GREEN BAY WI - DECEMBER 26: Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers rolls out of the pocket against the New York Giants at Lambeau Field on December 26 2010 in Green Bay Wisconsin. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

2011 NFL Playoff Schedule Announced; Jets Vs. Colts, Packers Vs. Eagles Highlight Wild Card Weekend

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2011 NFL Playoffs: Odds For Wild Card Weekend Have Saints As Huge Favorites

The early odds for the 2011 NFL Playoffs Wild Card Weekend are out, and they feature three small lines ... and Saints-Seahawks. After barely sneaking into the postseason as arguably the worst playoff team of all time, Seattle enters the playoffs as 12-point underdogs to the defending Super Bowl champs. And that's with the game being played in Seattle. That game kicks on Saturday at 4:30 P.M. ET.

The late game on Saturday is an AFC battle between the Jets and Colts, which figures to be slightly more competitive. The Colts finished the season strong, winning the AFC South. They open against the Wild Card Jets as 3-point favorites in Indy.

On Sunday, the early game features the surprising Chiefs taking on the Ravens in Kansas City. The line for this one currently varies, depending on the sports book, but sits somewhere between one and three points in favor of the Ravens.

The final game of the Wild Card Weekend is Green Bay vs. Philly, which should be the most entertaining of the bunch. The line for this one is also inconsistent right now, but the Eagles are 1-to-3 points favorites.

Check here for the full 2011 NFL Playoffs schedule.

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NFL Playoffs: Schedule, Bracket And Matchups All Set For Run To 2011 Super Bowl

We can now add the Seahawks to the official NFL playoff schedule.

And that means the NFL playoff bracket is fully set, stocked with the matchups that will decide what teams play for the 2011 Super Bowl.

Here's the full and complete TV schedule for the NFL's Wild Card Weekend and divisional round, as provided by the NFL itself (all times Eastern):

Saturday, Jan. 8
Saints at Seahawks, 4:30 p.m., NBC
Jets at Colts, 8:00 p.m., NBC
Sunday, Jan. 9
Ravens at Chiefs, 1:00 p.m., CBS
Packers at Eagles, 4:30 p.m., FOX
Saturday, Jan. 15
Colts or Ravens or Chiefs at Steelers, 4:30 p.m., CBS
Rams or Seahawks or Saints or Packers at Falcons, 8:00 p.m., FOX
Sunday, Jan. 16
Eagles or Seahawks or Saints at Bears, 4:30 p.m., FOX
Jets or Chiefs or Ravens at Patriots, 8 p.m., CBS

The Seahawks are the NFC West champions, and the first losing team to win a division in NFL history. They are also one of just three teams in NFL history to make the playoffs with a losing record, and the only team to do so in a season not shortened by a labor dispute or with a 12-team playoff field.

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NFL Playoffs: Seahawks Beat Rams, Secure NFC West With Losing Record

The 2011 NFL playoff bracket is complete, even though the Seattle Seahawks certainly don't seem like a playoff team.

The Seahawks won a brutal 16-6 game over the St. Louis Rams at Qwest Field and claimed the NFC West with the victory. With the win, Seattle moved to 7-9 on the season and earned the first NFL playoff berth ever given to a losing team in a season that was not strike-shortened.

In 1982, a season shortened by a labor strike, the 4-5 Detroit Lions and 4-5 Cleveland Browns both made the playoffs — in part because the NFL turned the playoffs into a 16-team "Super Bowl tournament."

The Seahawks are also the only losing team in NFL history to win a division.

With the win, Seattle claims the fourth seed in the NFC. The Seahawks will host the Saints at Qwest Field in the first game of Wild Card Weekend, a Saturday afternoon game on Jan. 8.

NBC will televise the game, which will begin at 4:30 p.m. Eastern.

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NFL Playoffs: Schedules For Wild Card Weekend And Divisional Round Officially Announced

And now we have an official NFL playoff schedule directly from the league.

Here's the TV schedule for the NFL's Wild Card Weekend and divisional round, as provided by the NFL itself (all times Eastern):

Saturday, Jan. 8
Saints at Rams or Seahawks, 4:30 p.m., NBC
Jets at Colts, 8:00 p.m., NBC
Sunday, Jan. 9
Ravens at Chiefs, 1:00 p.m., CBS
Packers at Eagles, 4:30 p.m., FOX
Saturday, Jan. 15
Colts or Ravens or Chiefs at Eagles, 4:30 p.m., CBS
Rams or Seahawks or Saints or Packers at Falcons, 8:00 p.m., FOX
Sunday, Jan. 16
Eagles or Rams or Seahawks or Saints at Bears, 4:30 p.m., FOX
Jets or Chiefs or Ravens at Patriots, 8 p.m., CBS

The only blanks left, obviously, concern whether the Rams or Seahawks will win the NFC West and the NFC's No. 4 seed tonight and what teams emerge victorious from Wild Card Weekend.

