It’s super, it’s wild, it’s super wild card weekend.
The NFL’s first Week 18 foray turned out to be a pretty eventful one: The Jaguars beat the Colts, eliminating Indy from the dance, while the Raiders-Chargers “Sunday Night Football” matchup came oh so close to a tie.
With the playoff picture now set, the second year of a 14-team tournament is underway, and presumably here to stay. There are a number of intriguing matchups to kick off the weekend, which is now spread over three days.
The NFL playoffs are here. Here’s what you need to know heading into this weekend:
NFL playoff bracket 2022
As with 2021, there’s a 14-team playoff field this year. Here’s how they’re seeded and their opening weekend matchup:
- Tennessee Titans (1, Bye)
- Kansas City Chiefs (2) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (7)
- Buffalo Bills (3) vs. New England Patriots (6)
- Cincinnati Bengals (4) vs. Las Vegas Raiders (5)
- Green Bay Packers (1, Bye)
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2) vs. Philadelphia Eagles (7)
- Dallas Cowboys (3) vs. San Francisco 49ers (6)
- Los Angeles Rams (4) vs. Arizona Cardinals (5)
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NFL wild-card matchups
Kansas City Chiefs (No. 2 seed, 12-5) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (No. 7 seed, 9-7-1)
The Steelers needed the help of the Jaguars (what an NFL world we live in) to have a shot to make it to the playoffs, and goodness gracious, the Jags did it. Now, Mike Tomlin and the Steelers have an opportunity to send Ben Roethlisberger out into the sunset. It won’t be an easy task, as they face the Chiefs, who were 9-1 in their last eight regular season games.
Buffalo Bills (No. 3 seed, 11-6) vs. New England Patriots (No. 6 seed, 11-6)
Welcome to the dance, Mac Jones. The Patriots and the Bills went down to the wire for the AFC East, and after a sloppy, gross game vs. the Jets, the Bills ultimatley emerged with the division. Now, in an AFC East rubber match, the Patriots get an opportunity to get even with the Bills and render their division victory null.
Cincinnati Bengals (No. 4 seed, 10-7) vs. Las Vegas Raiders (No. 5 seed, 10-7)
The job that Raiders interim head coach Rich Bisaccia has done is admirable. Coming down to overtime in Week 18 vs. the division-rival Chargers, the Raiders took home the win and punched their ticket to the playoffs in spite of a tremendously trying season, for various reasons. They face no slouch with the Bengals and their high-powered offense, anchored by Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase.
Tampa Bay Buccaneeers (No. 2 seed, 13-4) vs. Philadelphia Eagles (No. 7 seed, 9-8)
Expect the expected — and the unexpected. Everyone thought the Buccaneers, running it back after their Super Bowl 55 win, would make the playoffs. Not many expected that Jalen Hurts, Nick Sirianni and the Eagles would make the playoffs. But that’s what happened, and now Hurts has an opportunity to continue to prove to Philly brass that he can be the passer of the future.
Dallas Cowboys (No. 3 seed, 12-5) vs. San Francisco 49ers (No. 6 seed, 10-7)
Time to jump in the way-back machine: The Cowboys and the 49ers meeting in the playoffs is something ripped straight from the ’80s and ’90s but with a modern twist. Reports of Kyle Shanahan’s demise have been greatly exaggerated: The 49ers did what they had to do and held off the Rams in the final game of their season, finishing 7-3 over their last 10 in total.
Los Angeles Rams (No. 4 seed, 12-5) vs. Arizona Cardinals (No. 5 seed, 11-6)
The Cardinals stumbled into the playoffs, going 2-4 since their Bye Week to finish the season, ultimately handing the NFC West to the Rams. Now, the two teams meet in a rubber match for their 2021 series, but this time, the stakes are much, much higher.
NFL wild-card TV schedule
Unlike 2021, this year’s super wild-card weekend isn’t split into two days of triple-headers: Rather, the NFL has a Monday night playoff matchup, with the Cardinals and Rams capping the opening weekend of the 2021 playoffs.
Here’s the complete schedule for this weekend’s games:
Saturday, Jan. 15
|Bengals 26, Raiders 19||4:35 p.m. ET||NBC/Peacock|
|Patriots vs. Bills||8:15 p.m. ET||CBS/Paramount+|
Sunday, Jan. 16
|Buccaneers vs. Eagles||1 p.m. ET||Fox|
|Cowboys vs. 49ers||4:30 p.m. ET||CBS/Nickelodeon/Paramount+|
|Chiefs vs. Steelers||8:15 p.m. ET||NBC/Peacock|
Monday, Jan. 17
|Rams vs. Cardinals||8:15 p.m. ET||ESPN/ABC|
NFL playoff bracket, seeds 2022
|1.||Tennessee Titans||12-5||AFC South champion|
|2.||Kansas City Chiefs||12-5||AFC West champion|
|3.||Buffalo Bills||11-6||AFC East champion|
|4.||Cincinnati Bengals||10-7||AFC North champion|
|5.||Las Vegas Raiders||10-7||Wild card|
|6.||New England Patriots||10-7||Wild card|
|7.||Pittsburgh Steelers||9-7-1||Wild card|
|1.||Green Bay Packers||13-4||NFC North champion|
|2.||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||13-4||NFC South champion|
|3.||Dallas Cowboys||12-5||NFC East champion|
|4.||Los Angeles Rams||12-5||NFC West champion|
|5.||Arizona Cardinals||11-6||Wild card|
|6.||San Francisco 49ers||10-7||Wild card|
|7.||Philadelphia Eagles||9-8||Wild card|