TEXAS, Sporting Alert – Following Sunday’s final set of NFL regular season games, here is a quick look at this year’s NFL playoff picture, which gets going with the AFC wild card round this weekend.
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After the difficult trip to get to this stage, teams will now be looking to make it worthwhile, starting with those wild card matchups this coming Saturday.
AFC Wild Card Match
Texans v Chiefs at NRG Stadium
Live TV Channel: ESPN/ABC
At 4:35 ET on Saturday, Jan. 9
No. 5 Kansas City Chiefs at No. 4 Houston Texans: No one saw them reaching this far, but it happened and now they want more. The Chiefs (11-5) started the season with a win over these same Texans in Week 1, but dropped the next five games and looked like a sure bet to miss the playoffs.
However, as we can see, they have made it. Andy Reid’s team survived, despite the injury problems, which forced several adjustments. This was thanks in large to a 10-game winning streak to close out the regular season.
Houston (9-7) also had a shaky start to the campaign — losing four of the first five games before using mini streaks to haul themselves back into the conversation. Strong defense and a four-game winning streak in the middle of the term helped, while the three-game winning run to close out the season, as well as some external help from other games, helped them to clinch an AFC wild card spot.
The Texans won the AFC South division and have one of the toughest defenses in the NFL.
Last time Houston hosted a playoff game was in the 2012 term when they beat the Bengals 19-13 in the AFC wild card round.
Bengals v Steelers at Paul Brown Stadium
Live TV Channel: CBS
At 8:15 ET on Saturday, Jan. 9
No. 6 Pittsburgh Steelers at No. 3 Cincinnati Bengals: After splitting their regular-season matchups 1-1, these two teams will get a third chance to break the tie to see which one will have the bragging rights at the end of the campaign. In the previous two meetings this season AFC North division, the Cincinnati had a 16-10 win on Nov. 1, but Pittsburgh returned the favor 33-20 on the road on Dec. 13.
The Steelers (10-6) clinched an AFC wild card spot after beating the Cleveland Browns 28-12 in Sunday’s Week 17 final fixtures and the New York Jets went down to the Buffalo Bills. Pittsburgh also won four of its last five games and six of the last eight to earn this spot.
The Bengals (12-4) opened the season with an 8-0 start, which set the tone for a playoff spot, but they will be disappointed at how the second part of their season went.
Nevertheless, they are in the playoffs and will be looking to end their postseason struggles. When it lines up for this AFC wild card game on Saturday, Cincinnati will try to avoid an eighth straight playoff loss.