For a era of soccer followers, early January has meant the beginning of the N.F.L. playoffs. This 12 months, because of the expanded, 17-game common season, the postseason slate gained’t be locked in till the tip of the second weekend of 2022, the place 5 A.F.C. groups will battle for the 2 remaining berths and the San Francisco 49ers have to win towards the Los Angeles Rams for the ultimate spot within the N.F.C.
What occurred on Saturday
The 2 video games accomplished on Saturday went in keeping with seed, protecting the winners alive for larger playoff seeding. Kansas Metropolis, which beat the Denver Broncos, stored itself within the operating for the highest seed within the A.F.C. and a first-round bye, and ended any long-shot likelihood that New England or Cincinnati would possibly take the No. 1 seed for themselves.
However Kansas Metropolis wants the Tennessee Titans (11-5) to lose to the Houston Texans (4-12) Sunday, for the reason that Titans maintain the head-to-head benefit after beating the Chiefs of their Week 7 matchup.
The late recreation between the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles was principally meaningless — and lifeless, for the reason that Eagles rested Jalen Hurts, the beginning quarterback, and had a raft of Covid-19-related absences — however will assist decide each groups’ seeding within the N.F.C.
Sunday’s early video games
Among the many early video games beginning at 1 p.m. Jap time, the Titans can sew up the No. 1 seed within the A.F.C. in the event that they beat the lowly Texans (CBS). That might wipe out Kansas Metropolis’s hopes for the highest seed and the first-round bye.
2021 N.F.L. Season Information and Evaluation
The Indianapolis Colts (9-7) can clinch one of many two remaining A.F.C. wild-card berths in the event that they beat the Jacksonville Jaguars (2-14), one of many league’s worst groups (CBS). In the event that they do, it can shut the door on the playoffs for each the Baltimore Ravens (8-8) and the Pittsburgh Steelers (8-7-1), who play one another on CBS. (The Steelers can get into the playoffs with a win and a Colts loss; the Ravens would want a win, a Colts loss and a few extra assist.)
The Cincinnati Bengals (10-6) have already gained the A.F.C. North, however with Kansas Metropolis’s win on Saturday, their recreation towards the Cleveland Browns (7-9) on Fox can now not assist their pursuit of the No. 1 seed.
Sunday’s late afternoon video games
The Buffalo Payments (10-6) and New England Patriots (10-6) each have secured a playoff spot, and are battling for the A.F.C. East crown, which will drastically have an effect on their seeding. Each groups play beginning at 4:25 p.m. Jap, with the Payments going through the Jets (4-12) on CBS and the Patriots touring to Miami to play the Dolphins (8-8), additionally on CBS.
To win the N.F.C. West, the Arizona Cardinals (11-5) should beat the Seattle Seahawks (6-10) on Fox and hope that the Los Angeles Rams (12-4) lose to the San Francisco 49ers (9-7), additionally on Fox. If the Rams win, they take the division title.
The late afternoon video games will settle who secures the final wild-card berth within the N.F.C. The 49ers will make the postseason in the event that they beat the Rams or if the New Orleans Saints (8-8) lose to the Atlanta Falcons (7-9) on Fox. The Saints would sneak into the playoffs with a win and if the 49ers lose.
Sunday’s prime-time recreation
The final recreation of the common season, kicking off at 8:20 p.m. Jap on NBC, may have explicit consequence: The winner of the matchup between the Los Angeles Chargers (9-7) and Las Vegas Raiders (9-7) will safe the final wild-card berth. The Raiders have a slender path of final resort in the event that they lose: They might additionally get in if the Colts and Steelers each lose.