It's interesting to note that the Patriots and Colts can't renew their rivalry until the AFC Championship Game, and that Michael Vick can't travel back to Atlanta with the Eagles until an NFC Championship Game.

Are you ready for some playoff football? I am.

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NFL Playoffs: Schedule And Game Times Set For Wild Card Weekend

According to one veteran observer of the NFL's scheduling, the NFL's Wild Card Weekend is already all scheduled out by its broadcast partners.

JP Kirby of The 506 tweets that these are the matchups' television times:

Here's the sked: Saints-NFC West early and Jets-Colts late Sat on NBC, Ravens-Chiefs early Sun on CBS, Packers-Eagles late Sun on Fox.

Hard to read? Let's put that in a more eye-friendly format.

Saturday, Jan. 8
Saints at Rams/Seahawks, late afternoon, NBC
Jets at Colts, primetime, NBC
Sunday, Jan. 9
Ravens at Chiefs, early afternoon, CBS
Packers at Eagles, late afternoon, FOX

The NFL Network's Rich Eisen confirms the Saturday schedule, which at the very least means that those two Sunday games will be televised by those two networks. It's likely that Packers-Eagles, arguably the premier matchup of Wild Card Weekend, will be the late game.

Word was that NBC had the first and last choice of the four Wild Card Weekend games. If so, it certainly seems like the network took Jets-Colts (and the massive New York audience) with its first pick, then got stuck with the NFC West winner as a booby prize.

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NFL Playoffs: Giants Win, But Packers Snag NFC Wild Card Spot

To earn a playoff berth, the Giants needed to take care of the Redskins in Week 17, then hope the Bears would take care of the Packers.

Their half worked out, but they'll still be staying home.

The Giants' 17-14 win over the Redskins won't be enough to get New York into the playoffs, thanks to Green Bay's 10-3 victory over Chicago. The 10-6 Giants' loss to the Packers in Week 16 means that the 10-6 Packers earned the NFC's sixth seed by winning the head-to-head tiebreaker between the two teams.

Eli Manning threw for 243 yards and a touchdown in the win. That touchdown was a 92-yard completion to Mario Manningham, and a career long for both players.

Now, the Giants must decide whether to retain veteran coach Tom Coughlin or go in a different direction. New York swooned late in the season, going 4-4 in its last eight games, including a monstrous fourth quarter collapse against the Eagles and a noncompetitive outing at Green Bay, dropped games to the Titans and Cowboys that could have cost them a playoff spot.

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NFL Playoffs: Packers Clinch NFC Wild Card Berth

It wasn't pretty, but the Packers got what they wanted: a playoff berth.

After the Packers harassed Jay Cutler all day, Nick Collins intercepted a Cutler pass with less than a minute remaining to seal the Packers' 10-3 win over the Bears and secure Green Bay's second straight playoff berth.

Aaron Rodgers and Co. finish the season at 10-6, tied with the Giants and Buccaneers, but earn the NFC's last wild card berth by virtue of a head-to-head tiebreaker over the Giants and a conference record tiebreaker over the Bucs.

The Packers will meet the Eagles in Philadelphia next week. It's the second time Green Bay's visited Lincoln Financial Field this year; the first time, the Packers came out with a 27-20 win over Philly.

Of course, that was the first game of the year, and a game that Kevin Kolb started. This will be the Packers' first game against the Eagles with Michael Vick at the helm from kickoff.

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NFL Playoffs: Schedule Set With Exception Of NFC West

We've almost got an official NFL playoffs schedule.

With Week 17 wins by the Packers and Colts, only one playoff spot remains up for grabs, and it will be decided when the Rams and Seahawks clash in Seattle for the NFC West.

We won't get that official NFL playoffs schedule until after that game is decided, but we can project the 2011 NFL playoffs schedule based on the standings as they are: the NFL playoff picture came into sharp focus just moments ago.

AFC Playoff Schedule

1. New England Patriots. AFC East champions. First round bye and home field advantage throughout AFC playoffs. Will host lowest seed remaining at Gillette Stadium in two weeks.

2. Pittsburgh Steelers. AFC North champions. First round bye. Will host highest seed remaining at Heinz Field in two weeks.

