Saturday, Jan. 13
4:35 p.m. ET, NBC
Atlanta Falcons (10-6, 5-3 road) at Philadelphia Eagles (13-3, 7-1 home)
The sixth-seeded Falcons are the early favorites against the top-seeded Eagles. It makes sense when one considers that the Eagles will be without star quarterback Carson Wentz, who tore his ACL in Week 14. In Wentz’s place, Nick Foles will make his second career playoff start. His first playoff action came during the 2013 season, when he completed 23 of 33 passes for 195 yards and two touchdowns in a 26-24 loss to New Orleans.
Meanwhile, Atlanta is surging after knocking out the Los Angeles Rams in the wild-card round. The Falcons are led by quarterback Matt Ryan, who passed for 4,095 yards and 20 touchdowns during the regular season. Atlanta is looking to return to the NFC Championship Game for the second season in a row.
8:15 p.m. ET, CBS
Tennessee Titans (9-7, 3-5 road) at New England Patriots (13-3, 6-2 home)
The top-seeded Patriots have endured plenty of distractions in the past couple weeks as reports have suggested a rift between owner Robert Kraft, coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady. Another report out of New York suggested that Belichick might leave New England at the end this season to coach the Giants. The rumors will take a back seat, at least for a few hours, when the Patriots open their playoff season in search of a sixth Super Bowl title.
The Titans showed that they can thrive under pressure as they rallied for an improbable 22-21 road win over the Kansas City Chiefs during the wild-card round. The win provided job security for coach Mike Mularkey, whose future was clarified this week when he received a vote of confidence from team ownership.
Sunday, Jan. 14
1:05 p.m. ET, CBS
Jacksonville Jaguars (10-6, 4-4 away) at Pittsburgh Steelers (13-3, 6-2 home)
The Steelers hope to return to the AFC Championship Game for the second year in a row under coach Mike Tomlin. Pittsburgh closed the season with 10 wins in its final 11 games, and its only loss came against the New England Patriots after a controversial call took away a touchdown from Steelers tight end Jesse James.
Jacksonville is one of only three teams that beat the Steelers during the regular season. On Oct. 8, the Jaguars pounded Pittsburgh for a 30-9 win at Heinz Field behind 181 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns by rookie running back Leonard Fournette. The Jaguars picked off Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger five times.
4:40 p.m. ET, FOX
New Orleans Saints (11-5, 4-4 away) at Minnesota Vikings (13-3, 7-1 home)
The Vikings are looking for their first playoff victory in eight years. They will have an opportunity to do so in front of a raucous crowd at U.S. Bank Stadium, where the team lost one game by a touchdown this season while winning the other seven. Quarterback Case Keenum (3,547 passing yards, 22 touchdowns, 7 interceptions) will be the key for the Vikings as they try to move on to the NFC Championship Game.
New Orleans knocked out the Carolina Panthers in the wild-card round and will face the Vikings for the second time this season. The two teams met in Minnesota for the season opener on Sept. 11, when the Vikings held on for a 29-19 win. Saints running backs Mark Ingram (6 carries, 17 yards) and Alvin Kamara (7 carries, 18 yards) were non-factors in that game and will have to provide much more of an impact this time around for the Saints to advance.
–Previews for Digital Sports Desk by Field Level Media