The NFL is touting this as the super Wild Card weekend because there will be six games for the second year in a row and this time will include a Monday night game.
This format was created by adding a seventh team in each conference and having only one bye team. Problem is, the two seventh seeds – Pittsburgh and Philadelphia – don’t look too super and both are big underdogs.
The Steelers and Eagles are the only playoff teams that didn’t win at least 10 games. Last year, Chicago made it with an 8-8 record but easily beaten by New Orleans, 21-9.
The NFL will make money off the two extra games but they aren’t likely to be attractions for the fans.
Pittsburgh lost to Kansas City 36-10 in the regular season, even though the Chiefs sat on the lead in the second half when Patrick Mahomes threw just five passes. This game figures to be another rout and not exactly the kind of farewell the Steelers would like for Ben Roethlisberger.
Philadelphia lost to Tampa Bay 28-22 at home in the regular season but this time they are facing Tom Brady in the playoffs on the road. It will be rainy in Tampa this week, but it may stop before the 1 p.m. Sunday kickoff and not be a major factor.
The weather will be a factor in Buffalo, where the Bills will host the Patriots Saturday night. The NFL scheduled this game in prime time in sub-freezing weather instead of during the day because they think it will be a ratings attraction.
But the Patriots are limping into the playoffs with three losses in their last four games. The Pats did win in Buffalo during the season on a windy night when Mac Jones threw just three passes, but that is not likely to be a successful formular again.
The other three games – Cincinnati hosting Las Vegas on Saturday afternoon, Dallas hosting San Francisco on Sunday afternoon and the Rams hosting Arizona Monday night – figure to be close games. They are the best attractions this weekend.
The big question is whether all three home teams will win and knock out the wild card teams.
If that happens and all six division winners post victories, the Titans host the Bengals and the Packers host the Rams after the two home teams got first round byes.