Three of the top four seeds of the NFL playoffs advanced to the conference championship round last weekend, setting up heavyweight clashes that people have been looking forward to all year.
On the AFC side, the Chiefs will host the Bills at Arrowhead Stadium. On the NFC side, the Packers will welcome the Buccaneers at Lambeau Field.
All four teams have top quarterbacks, although Kansas City’s status Patrick Mahomes uncertain after concussion in divisional round. Star defensive players litter the remaining contenders, but it will be those passers-by that will make Sunday a special occasion for postseason action with a big domestic draw.
In the divisional round, Kansas City beat Cleveland, Buffalo beat Baltimore, Green Bay beat the Los Angeles Rams, and Tampa Bay beat New Orleans.
Here’s everything you need to know about AFC and NFC Championship games:
Support for the 2021 NFL playoffs
Here’s a look at the full range of the NFL playoffs for 2021:
1. Kansas City Chiefs vs. 2. Buffalo Bills
1. Kansas City Chiefs vs. 6. Cleveland Browns
2. Buffalo Bills vs. 5. Baltimore Ravens
1. Kansas City Chiefs (bye)
2. Buffalo Bills vs. 7. Indianapolis Colts
3. Pittsburgh Steelers vs. 6. Cleveland Browns
4. Tennessee Titans vs. 5. Baltimore Ravens
1. Green Bay Packers vs. 5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
1. Green Bay Packers vs. 6. Los Angeles Rams
2. New Orleans Saints vs. 5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
1. Green Bay Packers (goodbye)
2. New Orleans Saints vs. 7. Chicago Bears
3. Seattle Seahawks vs. 6. Los Angeles Rams
4. Washington Football Team vs. 5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
NFL Playoff Schedule
Sunday January 24
|Match||Start time||TV channel||Direct|
|Buccaneers at Packers||3:05 p.m. ET||Fox||fuboTV|
|Bills to Chiefs||6:40 p.m. ET||CBS||fuboTV|
AFC, NFC Championship Matches
- Heads # 1 vs Bills # 2
Patrick Mahomes suffered a concussion in the second half of the Chiefs’ divisional game against the Browns, but Kansas City managed to escape with a win and advance to their third straight AFC Championship. Coach Andy Reid and his team now have an anxious week of waiting to see if Mahomes will be available to face the Bills. If the star quarterback is ruled out, that would mean Chad Henne under center at Arrowhead Stadium. Henne was the hero who died against Cleveland, converting a crucial first try as a sub to clinch the victory, but he’s obviously a steep downgrade of the full game from what Mahomes offers.
Buffalo has shown he can end a high-powered playoff offense by keeping the Ravens three points in their own divisional game. So even if it’s Mahomes throwing the passes, it might be difficult to move the ball against the Bills.
Josh Allen will be on the road for the first time in the playoffs, offering his own challenge to coach Sean McDermott’s team. Allen avoided turnovers in the divisional round, but was imprecise when throwing in depth – a flaw that could potentially end the season if the AFC title game turns into a shootout. He certainly has the receivers to take the field to pieces; it’s just a matter of achieving your goals.
The Chiefs will be heavily favored if they’re at full power, but with Allen’s advantage and defense peaking at the perfect time, it will hopefully be an exciting game regardless.
- Packers n ° 1 vs buccaneers n ° 5
Fans have waited a long time to see an Aaron Rodgers playoff game against Tom Brady. It could have been in 2011, the year the Packers won their last ring, were it not for the Mark Sanchez Jets who upset the Brady Patriots in the divisional round. One reunion came even closer to accomplishment in 2015, but the Packers’ collapse against the Seahawks in the NFC Championship game kept them from meeting the Patriots in the Super Bowl.
Rodgers and Brady will finally face off on Sunday with the NFC title at stake.
Rodgers was terrible in almost every way when the Buccaneers beat the Packers 38-10 in October, but his two unusual interceptions came in the warmer reaches of Florida. Green Bay is 10-2 since that eruption and will host Tampa Bay in what could be a snowy Lambeau field on Sunday.
Brady has been used to harsh winter conditions since his years in New England and is as calm as any quarterback in NFL history when asked to host a road playoff series. He won’t be mentally shaken. Physically, however? Considering his occasional tremors against the Saints during the Divisional Round, it is not out of the question that he will be the error maker in the future Hall of Famers duel. It seems more likely, however, that Brady will deliver the vintage performance we expect from him on the bigger occasions. In that case, it could be an epic battle with Rodgers that would be a fun part of any discussion of their respective legacies.