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March 4, 2024

NFL Playoff Schedule Set for Divisional Round After Exciting Wild Card Weekend

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Jan 15, 2024

The 2024 NFL playoffs are headed to the divisional round after a thrilling wild card weekend that saw some major upsets. The league has now announced the schedule and broadcast information for the upcoming divisional round.

Recapping This Past Weekend’s Wild Card Action

Wild card weekend began with big road upsets by the Houston Texans over the Cleveland Browns and the Miami Dolphins over the Kansas City Chiefs. The Detroit Lions then fell to the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday, before the Dallas Cowboys closed things out with a win over the Green Bay Packers.

The Dolphins and Texans victories marked two of the biggest wild card upsets ever. According to ESPN, Miami’s win over Kansas City was the third-biggest playoff upset since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger judging by the point spread.

Meanwhile, over in the NFC, many expected fireworks from Aaron Rodgers in what could be his last game in Green Bay. But the Cowboys’ defense had other ideas, holding Rodgers to just 217 passing yards and no touchdowns. Dallas now moves on to face the conference’s #1 seed San Francisco 49ers.

Who’s Left in the Playoff Field?

With wild card weekend in the books, eight teams remain in the hunt for the Lombardi Trophy. Here’s how the playoff bracket shakes out heading into the divisional round:

AFC NFC
1. Buffalo Bills 1. San Francisco 49ers
2. Cincinnati Bengals 2. Philadelphia Eagles
6. Miami Dolphins 5. Dallas Cowboys
5. Houston Texans 3. Minnesota Vikings

The top two seeds in each conference earned first-round byes after standout regular seasons. The Bills and Eagles were both considered among the Super Bowl favorites entering the playoffs.

Most surprising is the absence of recent AFC titans like the Chiefs and Ravens. Meanwhile this is the first time both Texas teams have reached the divisional round since 2011.

Over in the NFC, this year marks Dallas’ first playoff appearance without longtime starter Dak Prescott since he took over in 2016. And the Vikings capitalized on a weak NFC North to snag the #3 seed.

Looking Ahead to Next Weekend

With tickets for the next round now punched, the league has officially announced the divisional playoff schedule:

Saturday January 21st

Away Team Home Team Start Time / TV
AFC: (5) Texans (1) Bills 1:05pm CT / NBC
NFC: (6) Cowboys (1) 49ers 5:15pm CT / FOX

The playoffs kick off on Saturday with Houston’s cinderella story seeing its toughest test yet against Josh Allen’s Bills. Buffalo is currently 7.5 point favorites at home.

Later, in the primetime matchup, everyone expects fireworks when two of the NFC’s top attacks clash. The 49ers defense held Dallas to just 12 points back in Week 15.

Sunday January 22nd

Away Team Home Team Start Time / TV
AFC: (6) Dolphins (2) Bengals 1:05pm CT / CBS
NFC: (5) Cowboys (2) Eagles 5:15pm CT / FOX

Sunday features another pair of competitive matchups. Surprise team Miami travels to play last year’s AFC champs.

Then Jalen Hurts and the Eagles look to avenge a Week 16 home loss to the NFC East rival Cowboys. Philadelphia opens as a 4.5 point favorite.

Wild Finish Sets Up Clash of AFC’s New Guard

What stands out about the final eight is a changing of the guard in the AFC. For the first time since 2003, longtime staples New England and Pittsburgh failed to make the playoffs.

And now Kansas City and Baltimore are out after just one game. That leaves the door open for fresh new contenders like Buffalo, Cincinnati and yes, even Miami.

The Dolphins and Bills could be on a collision course to face off in a frigid AFC Championship game in Buffalo. Assuming the favorites hold serve next weekend, that January 29th matchup would pit teacher vs student with former Bills OC Brian Daboll coaching against his old boss Sean McDermott.

We’d see rising superstars Josh Allen and Tua Tagovailoa battle it out for a trip to the Super Bowl. And the game would feature a showdown between two rebuilt teams proving rebuilds don’t have to take long in today’s NFL.

What we know for sure is the AFC playoff field no longer goes through Arrowhead Stadium or Foxborough. A new decade brings new challengers like Joe Burrow, Josh Allen and Yes, even Skylar Thompson.

One thing doesn’t change though – only one team can emerge. And the journey continues next weekend.

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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