(WCMH) — The NFL’s Super Wildcard Weekend begins Saturday and the excitement is building for two big playoff games on NBC.
Saturday, January 15 — Las Vegas Raiders vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Full coverage: 3:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Kickoff: 4:30 p.m.
On Saturday afternoon, the Raiders will be in Cincinnati to take on the Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. The teams have identical records with 10 wins and seven losses. However, the Raiders have won their last four games and the Bengals are coming in after a loss to the Cleveland Browns.
The Raiders got off to a good start at the beginning of the 2021-22 season with a string of three wins. Then, a series of three unrelated off-the-field scandals resulted in the resignation of head coach Jon Gruden and the release of WR Henry Ruggs and CB Damon Arnette, a former Buckeye.
Even with all the drama, the Raiders made it to the postseason with interim head coach Rich Bisaccia after five years of not making the playoffs. The team’s destiny was solidified after their nail-biting 35-32 overtime victory over the Chargers in Week 18.
The last time the Raiders went to the playoffs in 2016, QB Derek Carr did not play because of a leg injury that happened in a Christmas Eve game. This year, he has the opportunity to lead the team to its first postseason victory since 2002.
Like the Raiders, the Bengals have not seen the playoff field in a while. The team’s last postseason streak lasted from 2011 to 2015 and the team’s last playoff win was 31 years ago in 1988 when they went all the way to the Super Bowl. Now, with star QB Joe Burrow, the number one draft pick in 2020, in addition to fellow LSU Tigers alum WR Ja’Marr Chase, the team has clinched the AFC North title.
Along with standouts Burrow and Chase, the Bengals chances for a long post-season are boosted by the experience of decisively beating the Raiders 32-13 during Week 11 of the season.
Livestream here: http://stream.nbcsports.com/nfl/las-vegas-raiders-cincinnati-bengals
Sunday, January 16 — Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Full coverage: 7:30 p.m. – 12:00 a.m.
Kickoff: 8:15 p.m.
Sunday Night, the Pittsburgh Steelers will face the Kansas City Chiefs in Arrowhead Stadium.
The better record in this match is clearly the Kansas City Chiefs with 12 wins and five losses. The Pittsburgh Steelers have a mixed record with nine wins, seven losses and a tie.
After two consecutive trips to the Super Bowl, winning in 2020, the Chiefs are looking to repeat their success this season. The Chiefs were already on their way to the postseason after defeating the Steelers in Week 16, which made them AFC West champions for six years in a row.
The Chiefs had a bumpy start to the season losing four of their first seven games. However, a streak of eight wins brought the Chiefs back into the postseason conversation.
Star QB Patrick Mahomes is not shining as brightly as in years past, with fewer yards and more interceptions, so the team’s defense has done some heavy lifting to get to this point.
Considering this is a home game in Arrowhead Stadium and the Chiefs pounded the Steelers 36-10 in their last meeting things are looking good for Mahomes et al.
The Steelers have many other teams to thank for arriving in the postseason. While the Steelers did beat the Ravens narrowly 16-13 in overtime, Jacksonville helped by taking down Indianapolis. Also, on Sunday Night Football, the Chargers and Raiders kept football honest by not forcing a tie game, which would have sent both teams to the playoffs. Pittsburgh made it in, in the divisions’ final spot.
Once again, a team with a troubling start to the season was able to turn things around, thanks to a strong defense, to make it to the postseason.