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NFL Playoff Bracket 2021: TV Schedule and Super Bowl Predictions

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistJanuary 7, 2021

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes looks to pass during the second half of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons Sunday, Dec. 27, 2020, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

The 2020-21 NFL postseason is a bit different in the fact that 14 teams are in the dance this year. Under the new expanded playoff system, only the AFC and NFC's No. 1 seed will receive first-round byes as well. One thing will remain the same, though. Only two teams will make it to Super Bowl LV on February 7.

The field will be whittled down to its traditional eight-team bracket for the divisional round, as six games will be played on Wild Card Weekend. Three games will be played on Saturday and three more on Sunday.

Here, we'll take a look at the full postseason schedule, along with viewing information where available and predictions for the final contestants. Let's dig in.

          

Wild Card Weekend

Saturday, January 9

Indianapolis Colts at Buffalo Bills

1:05 p.m. ET on CBS, CBS Sports

Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks

4:40 p.m. ET on Fox, Fox Sports Go

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Washington Football Team

8:15 p.m. ET on NBC, NBC Sports

           

Sunday, January 10

Baltimore Ravens at Tennessee Titans

1:05 p.m. ET on ABC, ESPN, ESPN App

Chicago Bears at New Orleans Saints

4:40 p.m. ET on CBS, Nickelodeon, CBS Sports, Amazon

Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers

8:15 p.m. ET on NBC, NBC Sports

*Kansas City Chiefs and Green Bay Packers on bye

        

Divisional Round

Saturday, January 16

Games TBD

    

Sunday, January 17

Games TBD

    

Championship Round

Sunday, January 24

NFC vs. NFC

3:05 p.m. ET on Fox, Fox Sports Go

AFC vs. AFC

6:40 p.m. ET on CBS, CBS Sports

    

Super Bowl LV

Sunday, February 7

AFC vs. NFC

6:30 p.m. ET on CBS, CBS Sports

     

Predictions

Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

A few sneaky teams could make it through the lower seed and into the conference championship games, much like the Tennessee Titans did last season.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers could be that team in the NFC. They have started to click offensively in recent weeks. They have a dominant run defense, a strong pass rush, and of course, a first-ballot Hall of Famer in Tom Brady at quarterback.

In the AFC, the hottest wild-card team might be the Baltimore Ravens. They finished the season on a five-game winning streak and have seen the return to MVP form from quarterback Lamar Jackson during that span.

Jackson and the Ravens are eager to end their trend of exiting the postseason early.

"Definitely trying to erase that narrative right there," he said, per ESPN's Jamison Hensley. "That's the No. 1 [goal] right there on my mind."

It wouldn't be a total shock to see the Cleveland Browns emerge from the wild-card round either, as the Pittsburgh Steelers have played extremely poorly offensively over the past month. However, the Browns are short-handed due to COVID-19 protocols and will be without head coach Kevin Stefanski.

If the Browns somehow make it past the Steelers, they're not making it past the Buffalo Bills or the Kansas City Chiefs—perhaps the two best teams in the NFL right now.

Buffalo can give the defending champion Chiefs a hard time in the playoffs. Josh Allen is playing like an MVP quarterback and can go toe-to-toe against Patrick Mahomes. One of these two teams will likely have to face Baltimore in the divisional round, but a Bills-Chiefs AFC Championship Game would be a lot of fun.

The New Orleans Saints and Seattle Seahawks are both viable contenders in the NFC, along with Tampa Bay. However, the Green Bay Packers are playing the best brand of football in the conference right now. Packers quarterback Aaron Rogers is probably your 2020 NFL MVP.

In an interesting twist, we could end up seeing two cold-weather teams facing off in sunny Florida in February.

Super Bowl Prediction: Green Bay Packers over Buffalo Bills  

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