8

Julian Edelman

New England

6

Michael IrvinHOF

Dallas

6

Travis Kelce

Kansas City

6

Kelce also recorded at least 10 receptions in both the AFC Championship Game and Super Bowl LV last year and can become the first player ever to register at least 10 catches in three consecutive postseason games and the first player in postseason history to record four games with at least 10 receptions.

Kelce has 992 receiving yards in 12 career postseason games and can join ROB GRONKOWSKI (1,273 receiving yards) as the only tight ends with at least 1,000 receiving yards in postseason history.

SUPER WILD CARD WEEKEND

TOP OF THE CHARTS: The BUFFALO BILLS finished the regular season with the top-ranked scoring defense (17.0 points per game allowed), while the NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS ranked second (17.8 points per game allowed).

After splitting their regular-season series, the teams will meet for a third time on Saturday night in Buffalo (8:15 PM ET, CBS/Paramount+). Since 2000, this will mark the sixth postseason matchup to feature the top-two scoring defenses.

The playoff games to feature the top-two scoring defenses since 2000:

NO. 1 DEFENSE

NO. 2 DEFENSE

SEASON

ROUND

RESULT

Buffalo

New England

2021

AFC Wild Card

???

Pittsburgh

Green Bay

2010

Super Bowl XLV

GB 31, PIT 25

Pittsburgh

New England

2004

AFC Championship

 NE 41, PIT 27

Tampa Bay

Philadelphia

2002

NFC Championship

TB 27, PHI 10

Chicago

Philadelphia

2001

NFC Divisional

PHI 33, CHI 19

Baltimore

Tennessee

2000

AFC Divisional

BAL 24, TEN 10

If New England rookie quarterback MAC JONES makes the start on Saturday, he would become the third rookie quarterback to start a playoff game against the top-ranked scoring defense in the Super Bowl era, joining JOE FLACCO (2008 AFC Championship Game) and ROBERT GRIFFIN III (2012 NFC Wild Card round).

The rookie quarterbacks to start a postseason game against the top-ranked scoring defense in the Super Bowl era:

ROOKIE QB

TEAM

SEASON

ROUND

OPPONENT

RESULT

Mac Jones*

New England

2021

AFC Wild Card

at Buffalo

???

Robert Griffin III

Washington

2012

NFC Wild Card

Seattle

SEA 24, WAS 14

Joe Flacco

Baltimore

2008

AFC Championship

at Pittsburgh

PIT 23, BAL 14

*Expected to start

The Bills led the league in point differential (+194) while the Patriots ranked third (+159). The meeting between Buffalo and New England marks the first Wild Card game since 1978 and third postseason game since 1970 to occur in the first round of the playoffs to feature two teams that each had a +150-point differential.

The first-round playoff meetings between clubs each with a +150-point differential since 1970:

HOME TEAM

AWAY TEAM

SEASON

ROUND

RESULT

Buffalo (+194)

New England (+159)

2021

AFC Wild Card

???

Baltimore Colts (+171)

Pittsburgh (+204)

1976

AFC Divisional

PIT 40, BAL 14

Dallas (+179)

L.A. Rams (+210)

1973

NFC Divisional

DAL 27, LAR 16


SUPER WILD CARD WEEKEND

MONDAY NIGHT HISTORY: When the LOS ANGELES RAMS host the ARIZONA CARDINALS on Monday night, (8:15 PM ET, (ESPN/ABC/ESPN2/ESPN+/ESPN Deportes), it will mark the fifth postseason game played on a Monday in the Super Bowl era and first since the 1988 season. Each of the previous three games have also featured the Rams.

The Monday playoff games in the Super Bowl era:

ROUND

DATE

GAME

RESULT

2021 NFC Wild Card

Jan. 17, 2022

Arizona at L.A. Rams

???

1988 NFC Wild Card

Dec. 26, 1988

L.A. Rams at Minnesota

MIN 28, LAR 17

1983 NFC Wild Card

Dec. 26, 1983

L.A. Rams at Dallas

LAR 24, DAL 17

1977 NFC Divisional

Dec. 26, 1977

Minnesota at L.A. Rams

MIN 14, LAR 7

1977 NFC Divisional

Dec, 26, 1977

Chicago at Dallas

DAL 37, CHI 7

Each team enters the game with a starting quarterback that was selected No. 1 overall in the NFL Draft. Arizona’s KYLER MURRAY was selected first overall in 2019 and Los Angeles’ MATTHEW STAFFORD was chosen with the first pick by Detroit in 2009. Monday’s meeting will mark the fourth-ever first-round playoff game featuring two starting quarterbacks each selected No. 1 overall in the NFL Draft.

The first-round postseason games featuring two starting quarterbacks each selected No. 1 overall in the NFL Draft:

DATE

GAME

QUARTERBACKS (DRAFT YEARS)

RESULT

Jan. 17, 2022

Arizona at L.A. Rams

Kyler Murray (2019) & Matthew Stafford (2009)

???

Jan. 4, 2014

Kansas City at Indianapolis

Alex Smith (2005) & Andrew Luck (2012)

IND 45, KC 44

Jan. 9, 2000

Dallas at Minnesota

Troy AikmanHOF (1989) & Jeff George (1990)

MIN 27, DAL 10

Jan. 1, 1995

New England at Cleveland

Drew Bledsoe (1993) & Vinny Testaverde (1987)

CLE 20, NE 13

Stafford will be making his fourth-career postseason start (first with Los Angeles), while Murray will be making his postseason debut. With a victory, Murray would become the fourth quarterback that was selected No. 1 overall in the NFL Draft to win his first career postseason start since 2000.

