NFL play-offs: Kick-off times, favourites and BBC coverage of the road to Super Bowl 58

Bringing in the four-time Most Valuable Player was supposed to finally get the Jets back into Super Bowl contention.

 

The narrative changed minutes into their season opener as, on just his fourth snap as the Jets quarterback, Rodgers tore his Achilles tendon.

 

A glimmer of hope remained but that had drifted away by December and the NFL’s longest active play-off drought has stretched to 13 years.

 

With record seven-time Super Bowl winner Tom Brady having retired last February, this is the first post-season since 2008 that will feature neither Brady nor Rodgers.

 

But there will be plenty of stars on show, with former MVPs Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson among those battling it out for a chance to shine on the Las Vegas Strip, where Super Bowl 58 will be played on 11 February.

 

A total of 14 teams progress to the NFL play-offs, seven from each Conference, in which 12 knockout games are played over three weekends to decide who will reach the Super Bowl.

 

Teams from each Conference are kept apart until the Super Bowl and, in each round, the highest seed remaining plays at home to the lowest seed.

 

The top seed in each Conference earns a bye for the first round, known as wildcard weekend, when six games are played featuring seeds two to seven.

 

The winners then join the top seeds in the divisional round, and the four winners there meet in the Conference Championships -effectively the Super Bowl semi-finals – as the two winners earn the right to represent their Conference in the big game.

 

This year it promises to be some show as it will be the first Super Bowl to be played in Las Vegas at Allegiant Stadium, completed in 2020 for the Raiders’ relocation to ‘Sin City’.

 

One of the Super Bowl favourites throughout the last few years, the Buffalo Bills seemed to be out of contention in late November but won their last five games to snatch the AFC East division title from Miami.

 

And despite limping into the post-season with five defeats from their last six games, the Philadelphia Eagles are still among the favourites to reach Vegas.

 

 

Sunday’s game was postponed and rescheduled for Monday because of forecast snow storms.

 

The NFL said the decision to move the game was taken in the “best interest of public safety”.

 

A state of emergency has been declared in the Buffalo region with strong winds and heavy snow forecast for Sunday.

 

For the second straight year, the Eagles were the last team to lose their unbeaten record but, like the Dolphins, they also surrendered home advantage for the play-offs with a late-season slump, so must hit the road to face the

 

After playing for two teams last season, quarterback Baker Mayfield has found a new home with the Bucs and the Super Bowl 55 winners won five of their last six to top the NFC South.

 

 

Gideon Canice

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