The second season in the NFL begins on Saturday, Jan. 4. After 17 weeks of regular-season action, 12 teams remain with a chance to play in Super Bowl XLVIII in MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
The Carolina Panthers, Seattle Seahawks, New England Patriots and Denver Broncos earned first-round byes. Each team will be awaiting the winners of Wild Card Weekend in the divisional round of the playoffs.
Both the AFC and NFC will have one Wild Card Game on tap on Saturday and Sunday. Saturday's games will be broadcast by NBC. On Sunday, CBS will air the AFC clash and Fox will handle the NFC tilt.
Here's a schedule breakdown.
Here's a closer look at each matchup.
Kansas City Chiefs (11-5) at Indianapolis Colts (11-5)
The Colts defeated the Chiefs 23-7 in Week 16 behind a dominating effort from its defense. Indy forced four turnovers and limited the Chiefs to a 12.5-percent conversion rate on third down.
Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles did have 144 all-purpose yards in the loss, but Alex Smith was sacked five times and threw an interception.
Kansas City has failed every major test it has had this season. It was swept by the San Diego Chargers and Denver Broncos and lost to the Colts. The only game the Chiefs won over a team in the playoffs came against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 3.
This is not an elite team, and the Colts will defeat them again to advance.
New Orleans Saints (11-5) at Philadelphia Eagles (10-6)
Philly is playing well, and its much-maligned defense has only given up 33 points in the last two games. That said, this is still the team with the 32nd-ranked pass defense in the NFL.
Heading into a game against Drew Brees and the Saints, it is hard to favor the Eagles—even at home. This should be a shootout for sure. In that type of game, Brees is the smart pick over Eagles quarterback Nick Foles.
San Diego Chargers (9-7) at Cincinnati Bengals (11-5)
Cincy won a hard-fought Week 13 clash at Qualcomm Stadium, 17-10. The teams were evenly matched, but the Bengals forced three turnovers, made a few more key stops and rode the Andy Dalton-to-A.J. Green connection.
Green had five catches for 83 yards. He caught a 21-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter that gave the Bengals control of the game.
Even a red-hot Chargers team that has won four games in a row will find it hard winning in Cincinnati. The Bengals are one of only three teams in the NFL that are undefeated at home. In fact, they have won their last five home games by an average of 24 points.
Cincinnati will move on with a win over the 'Bolts.
San Francisco 49ers (12-4) at Green Bay Packers (8-7-1)
The Niners took the regular-season opener at Candlestick Park, 34-28. Colin Kaepernick had his best day of the season with 412 passing yards and three touchdown passes. San Francisco hadn't quite hit its stride defensively, but the 49ers were still able to pull out a close victory to kick off the season.
The Niners are the hottest team in the NFL at the right time. They enter the playoffs on a six-game win streak and playing the best football of any team. The Packers had to eek out a close win against a Chicago Bears team torn apart by injury in Week 17.
San Francisco will pound the Packers' 25th-ranked run defense and take the Lambeau faithful out of the game early.
The Niners will win this one and march into the next round.
Odds per Covers.com
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