The 2018 NFL Season: Post Wild Card
The regular season – and first two rounds of the playoffs – is officially over. Eight of the 12 teams to make the playoffs still remain, and it truly came down to the last two weeks of the regular season to determine the playoff bracket.
Teams are seeded based on regular season finish. Six teams from each conference play to determine the Conference Champion of whom will match with the other Conferences Champion in the Super Bowl. The team with the best record earns the first seed, second best earns second, and so forth.
Seeds 1-4 are reserved for Division winners. Seeds 5 and 6 are for two Wild Card teams – the top two teams in the conference to not win their respective Divisions. The sixth seed (Wild Card 2) plays the third seed (second worst record Division winner), and the fifth seed (Wild Card 1) faces off against the fourth seed (worst record Division winner) in the Wild Card round of the playoffs. The winners of those games go on to the Divisional round, the winner of those games to the Conference Championship.
1st Seed (guaranteed home field advantage throughout NFC playoffs, first round bye): New Orleans Saints; NFC South (13-3)
2nd Seed (first round bye, home field Divisional game): Los Angeles Rams; NFC West (13-3; New Orleans stays ahead due to head-to-head victory)
3rd Seed (host of a Wild Card game): Chicago Bears; NFC North (12-4)
4th Seed (host of a Wild Card game): Dallas Cowboys; NFC East (10-6)
5th Seed (Wild Card 1): Seattle Seahawks; NFC West (10-6)
6th Seed (Wild Card 2): Philadelphia Eagles; NFC East (9-7)
1st Seed (guaranteed home field advantage throughout AFC playoffs, first round bye): Kansas City Chiefs; AFC West (12-4)
2nd Seed (first round bye, host of Divisional game): New England Patriots; AFC East (11-5)
3rd Seed (host of a Wild Card game): Houston Texans; AFC South (11-5; New England remains ahead based on head-to-head victory)
4th Seed (host of a Wild Card game): Baltimore Ravens; AFC North (10-6)
5th Seed (Wild Card 1): Los Angeles Chargers; AFC West (12-4; Kansas City stays ahead of LA based on Divisional games)
6th Seed (Wild Card 2) Indianapolis Colts; AFC South (10-6)
Results as of Jan. 9, post Wild Card
Divisional Matchups (Highest seed faces lowest seed, second lowest seed matches with 2nd seed)
Los Angeles Rams v. Dallas Cowboys
New Orleans Saints v. Philadelphia Eagles
Los Angeles Chargers v. New England Patriots
Kansas City Chiefs v. Indianapolis Colts
Update: Results of Divisional Round
With the Divisional Games now over as well, I will quickly tell you the scores and who will face who in the Championship games.
New Orleans Saints v. Philadelphia Eagles; Saints won 20-14
Dallas Cowboys v. Los Angeles Rams; Rams won 30-22 #firejasongarrett
New Orleans will face LA in NOLA for the NFC Championship Title
Los Angeles Chargers v. New England Patriots; Patriots won 41-28
Kansas City Chiefs v. Indianapolis Colts; Chiefs won 31-13
KC will face New England in KC for the AFC Championship Title
Victims of Black Monday
Black Monday is the day after the regular season of the NFL ends in which coaches and staff from teams that don’t do to hot in the season are fired or resign from their respective positions.
The Arizona Cardinals, Cincinnati Bengals, Denver Broncos, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets and Tampa Bay Buccaneers all fired their head coaches on Black Monday.
What happened with some of these teams?
Baltimore Ravens (10-7) Honestly, I didn’t even see – for a second – Baltimore making the playoffs. But then came star-studded saint Lamar Jackson, who replaced injured Joe Flacco at QB and propelled the Ravens to a heck of a season finish. However, a fumble cost them the Wild Card win. However, on a bright side for all Ravens fans: it would appear as Flacco won’t be returning as the starter next season.
Chicago Bears (12-5) I was at work when Chi was playing the Eagles in the Wild Card round. And if y’all haven’t already guessed, I’m a huge Bears fan. I checked the score throughout the game and streamed the final part of it. I’m not sure what I said when that double-doink happened, but it wasn’t pretty. I don’t blame Cody Parkey (the Bears kicker) at all for that field goal miss, that could have won us the game. Doug Pederson (Eagles head coach) iced Parkey at the last second. And on top of that, an Eagles defensive lineman got a fingertip on the ball causing it to veer left. The Bears had a heck of a turnaround from last season’s 5-11 campaign that saw Head Coach John Fox fired and the Bears miss the playoffs for the seventh straight season. The experts predicted 6-10 for the rebuilding Bears, and we doubled that. We won NFC North and shocked the league with the progress the young team made. But at the end of the day, it still stinks. The Bears season is over and I have to wait until August to see them play again.
Seattle Seahawks (10-7) & Dallas Cowboys (11-6) The Seahawks were a team that really didn’t know what they were doing this season and, honestly, didn’t deserve to be in the playoffs. Similar to the Cowboys situation, their head coach, who should have been fired the previous season, got an extension because the team barely managed to make the playoffs. The Hawks are only in because (aside from the Rams) their division is very weak and they were matched with equally weak opponents. Jeez the Cowboys and Seahawks are practically the same team. The Hawks were eliminated by that very team, by a close score of 22-24 in the Wild Card and allowed America’s Team to advance to LA to face the second seeded Rams. The Cowboys have a chance to beat LA but they need to play in the way they played the Saints: all defense. The Bears exposed the Rams in the regular season by showing that they stand no chance against a powerful defense, and if the Boys play the way they played in the Saints game, a rematch of those two teams in the NFC Championship could very well happen.
Houston Texans (11-6) Houston started the season 0-3, won 9 straight, then finished with a sloppy 2-2 record in the last four. They went into the playoffs as the third seed with an 11-5 record. This team was all over the place this season. In week three, they looked like the 2017 Browns. In week 13 they looked the ‘07 Patriots. And they looked like 2017 Texans (who went 4-12) in the last four weeks. They upheld my suspicions and got beat by their Division rival, the Indianapolis Colts, in the Wild Card. I’m not really sure what to say about this team. So let’s just leave it at they got bested. I feel for this team who have had the past couple seasons pretty rough. Just promise one thing for me Texans: don’t waste DeShaun Watson’s career.
With the Super Bowl almost here, the season is almost over. I’ll be back after the Super Bowl, but that’ll be the end of this series for now. Be on the lookout for that story in the week following the championship game.
My name is William Thomas, and I'm a reporter for the McNeil Trailblazer. Originally from Chicago, Illinois, I moved to the lovely state of Texas in the...