NFL Playoff Bracket 2022: Updated Picture, Schedule After Saturday's Wild Card

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistJanuary 16, 2022

CINCINNATI, OHIO - JANUARY 15: Quarterback Joe Burrow #9 of the Cincinnati Bengals drops back to pass against the Las Vegas Raiders in the third quarter of the AFC Wild Card playoff game at Paul Brown Stadium on January 15, 2022 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The NFL's Super Wild Card Weekend kicked off with quite a bang. The Cincinnati Bengals and the Buffalo Bills picked up wins in an all-AFC evening of activity.

The Bengals' win was particularly noteworthy, as it snapped a 31-year franchise drought of postseason victories. The Las Vegas Raiders, who scratched and clawed their way into the postseason, proved to be a worthy opponent and came close to sending the game into overtime.

Cincinnati prevailed, though, and proved that it is going to be a force in the AFC's race to Super Bowl LVI.

Field Yates @FieldYates

The longest playoff drought in the NFL is over: the Bengals have won their first playoff game in 31 years. Go text a friend about it.

The Bills didn't have as much trouble with the rival New England Patriots. Buffalo scored seven touchdowns on its first seven possessions to roll to a 47-17 victory.

It marked the third meeting between Buffalo and New England, who split their regular-season series. Like Cincinnati, Buffalo is on to the divisional round.


Saturday Results and Recap

Cincinnati Bengals 26, Las Vegas Raiders 19

The Bengals set the tone for this one in the first half, answering Las Vegas' opening-drive field goal with a seven-yard touchdown pass from Joe Burrow to tight end C.J. Uzomah. A Trey Hendrickson strip-sack of Derek Carr on the ensuing possession led to a Bengals field goal and a touchdown lead that Cincinnati would never relinquish.

The Raiders never came closer than seven points the rest of the way, which forced them to play catch-up throughout the game. This was a problem because the ground game was working for Las Vegas.

Raiders running back Josh Jacobs averaged 6.4 yards per carry for the game.

While the Raiders ground game hummed along, so did Burrow and the Bengals passing game. Burrow was on fire in the first half, and his connection with rookie wideout Ja'Marr Chase worked throughout the contest.

Field Yates @FieldYates

The longest playoff drought in the NFL is over: the Bengals have won their first playoff game in 31 years. Go text a friend about it.

Chase finished his first playoff game with nine catches, 116 receiving yards and 23 rushing yards.

The Raiders managed to keep the game close by keeping Cincinnati out of the end zone in the second half, though. The two teams combined for four second-half field goals, which set up Las Vegas' chance to tie on the final drive.

Carr drove the Raiders all the way to the Cincinnati 9-yard line but was picked off on 4th-and-goal to seal the win for Cincinnati.

The game wasn't without its fair share of controversy, though. By rule, an inadvertent whistle should have wiped out Tee Higgins' 10-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter. Cincinnati still might have scored on that drive, of course, but it will likely make for many water cooler discussions this week.

Michael David Smith @MichaelDavSmith

Someone blew a whistle on the Bengals' TD. I assume it was an official who thought Burrow stepped out of bounds. That's supposed to end the play right there, even if the official was wrong, which he was.

Mystery whistle or no, the Bengals will move on with their sights still set on the Super Bowl.

"There's not going to be a big celebration like when we won the division. We took care of business, and it’s on to the next round," Burrow said after the game on the NBC broadcast.


Buffalo Bills 47, New England Patriots 17

The Bills were in rout mode from start to finish against the Patriots. Buffalo ran roughshod a Patriots defense that was one of the league's best in the regular season.

The Patriots finished 2021 ranked fourth in yards allowed and second in points allowed. New England surrendered 27 or fewer points in 13 of their regular-season games. Buffalo reached 27 points by halftime.

Things went the Bills' way quickly too. After Buffalo scored on its opening drive, safety Micah Hyde picked off Patriots quarterback Mac Jones on a spectacular play in the end zone.


MICAH HYDE STEALS A TD AWAY FROM NEW ENGLAND. #BillsMafia #SuperWildCard 📺: #NEvsBUF on CBS 📱: NFL app https://t.co/TSu1xX7lkC

The blowout was on from there, and it was all Bills. Quarterback Josh Allen was superb, finishing 21-of-25 for 307 yards and five touchdowns. He also rushed for 65 yards, while Devin Singletary added 83 yards on the ground.

Tight end Dawson Knox caught five passes for 88 yards and two touchdowns. Gabriel Davis and Emmanuel Sanders also caught scoring strikes.

The Bills defense was equally impressive, limiting New England to 305 total yards and picking off Jones twice.

Unlike the Bengals game, there was no real drama in this one. It felt over when Buffalo had a 27-3 halftime lead, and the Bills finished things off over the final two quarters.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Smackdown in Buffalo 💢 Bills dominate the Pats 47-17 https://t.co/ITkjcBhrKB

We're two games into Super Wild Card Weekend, and the home teams are 2-0.


Playoff Picture and Remaining Schedule

Updated Playoff Picture

Everything is open in the NFC. The Green Bay Packers await the results of this weekend, while all three wild-card games are still to go.

We don't yet know what the NFC divisional matchups might look like, but the lowest seed after Monday night will head to Green Bay.

With the Bengals and Bills winning Saturday, few options remain for the divisional round. The Bengals will be on the road next week, likely against the top-seeded Tennessee Titans. If the seventh-seed Pittsburgh Steelers manage to upset the Kansas City Chiefs, though, Cincinnati will visit Buffalo.

The Titans will host either Cincinnati or Pittsburgh, while Buffalo will either host the Bengals or head to Kansas City.

We'll find out how the AFC field falls on Sunday night.


Remaining Playoff Schedule

Sunday, January 16

1 p.m. ET: No 7 Philadelphia Eagles at No. 2 Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Fox, Fox Sports app

4:30 p.m. ET: No. 6 San Francisco 49ers at No. 3Dallas Cowboys on CBS, Nickelodeon, Paramount+, Amazon Prime Video

8:15 p.m. ET: No. 7 Pittsburgh Steelers at No. 2 Kansas City Chiefs on NBC, Peacock


Monday, January 17

8:15 p.m. ET: No. 5 Arizona Cardinals at No. 4 Los Angeles Rams on ESPN, ABC, ESPN 2, ESPN+


Divisional Round

Saturday, January 22

4:30 p.m. ET: Game TBD

8:15 p.m. ET: Game TBD


Sunday, January 23

3 p.m. ET: Game TBD

6:30 p.m. ET: Game TBD


Championship Weekend

Sunday, January 30

3 p.m. ET: AFC on CBS, Paramount+

6:30 p.m. ET: NFC on Fox, Fox Sports app


Super Bowl LVI

Sunday, February 13

6:30 p.m. ET on NBC, Peacock


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