The quarterbacks selected No. 1 overall in the NFL Draft to win their first career postseason start since 2000:

PLAYER (DRAFT YEAR)

TEAM

FIRST POSTSEASON START

Baker Mayfield (2018)

Cleveland

2020 AFC Wild Card at Pittsburgh

Alex Smith (2005)

San Francisco

2011 NFC Divisional vs. New Orleans

Michael Vick (2000)

Atlanta

2002 NFC Wild Card at Green Bay

With Arizona’s KLIFF KINGSBURY (42 years old) and Los Angeles’ SEAN MCVAY (35), Monday’s game will also feature the fourth-youngest combined age between two opposing head coaches in a postseason game since 1970.

The youngest combined age of head coaches in postseason games since 1970:

ROUND

GAME

COACHES

COMBINED AGE

1970 Divisional

Miami at Oakland Raiders

Don ShulaHOF & John MaddenHOF

75 years, 253 days

2020 Divisional

L.A. Rams at Green Bay

Sean McVay & Matt LaFleur

76 years, 67 days

1972 Divisional

Oakland Raiders at Pittsburgh

John MaddenHOF & Chuck NollHOF

77 years, 245 days

2021 Wild Card

Arizona at L.A. Rams

Kliff Kingsbury & Sean McVay

78 years, 154 days

Arizona running back JAMES CONNER rushed for two touchdowns in each of the two meetings against the Rams this season. With two rushing touchdowns on Monday, he would become the first player ever to record two rushing touchdowns against one team, three times in a single season.

SUPER WILD CARD WEEKEND

HEY, ROOKIE: Several top rookies from the 2021 season are expected to make their postseason debuts this weekend.

New England quarterback MAC JONES led all rookies in completion percentage (67.6), passing yards (3,801), touchdown passes (22) and passer rating (92.5). He is bidding to become just the fourth rookie quarterback since 2000 and first since RUSSELL WILSON in 2012 to go on the road and win his first NFL postseason start.

Jones became the third rookie quarterback to ever win six regular-season road games, joining DAK PRESCOTT (2016) and BEN ROETHLISBERGER (2004). With a victory at Buffalo on Saturday night (8:15 PM ET, CBS, Paramount+), Jones would join JOE FLACCO (seven road wins in 2008) as the only rookie quarterbacks ever to win seven road games, including the postseason.

Jones surpassed 250 passing yards in seven games this season, the most among all rookies.

The rookies with the most passing yards ever in their first career postseason start:

PLAYER

TEAM

 ROUND

PASSING YARDS

Dak Prescott

Dallas

 2016 NFC Divisional vs. Green Bay

302

Andrew Luck

Indianapolis

 2012 AFC Wild Card at Baltimore

288

Andy Dalton

Cincinnati

 2011 AFC Wild Card at Houston

257

Cincinnati wide receiver JA’MARR CHASE is making his postseason debut against Las Vegas on Saturday afternoon (4:35 PM ET, NBC/Peacock/Universo). Chase ranked fourth in the NFL with 1,455 receiving yards this season, the most-ever by a rookie in the Super Bowl era.

He surpassed 100 receiving yards in five games and became the first rookie ever and the fifth player in the Super Bowl era to record multiple games with at least 200 receiving yards in a single season. Philadelphia’s DEVONTA SMITH (935 receiving yards this season) is also expected to make his postseason debut this weekend at Tampa Bay.

The rookies with the most receiving yards ever in their first career postseason game:

PLAYER

TEAM

 ROUND

RECEIVING YARDS

DK Metcalf

Seattle

 2019 NFC Wild Card at Philadelphia

160

Jeremy Maclin

Philadelphia

 2009 NFC Wild Card at Dallas

146

Keith Jackson

Philadelphia

 1988 NFC Divisional at Chicago

142

Pittsburgh running back NAJEE HARRIS is making his postseason debut on Sunday night at Kansas City (8:15 PM ET, NBC/Telemundo/Peacock). During the regular season, Harris led all rookies and ranked fourth in the league with 1,667 scrimmage yards (1,200 rushing, 467 receiving). He surpassed 100 scrimmage yards in nine games, including in Week 16 against the Chiefs (110 scrimmage yards).

The rookies with the most scrimmage yards ever in their first career postseason game:

PLAYER

TEAM

 ROUND

SCRIMMAGE YARDS

Billy Cannon

Houston Oilers

 1960 AFL Championship

178

Cam Akers

L.A. Rams

 2020 NFC Wild Card at Seattle

176

Paul Lowe

L.A. Chargers

 1960 AFL Championship

170

San Francisco rookie running back ELIJAH MITCHELL (963 rushing yards this season) and New England rookie running back RHAMONDRE STEVENSON (606) are also each expected to make their postseason debuts this weekend. In last year’s postseason, Los Angeles Rams running back CAM AKERS (131 rushing yards against Seattle in the Wild Card round) was the only rookie to surpass 100 rushing yards in a game.

SUPER WILD CARD WEEKEND

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