Saturday, Jan. 9
4:30 p.m. ET - No. 5 New York Jets @ No. 4 Cincinnati Bengals
8:00 p.m. ET - No. 6 Philadelphia Eagles @ No. 3 Dallas Cowboys
Sunday, Jan. 10
1:00 p.m. ET - No. 6 Baltimore Ravens @ No. 3 New England Patriots
4:40 p.m. ET - No. 5 Green Bay Packers @ No. 4 Arizona Cardinals
The NFL re-seeds their playoff teams in the second round, so their is no determining who will play who in the Divisional Playoffs until the weekend is completely over. A couple scenarios are certain: In the NFC, if Dallas beats Philadelphia, they will play Minnesota no matter what, and if Philadelphia beats Dallas, they will play New Orleans no matter what.
The same thing goes in the AFC, if Baltimore beats New England, they will play Indianapolis, and if New England beats Baltimore, they will play San Diego.
So realistically, the Vikings or Saints will have one extra day of preparation with Dallas playing Philadelphia on Saturday night. The advantage could be considered none because the team they are playing will have some preparation work done for them. They know if they win they can only play one team. That gives them a chance to be a little more prepared for that situation. Either way, the advantage is minimal.
Who is the favorite in the NFC?
The Minnesota Vikings would have to be considered the favorite after ensuring they will play zero games outdoors until the Super Bowl.
They have not lost a game at home on their field turf, and if they do have to travel, it will be to New Orleans. Both buildings have very similar field turf unlike the four fields Minnesota lost on (Arizona, Carolina, Pittsburgh, and Chicago).
Who is the favorite in the AFC?
The Indianapolis Colts are the AFC favorite even though they lost their last two games. Peyton Manning knew exactly what he was doing. He got his work in and so did his biggest threats. They knew exactly what their goal was and that ends in February.
They are too good of a team to just get rusty and lose to Baltimore, New York, or Cincinnati. If any of those three teams have a chance, it would have to be Baltimore based on their play in the postseason last year.
It's crazy that I keep reiterating this, but the Minnesota Vikings are the favorites to win the Super Bowl. Remember this, they are 0-4 in Super Bowls, and they have not played in one since the 1970s.
Fans in Minnesota are still devastated after 1998's loss to Atlanta at home in Randy Moss' rookie year. They still could have lost to the John Elway led Broncos, but that's not how they think of it in the Twin Cities. They blame Denny Green for taking a knee, and Gary Anderson for missing his first field goal of the year.
If Minnesota makes it to the Super Bowl, it will be two of the most speculative and fun weeks in Minneapolis-Saint Paul.
It really is weird saying that it all comes down to Brett Favre. I am from Saint Paul but have never been a Vikings fan in my lifetime. As a bystander to the whole Brett Favre rivalry my entire life, it is amazing how many people believe Favre is taking them to the Super Bowl.
Minnesotans are believing. This time I think they are believing for the right reasons, but yes but, if Brett Favre is not protected and they play the Cowboys in the Divisional Playoffs, this all could come crashing down so quickly.
The key to them making the Super Bowl is going to be Anthony Herrera pulling his head out of you-know-where and Bryant McKinnie staying balanced and playing like the Pro-Bowler he is. DeMarcus Ware could have a lot to say about that.
The Saints just don't have that Super Bowl feel after their three-game collapse and the close calls they had been winning all season. It's going to come down to Minnesota, Dallas, or Philadelphia.