NFL Playoff Schedule 2019: Wild-Card Matchups, Bracket Dates and Start Times

Nate Loop@Nate_LoopFeatured ColumnistDecember 31, 2018

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - DECEMBER 30: Quarterback Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens reacts as he runs for a touchdown in the first quarter against the Cleveland Browns at M&T Bank Stadium on December 30, 2018 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The final afternoon of the 2018 regular season came to a stunning close, as the Baltimore Ravens narrowly held on to the AFC North crown with a 26-24 win over the Cleveland Browns, preventing the Pittsburgh Steelers from stealing their playoff spot.

Led by rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield, the Browns almost pulled off an improbable comeback, but C.J. Mosley ended the threat with an interception in the dying minutes. Here's the play, via the NFL:

The Steelers could have won the division after beating the Cincinnati Bengals 16-13 in the afternoon window but are now all but eliminated from playoff contention.

Over in the NFC, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles added to his growing legend in Week 17, throwing for two touchdowns and at one point completing 25 straight passes en route to a 24-0 win over Washington. The completion streak tied an NFL record set earlier this season, per Fox Sports:

The clutch victory combined with the Minnesota Vikings' loss to the Chicago Bears allowed the Eagles to force their way into the postseason after starting the day on the outside looking in.

Heading into the final day of the regular season, the entire AFC playoff picture had the potential to be rearranged, with no seed locked up. Over in the NFC, things were simpler, with the New Orleans Saints and Dallas Cowboys locked into the first and fourth seeds, respectively.

All the scores are settled now. Here's what the wild-card round looks like.

     

2019 NFL Wild-Card Matchups

AFC

No. 6 Indianapolis Colts at No. 3 Houston Texans (Saturday, January 5, 4:35 p.m. ET, ESPN/ABC)

No. 5 Los Angeles Chargers at No. 4 Baltimore Ravens (Sunday, January 6, 1:05 p.m. ET, CBS)

     

NFC

No. 5 Seattle Seahawks at No. 4 Dallas Cowboys (Saturday, January 5, 8:15 p.m. ET, Fox)

No. 6 Philadelphia Eagles at No. 3 Chicago Bears (Sunday, January 6, 4:40 p.m. ET, NBC)

     

Patrick Mahomes made history in Week 17, throwing for his 50th touchdown pass of the season in a 35-3 win over the Oakland Raiders that helped the Kansas City Chiefs secure the No. 1 seed in the AFC.

The Chiefs had to battle throughout the game to hold on to their top-seed status. The New England Patriots had won earlier in the day (wrapping up a first-round bye), and the Los Angeles Chargers were in contention against the Denver Broncos. The Bolts ended up winning 23-9, but the Chiefs' win kept them from escaping the wild card. All they have to show for a 12-win season is a road date with the Ravens, who beat the Chargers 22-10 in Week 16.

Elsewhere, the Los Angeles Rams secured the No. 2 seed with a 48-32 win over the San Francisco 49ers. The Bears had a chance to get a first-round bye but will instead have to settle for playing the defending-champion Eagles in the wild-card round. The Seattle Seahawks had to work hard to beat the Arizona Cardinals and lock in the No. 5 seed. 

In the Sunday night game, the Indianapolis Colts held on to the No. 6 seed by defeating the Tennessee Titans 33-17. The Titans were a long shot without starting quarterback Marcus Mariota, who was rule out with a stinger per the team's official Twitter account. Blaine Gabbert filled in as signal-caller, and a strong defensive effort helped keep the team close through three quarters. It all fell apart in the final frame, as Gabbert threw two interceptions, allowing the Colts to wrap up the win.

Mark Zaleski/Associated Press

This year's wild-card round features an exciting crop of young quarterbacks going up against established pros. Rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson turned the Ravens' fortunes around with his running ability and command of the option game. Chicago's Mitch Trubitsky and Deshaun Watson are getting their first cracks at the playoffs as well in their sophomore seasons. Third-year pro Dak Prescott will be playing in his second career postseason game.

All four of the young signal-callers can count on excellent defenses to help bail them out of any trouble. It's quite possible the divisional round will feature the youth movement, though battle-tested pros like Philip Rivers, Russell Wilson, Andrew Luck and Foles will be looking to stop that from happening.

Where to Watch: All NFL playoff games, studio shows and more are available through fuboTV.

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