NFL Playoff Guide: How to watch the games, bracket format and betting favorites

The Buffalo Bills and Dallas Cowboys are riding high after big Week 18 wins capped their regular seasons. The Miami Dolphins and Philadelphia Eagles are reeling after stumbling down the stretch.

With or without momentum, the NFL playoffs begin for 12 of the 14 postseason qualifiers during wild-card weekend. Games begin Saturday, when the Texans host the Browns and the Chiefs host the Dolphins.

The No. 1 seeds — including the AFC’s Baltimore Ravens and NFC’s San Francisco 49ers — get a bye until next week’s division round.

Of this weekend’s six wild-card games, a pair have particularly juicy storylines.

Quarterback Matthew Stafford, who was 0-3 in the playoffs with the Lions, goes back to Detroit as a member of the Los Angeles Rams. The Lions tied a franchise record with a 12-win regular season and will seek their first playoff victory since beating Dallas on Jan. 5, 1992.

Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy will face his former team when Jordan Love leads the Packers to Dallas on Sunday. The Cowboys routed Washington 38-10 to clinch the NFC East title and will host Green Bay aiming to stay unbeaten at home this season.

Six teams — the Browns, Lions, Packers, Texans, Rams and Steelers — are in the playoffs after missing out last season. At least four teams who failed to qualify one season have reached the playoffs the next every year since 1990.



No. 5 Browns at No. 4 Texans, 4:30 p.m. EST, NBC

No. 6 Dolphins at No. 3 Chiefs 8 p.m. EST, Peacock

(The Dolphins-Chiefs game will be the first NFL playoff game to be exclusively streamed on Peacock, an NBC subscription service. Fans in the markets of Kansas City and Miami will still be able to watch for free on their local NBC affiliates.)


No. 7 Steelers at No. 2 Bills, 1 p.m. EST, CBS/Paramount+

No. 7 Packers at No. 2 Cowboys, 4:30 p.m. EST, Fox

No. 6 Rams at No. 3 Lions, 8 p.m. EST, NBC


No. 5 Eagles at No. 4 Buccaneers, 8:15 p.m. EST, ABC/ESPN



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