With the regular season wrapping up last week, the time has finally come: the NFL postseason has arrived. More specifically, Wild Card weekend. Eight teams will be facing off in the Wild Card round for a chance to make it one step closer to Super Bowl 50.
Those teams are: The Cincinnati Bengals, Pittsburgh Steelers, Kansas City Chiefs, Houston Texans, Washington Redskins, Green Bay Packers, Seattle Seahawks, and Minnesota Vikings. The Bengals, Texans, Redskins, and Vikings all clinched their respective divisions, while the Steelers, Chiefs, Packers, and Seahawks all made it in as Wild Card teams.
Today’s match-ups will feature the Wild Card teams from the AFC, and the match-ups are the Steelers/Bengals and Chiefs/Texans.
First, the Chiefs/Texans game, which starts at 3:35 CST.
Houston has one of the best young wide receivers in the league in DeAndre Hopkins, who finished with 111 catches for 1,521 yards and 11 touchdowns, despite having to deal with a quarterback carousel throughout the entire season.
However, the biggest strength of the Texans is by far their defense, led by one of the NFL’s MVP candidates: defensive end J.J Watt. Watt finished the regular season leading the league in sacks, with 17.5. He also forced three fumbles, and garnered 76 tackles. But the Texans were dealt a blow before game-time, as second-year defensive lineman Jadeveon Clowney was ruled out due to injury.
Then there is the Chiefs.
Despite losing star running back Jamaal Charles early in the year, the Chiefs were able to, like the Chiefs, overcome early struggles (they started 1-5), and won 10 straight games to pun their ticket to the playoffs. Led by veteran quarterback Alex Smith, along with tight end Travis Kelce and wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, the Chiefs kept pace with their division rivals, the Denver Broncos, for first place, though they came up just short.
Both teams finished in the top ten in pass defense as well as rushing defense, as defensive backs Eric Berry and Marcus Peters led the secondary for Kansas City.
It will surely be a defensive battle between the two teams, though it seems to be more of a challenge for Houston, who played in a severely weakened division, to hold the Chiefs offense in check. But if the offensive line cannot stop Watt, it could be a long day for Kansas City.
Either way, it has the makings to be a good game to kick off the 2015-16 NFL playoffs…