NEW YORK – The NFL playoffs will begin this Saturday with one wild-card team in each conference traveling to face a division champion. The NFL postseason kicks off when the Oakland Raiders (12-4) go to Houston to face the AFC South champion Texans (9-7) at 4:35 p.m. ET (ESPN). That game will be followed by the Detroit Lions (9-7) visiting the NFC West champion Seattle Seahawks (10-5-1) at 8:15 p.m. ET (NBC).
The wild-card round continues Sunday with the Miami Dolphins (10-6) traveling to Pittsburgh to face the AFC North champion Steelers at 1:05 p.m. ET (CBS) and concludes with the New York Giants (11-5) visiting the NFC North champion Green Bay Packers at 4:40 p.m. ET (Fox).
The playoff field was set on Sunday night when the Packers beat the Lions 31-24 in the NFL’s regular-season finale at Ford Field in Detroit.
The Raiders will make their first playoff appearance since 2002, but they will be without quarterback Derek Carr (broken leg). The status of his backup, Matt McGloin, also is in question after he suffered a shoulder injury in Sunday’s loss to the Denver Broncos. That leaves rookie Connor Cook to possibly make his first start in a playoff game.
The Lions, who travel to Seattle, fell into an NFC wild-card spot after the loss to the Packers. Detroit dropped its last three games but still made the field.
Like the Raiders, the Dolphins will be missing a franchise quarterback for their game against the Steelers. Ryan Tannehill is sidelined with a knee injury. Matt Moore has stepped in, but Miami faces a tall order against Pittsburgh, which finished the regular season with an overtime win over the Cleveland Browns.
The Giants, who entered the final weekend of the regular season with a playoff berth already secured, knocked out the Washington Redskins with a 19-10 victory. They’ll be facing a hot Packers team that rebounded from a 4-6 start behind quarterback Aaron Rodgers to win their final six games.
The AFC East champion New England Patriots (14-2), AFC West champion Kansas City Chiefs (12-4), NFC East champion Dallas Cowboys (13-3) and NFC South champion Atlanta Falcons (11-5) have byes the first weekend.
The divisional round will be played Jan. 14-15 and the conference championship games on Jan. 22. The Super Bowl is Feb. 5 at NRG Stadium in Houston.