The stage is set for the Divisional Playoffs in the NFC. The New Orleans Saints defeated the Chicago Bears 21-9 in Sunday afternoon’s Wild Card game, locking in the matchups for next week’s Divisional round games across the conference. The Green Bay Packers finally have their first postseason opponent identified, as the Los Angeles Rams will come to Lambeau Field next weekend.
That game will kick off at 3:35 PM Central on Saturday, January 16.
The sixth-seeded Rams defeated the #3 Seattle Seahawks 30-20 on Saturday afternoon to punch their ticket to the Divisional Round. Los Angeles’ dominant defense held Seattle to just 278 yards of total offense in the game, with Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson completing just 11 of 27 pass attempts for 174 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception.
Los Angeles became the worst remaining seed in the NFC bracket following the #7 seeded Bears’ loss on Sunday afternoon in New Orleans. That will send Sean McVay and his Rams team up to Lambeau Field to face a familiar face: Packers head coach Matt LaFleur. The two men worked together in Washington under Mike Shanahan from 2010 to 2013, with LaFleur coaching the team’s quarterbacks and McVay being in charge of the tight end position. LaFleur then served as McVay’s offensive coordinator in 2017, McVay’s first year as head coach of the Rams.
McVay will face some questions at quarterback next weekend, however. John Wolford started against the Seahawks on Saturday following his start in LA’s week 17 game, which came with Jared Goff sidelined by a thumb injury. However, Goff served as the backup this weekend, entering the game early against Seattle after Wolford took a hard hit to the head and finishing the game. Goff’s stat line read 9 for 19 passing for 155 yards and a touchdown, while Wolford completed three of six passes for 29 yards.
The other Divisional Round game in the NFC is a true divisional battle in the NFC South, with the #5-seeded Tampa Bay Buccaneers facing the second-seeded Saints. Tampa Bay advanced to the next round in Saturday’s late game, beating the Washington Football Team 31-23, but they will face a Saints team that swept their two regular-season meetings. After a 34-23 win in week one, the Saints dominated the Bucs 38-3 in the teams’ week 9 rematch.
This evening’s final Wild Card game is between the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers, which will complete the AFC bracket. The Kansas City Chiefs (#1) and Buffalo Bills (#2) will host the games in that conference, with the Baltimore Ravens (#5) awaiting the winner of tonight’s game to determine where they will play.