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We're a little more than 24 hours away from the Divisional Round of the 2015-16 NFL playoffs, and ARGH DAMN IT ALL WE SHOULD BE PLAYING THIS WEEKEND!
Ahem. . .let me try that again. . .
We're a little more than 24 hours away from the Divisional Round of the 2015-16 NFL playoffs, and even though the Minnesota Vikings' season has ended, there are still seven more games remaining in this season before we get way too deep into mock drafts and free agency. So, if you want to veg out in front of the TV or whatever and track all the action for this weekend, we're going to let you know how to do that with each of the four contests the NFL is offering up.
Saturday, 16 January
AFC Divisional Playoffs: (5) Kansas City Chiefs at (2) New England Patriots
The action will get underway in Foxboro, with the league's hottest team taking on the defending AFC Champions. The Chiefs trounced the Houston Texans last Saturday, 30-0, for their eleventh straight win following a 1-5 start. The Patriots managed a first-round bye, but squandered an opportunity at home field advantage with a loss to the Miami Dolphins in Week 17. The Patriots are dealing with all sorts of injuries, most notably to tight end Rob Gronkowski, who is dealing with back and knee problems. Bill Belichick might have to start pulling people out of the stands to be targets for Tom Brady before too much longer. This is also the only game this playoff weekend that is not a rematch of a game from this past regular season.
The kickoff time for this game is at 3:35 PM Central time, and the game will be broadcast on CBS.
NFC Divisional Playoffs: (5) Green Bay Packers at (2) Arizona Cardinals
The last time these two teams got together, it was a bloodbath, with the Cardinals coming out victorious by a score of 38-8. The Packers advanced to this round by defeating a Washington team that. . .well, they won the NFC East. Take that however you want. The Cardinals have one of the league's best defenses, and with the Packers still dealing with issues up front, Aaron Rodgers is likely going to have to be perfect in order for Green Bay to have a chance.
This game gets underway at 7:15 PM Central time, and will be broadcast on NBC.
Sunday, 17 January
NFC Divisional Playoffs: (6) Seattle Seahawks at (1) Carolina Panthers
Seattle's lucky to be here. Frankly, I don't care if that sounds angry or bitter or yadda yadda whatever. They're lucky to be here. While Sunday's game won't take place in freezing temperatures or anything, the Seahawks' status as the "hottest team in the NFL" likely took a bit of a hit on Sunday. Now, they get to take to the road again to take on a team with the (likely) MVP at quarterback in Cam Newton. The Panthers beat the Seahawks in Seattle earlier in the season, and now seek to avoid being the second team to go 15-1 in the regular season and not win a playoff game.
This match-up will be on FOX, with kickoff scheduled for 12:05 PM Central time.
AFC Divisional Playoffs: (6) Pittsburgh Steelers at (1) Denver Broncos
The Broncos have a bit of drama at quarterback with the situation with Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler, with Manning haven't come off the bench in Week 17 to "help" the Broncos clinch home-field advantage. But that's nothing compared to what the Steelers have going on. They've already ruled out receiver Antonio Brown and running back DeAngelo Williams with injuries, and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will be limited if he can go at all. The Steelers were going to have a tough time with the Broncos in any case. . .without their top running back, top receiver, and (possibly) starting quarterback against one of the league's best defenses, a repeat of their victory in late December may be too much to hope for.
The final game of the Divisional Playoffs will be shown on CBS, with kickoff scheduled for 3:40 PM Central time.
If you're looking for this game on the radio, there's a very good chance that an AM or FM station in your local area will be carrying the game in some form or fashion. If you're looking for the game on satellite radio, the feeds for all of the road teams will be found on XM Channel 226 and Sirius Channel 83, while the feeds for the home teams will be found on XM Channel 225 and Sirius Channel 82. Westwood One will be carrying the national feeds for each game on SiriusXM NFL Radio, Channel 88.
Here are the head referees for each contest:
Kansas City at New England - Craig Wrolstad
Green Bay at Arizona - Clete Blakeman
Seattle at Carolina - Tony Corrente
Pittsburgh at Denver - Terry McAulay
As far as streaming is concerned, CBS and NBC will be streaming their games on their websites, free of charge. The game on FOX will also be streamed online, but it will require a subscription.
There's your look at the Divisional Round of the playoffs in the National Football League this weekend. Which game is the most interesting to all of you?