NFL playoff schedule 2021: Updated bracket & TV channels for AFC, NFC divisional games

One weekend away from championship Sunday.

After a fairly entertaining super wild-card weekend featuring two tripleheaders on Saturday and Sunday, a little bit of NFL playoff normalcy returns this weekend, with four matchups spread across two days.

In the NFC, the Rams and their vicious D hopes to shut down the No. 1 seeded Packers at Lambeau Field. The Rams will be facing a difficult challenge, though, not only that they’re facing Aaron Rodgers, but that they are searching for an answer at QB themselves; John Wolford’s status for the matchup is up in the air following a hospital visit while Jared Goff continues to nurse his thumb back to health.

Elsewhere in the NFC, the Saints are looking to hand the Buccaneers their third L of the 2020 season after a couple of regular-season victories helped catapult NOLA back to another division crown. Tom Brady has his hands full vs. the Saints, throwing five interceptions in two games vs. New Orleans this year.

In the AFC, it’s a clash of two tough, hard-nosed defenses as the Bills take on the Ravens in Orchard Park, with a pair of 2018 first-round quarterbacks leading the charge. Lamar Jackson put to bed the (pretty ridiculous) narrative that he coudn’t win a playoff game, and now has a chance to win two. Josh Allen exorcised playoff demons of his own with a big 27-24 win over Indianapolis.

The other AFC game of the weekend features the surprise Browns and the No. 1-seeded Chiefs: Cleveland walked into Pittsburgh and rocked the Steelers on Sunday night, so don’t be surprised if the Browns’ D does enough to stymie the potent Chiefs offense. Maybe.

Here’s what you need to know about this weekend’s divisional round matchups.

NFL playoff bracket 2021

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NFL playoff schedule

Divisional round

Saturday, Jan. 16

Sunday, Jan. 17

NFL divisional round matchups


Ready, rested and raring to go, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers are set to defend home turf vs. the Rams in the first matchup of divisional weekend. 

The Packers face a tough task in one of the NFL’s top defenses who grounded the Seahawks and Russell Wilson, holding them to 20 points and avenging the Week 16 loss in the first-round win.

The Rams still have questions of their own, namely, who will start at quarterback this upcoming Sunday. While Jared Goff came entered the game in relief of quarterback John Wolford — who was sent to a local hospital as a precaution following a Jamal Adams hit — head coach Sean McVay has yet to devote to either passer. Superstar defensive lineman Aaron Donald also sustained a rib injury in the wild-card matchup vs. the Seahawks, leaving some questions to how healthy he will be come Saturday.

It’s perhaps the ultimate battle of division supremacy: Saints vs. Buccaneers, Round 3.

The Saints asserted their dominance over Tom Brady and the Bucs during the regular season, going 2-0 and outscoring Tampa Bay 72-26 in the two matchups. Thankfully, playoff positions aren’t earned on point

With the Saints earning the NFC South division crown once again, the Buccaneers face a tough road on the way to the Super Bowl, having to go through New Orleans and a seemingly resurgent Drew Brees en route to another Brady Super Bowl appearance. It’ll be a tough matchup for New Orleans’ D, though, with the Bucs’ offense hitting its stride over the last five games of the season, scoring 172 points over that span. They put up another 31 points on a stout Washington Football Team defense on Saturday night.


In the words of rock band Staind, “It’s been a while.”

The Bills have waited 25 years for a playoff victory, and they just happened to eke out a victory over the Colts on Saturday afternoon. It was a close game that nearly came down to a Josh Allen fumble; luckily, the Bills jumped on the ball and preserved the victory. 

The Ravens avenged their 2019 playoff loss to the Titans with a big win over Tennessee on Sunday, disrespecting their budding rival in the process. Now, Lamar Jackson and the Ravens have to deal with Allen’s big arm and a hard-nosed Buffalo team on a mission in Orchard Park.

Cleveland’s stunning, shocking, surprising victory over the Steelers on Sunday night have loads of Cleveland doubters screaming “Cleveland rocks.”

While some wouldn’t label the win as such, consider this: the Browns, dealing with a dire COVID-19 situation, were without head coach Kevin Stefanski on Sunday and a litany of personnel guys after positive coronavirus tests earlier in the week, leaving Mike Prieter as the acting head coach for the game. Cleveland blew the doors off Pittsburgh, 48-37, though the score wasn’t nearly as close as the game was.

Now, the 14-2 Chiefs and Mahomes hope to halt the momentum of the Browns as they look to earn back-to-back Super Bowl victories.

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