The teams who will play in the Super Bowl will be decided today. Here’s our playoffs guide
Football lovers, welcome to the holiest time of the season: The NFL playoffs. Over the next few weeks, the postseason teams will slowly be whittled down to two, culminating in that most sacred of events on February 3: The big, long Super Bowl commercial with a football game squeezed in between.
Whether you’re stocking up on buffalo wings and Imodium in preparation for a playoff binge, or are just reluctantly accompanying someone who is, here’s everything you need to know about the postseason picture, including a full schedule of games.
READ MORE: CNN’s complete NFL Championship coverage
Let’s start with the big question:
Who should I root for?
Well that’s a complicated question. There are some pretty great storylines to explore: Two NFL greats who are old as dirt by sports standards (That’s 41-year-old Tom Brady of the Patriots and 39-year-old Drew Brees of the Saints, for those of you keeping score), and an exciting new team from Los Angeles, which surely thrills people from their abandoned hometown of St. Louis.
Of course you could root for whatever team is closest to you, or whatever team your mom likes. But it may also be liberating to shrug off the yoke of parochialism and chose a new favorite. Especially if you’re a New England fan. Behold, a guide:
I want to support smaller market teams and watch networks sweat over viewership: Root for the Kansas City Chiefs.
I think every team in the entire country should relocate to Los Angeles, thus completing a football singularity that will open a portal to the center of the Earth: Root for the Los Angeles Rams.
I like legendary quarterbacks who have already WON Super Bowls and don’t NEED any more and/or I want the entire city of Atlanta to SUFFER DEEPLY: Root for the New Orleans Saints or the New England Patriots.
This is too much. Just tell me what teams might win
While we can’t predict the future, maybe Vegas can: As of the beginning of the wild card round, odds from Vegas Insider have the New Orleans Saints as Super Bowl favorites at 11/4, followed by the Kansas City Chiefs at 9/2.
Unsurprisingly, these odds mimic the playoff seeds. But who knows, anything can happen!
When are the games and where can I watch them?
There are four rounds of playoffs: The wild card round, which consists of four games wherein the third-seeded teams play the sixth seeds, the fourth seeds play the fifth, and the first and second seeds get the week off as a reward for their excellence. The fifth and sixth seeds are “wild card” teams: they reached the playoffs by having the best records without winning their division. That’s over. Next, come the divisional rounds, where the first and second seeds put their tight pants back on and play the survivors of the wild card round. Then come the conference championships, which determine the two teams that go to the Super Bowl.
So anyway, that’s a lot of games! Eleven, to be exact. Let’s break them down by week.
CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND
Sunday, January 20
3:05 p.m. ET on Fox: Los Angeles Rams vs. New Orleans Saints in the NFC Championship at Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.
6:40 p.m. ET on CBS: Kansas City Chiefs vs. New England Patriots in the AFC Championship at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City.
The winning teams will pat each other on the back, kiss their children and then hop on a plane bound for…
SUPER BOWL LIII
Sunday, February 3
6:30 p.m. ET on CBS: AFC Champion vs. NFC Champion at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta!
Then it’s all over and you can get back to basketball and hockey.