We say goodbye to the regular season and welcome the start of this season's NFL playoffs. Seven teams from each conference harbour hopes of winning Super Bowl LVII in Arizona on Sunday, 12 February. Some have a better chance than others, but there's a saying in the NFL that on any given Sunday, one team can beat another. The equation is simple: lose and you go home, win and you advance
This season's playoffs are spread over three days, starting with two games on Saturday, three on Sunday and one on Monday. The leading NFL betting sites have the Kansas City Chiefs as favourites, with the Buffalo Bills close behind them. All six of this weekend's wild-card games are repeats of games played during the regular season, with three division rivals meeting each other for a third time.
The San Francisco 49ers are the hottest team of the 14 to make the playoffs. They put their 10-game winning streak on the line when they host the Seattle Seahawks in the first game of Wild Card Weekend. The 49ers have won both meetings this season by 20 and eight points respectively, and they will be confident of reaching the divisional round with a third win.
San Francisco are third favourites with some sports betting apps to win the Super Bowl, while the Seahawks are 50/1 to be crowned champions. The 49ers enter the postseason with the number one ranked scoring defense, allowing just 16.3 points per game. In their two games against the 49ers, Seattle has scored seven and 13 points respectively.
One of the more entertaining games this weekend could be played out in Jacksonville, where the Jaguars host the Los Angeles Chargers. Two of the game's most exciting quarterbacks will be hoping to lead their team to the next round. Jacksonville's Trevor Lawrence outgunned Justin Herbert as the Jaguars beat the Chargers 38-10 in Los Angeles.
Between them, the quarterbacks threw 84 passes, so if you like the aerial game, this could be the game for you. The Jaguars will hope for a faster start than they have been used to, as they have conceded the first points in eight of their last nine games. However, they are 6-2 when giving up the opening points.
AFC East rivals the Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills meet for a third time this season, with the series split with one win each. The Dolphins won the first in the heat of Miami, while the Bills took care of business in the snow in Buffalo just before Christmas. There is no snow forecast for Buffalo at the moment, but temperatures will be below zero, which doesn't not bode well for Miami, who are 66/1 rank outsiders with some sports betting sites to win Super Bowl LVII.
Miami could still be without their starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who has been in concussion protocol since sustaining a head injury in the Dolphins' 26-20 loss to the Packers on Christmas Day. With Tagovailoa, Miami has a slight chance. Without him, and it could be a long day against a strong and emotionally charged Bills team looking to win their first Super Bowl title in the wake of Damar Hamlin's cardiac arrest suffered two weeks ago.
The Minnesota Vikings started and ended their regular season with 16-point wins over the Packers in Week 1 and the Bears in Week 18. In between, their other 11 wins were decided by one score, including a 27-24 win over the Giants in Week 16. The Vikings won the game thanks to Greg Joseph's 61-yard field goal as time expired in one of the more dramatic endings to a game this season. Minnesota may have ended the season with a 13-4 record, but their points differential was -3.
The Giants have been very slow starters for the last couple of months, scoring a league-low average of 2.3 points in the first quarter. The G-Men have lost the first quarter in each of their last six games without scoring a point. It might be worth checking out NFL betting apps to see that the odds are for the Vikings to win the first quarter in this contest. The Giants are the only team to have gone through the regular season with a rushing touchdown in every game.
The third and final wild-card game between division rivals sees the Ravens travel to Cincinnati to face the Bengals. The Bengals have won their last eight while Baltimore go into the game with back-to-back losses to the Steelers and the Bengals. Quarterback Lamar Jackson has missed Baltimore's last five games, which meant he missed the recent loss to this weekend's opponents.
When Jackson faced the Bengals in Week 5, he led the Ravens to a narrow 19-17 win. His return remains questionable, which could be mind games being played by the team. The Bengals defense has stepped up in recent weeks and has not allowed a first-quarter touchdown in their last 10 games. Baltimore have scored 17 points or fewer in each of their last six games. They'll need to score more than that if they want to beat Cincinnati this weekend.
Can this be the year the Dallas Cowboys finally end their championship drought and be crowned world champions for the first time since winning Super Bowl XXX in January 1996? If last week's 26-6 loss at Washington is anything to go by, then perhaps the answer is no. Had they won that game, and the Eagles lost their contest against the Giants, then the Cowboys would have been the number one seed and enjoying this weekend off.
A trip to Tampa Bay Buccaneers shouldn't hold too many fears, but as long as Tom Brady is throwing passes, the Bucs have a chance. If Brady wins his eighth Super Bowl, that might be the perfect ending for the 45-year-old. Tampa Bay are the only playoff team to have a losing record, but the playoffs are a different competition. Brady is looking to add to his 35 postseasons wins, which equates to just over two full regular seasons. Check out our enhanced price offers page, which will feature this weekend's wild card games.