The 2016 NFL playoffs get going Saturday and Sunday with wild card round action. The weekend opens with the AFC playing on Saturday. The Houston Texans host the Kansas City Chiefs, and then the Cincinnati Bengals host the Pittsburgh Steelers. Sunday features NFC action, with the Minnesota Vikings hosting the Seattle Seahawks, and then Washington hosting the Green Bay Packers.
For picks, I'm going with the Chiefs and Steelers to win on Saturday. I think the Chiefs likely roll the Texans, while the Steelers offense will be too much for AJ McCarron and the Bengals to keep up with all day. On Sunday, I think Minnesota covers a 5-point spread against the Seahawks, but I don't know that they win. I'll lean Seahawks winning by a field goal. I think Washington's rolling offense will continue its strong ways against a shaky Packers squad, and complete the weekend with a win.
The most interesting storyline of this wild card weekend might be the weather in Minnesota. They are playing outdoors following the closing of the Metrodome, and it is going to be a negative wind chill factor. It is believed that this game will be among the six or seven coldest games in NFL history. That can mean more turnovers, but it also likely means fewer field goal attempts. I could see more fourth down attempts than normal. I thought the 49ers-Packers freezing cold game a couple years back was interesting because of the cold weather, so look for more of the same.
The game I'll be watching closest will probably be Chiefs-Texans. Alex Smith and company look to get the Chiefs their first playoff win since 1994. I think the Chiefs fall short of the Super Bowl, but I'd love to see Alex Smith & Co. at Levi's Stadium in February!
Watch via Online Stream: NBC and CBS will be streaming their games online for free. FOX and ESPN will also be streaming their games, but will require users to have a subscription.
All times PT
Wild Card Weekend Schedule
Saturday, January 9
AFC: Kansas City Chiefs at Houston Texans (ESPN and ABC, 1:25 p.m.)
AFC: Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals (CBS, 5:15 p.m.)
Sunday, January 10
NFC: Seattle Seahawks at Minnesota Vikings (NBC, 10:05 a.m.)
NFC: Green Bay Packers at Washington (FOX, 1:40 p.m.)
NFL Divisional Round
Saturday, January 16
AFC: Kansas City/Houston/Cincinnati at New England Patriots (CBS, 1:35 p.m.)
NFC: Green Bay/Washington/Minnesota at Arizona Cardinals (NBC, 5:15 p.m.)
Sunday, January 17
NFC: Seattle/Green Bay/Washington at Carolina Panthers (FOX, 10:05 a.m.)
AFC: Pittsburgh/Houston/Kansas City at Denver Broncos (CBS, 1:40 p.m.)
Sunday, January 24
AFC: CBS, 12:05 p.m.
NFC: FOX, 3:40 p.m.
Super Bowl XLIX
Sunday, February 7
NFC champion versus AFC champion (CBS, 3:30 p.m.)