3. Indianapolis Colts. AFC South champions. Will host sixth seed Jets at Lucas Oil Field next week.

4. Kansas City Chiefs. AFC West champions. Will host fifth seed Ravens at Arrowhead Stadium next week.

5. Baltimore Ravens. AFC wild card team. Will play at fourth seed Chiefs next week.

6. New York Jets. AFC wild card team. Will play at third seed Colts next week.

NFC Playoff Schedule

1. Atlanta Falcons. NFC South champions. First round bye and home field advantage throughout NFC playoffs. Will host lowest seed remaining at Georgia Dome in two weeks.

2. Chicago Bears. NFC North champions. First round bye. Will host highest seed remaining at Soldier Field in two weeks.

3. Philadelphia Eagles. NFC East champions. Will host sixth seed Packers at Lincoln Financial Field next week.

4. St. Louis Rams. NFC West leader. Would earn fourth seed and win division with win over Seahawks; will be eliminated from playoff contention with loss. Would host Saints at Edward Jones Dome with win.

5. New Orleans Saints. NFC wild card team. Will play at fourth seed Rams or Seahawks next week.

6. Green Bay Packers. NFC wild card team. Will play at third seed Eagles next week.

Seattle Seahawks. Control their own destiny in NFC West. Would win division and earn fourth seed with win over Rams. Would host Saints at Qwest Field with win.

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NFL Playoffs: Saints' Loss Locks New Orleans Into Fifth Seed

Entering Week 17, the Saints had a chance to earn the NFC's No. 1 seed and the NFC South title.

That didn't happen.

The Buccaneers' 23-13 win over the Saints has more playoff ramifications for Green Bay and New York, but it also kept the Saints from improving on their wild card standing.

Of course, so did the Falcons' win: Atlanta claimed the NFC's top seed with its win over the Panthers, and the Saints were more or less playing for pride after the Falcons went up big early.

If the Saints are going to repeat as Super Bowl champions, they will likely need to win three games on the road to do so. The only team the Saints would be able to host in the 2011 NFL Playoffs is the NFC's sixth seed, which could be the Bucs, Packers, or Giants.

On the bright side, Saints fans, Reggie Bush looked fast today. That could help in the playoffs.

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NFL Playoffs: Schedule With Current Standings Sends Buccaneers To Philadelphia

The Buccaneers are in the NFL playoffs. For now.

With a win over the Saints early Sunday afternoon, the Bucs have temporarily moved into the NFC's sixth seed. They'll need losses by the Packers and Giants to claim a spot in the NFC playoffs, but Tampa Bay did all it could in Week 17.

But what about the rest of the NFL playoff picture? Here's the projected 2011 NFL playoffs schedule based on the standings after the early games.

AFC Playoff Schedule

1. New England Patriots. AFC East champions. First round bye and home field advantage throughout AFC playoffs. Will host lowest seed remaining at home in two weeks.

2. Pittsburgh Steelers. AFC North champions. First round bye. Will host highest seed remaining at home in two weeks.

3. Kansas City Chiefs. AFC West champions. Would play sixth seed Jets at Arrowhead Stadium next weekend if Colts lose to Titans; will fall to fourth seed with Colts win.

4. Indianapolis Colts. AFC South leader. Would earn third seed with win over Titans; will remain at fourth seed with loss to Titans and Jaguars loss. Would play Ravens at Lucas Oil Field if fourth seed.

5. Baltimore Ravens. AFC wild card team. Will play at fourth seed next week.

6. New York Jets. AFC wild card team. Will play at third seed next week.

Jacksonville Jaguars. Still alive in AFC South. Would win AFC South with win over Texans and Colts loss to Texans, and would earn fourth seed in that scenario.

NFC Playoff Schedule

1. Atlanta Falcons. NFC South champions. First round bye and home field advantage throughout NFC playoffs. Will host lowest seed remaining at home in two weeks.

2. Chicago Bears. NFC North champions. First round bye. Will host highest seed remaining at home in two weeks.

3. Philadelphia Eagles. NFC East champions. Will host sixth seed at Lincoln Financial Field next week.

4. St. Louis Rams. NFC West leader. Would earn fourth seed and win division with win over Seahawks; will be eliminated from playoff contention with loss.

5. New Orleans Saints. NFC wild card team. Will play at fourth seed Rams or Seahawks next week.

6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers. NFC wild card leader. Needs losses by Packers and Giants to keep sixth seed. Would play at Eagles next week.

Green Bay Packers. Control their own destiny in NFC playoff picture. Would earn sixth seed with win over Bears. Will be eliminated from playoff contention with loss or tie. Would play at Eagles next week.

New York Giants. Still alive in NFC playoff picture. Would earn sixth seed with win over Redskins and Packers loss to Bears. Will be eliminated from playoff contention with loss or tie. Would play at Eagles next week.

Seattle Seahawks. Control their own destiny in NFC West. Would win division and earn fourth seed with win over Rams. Would host Saints next week.

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NFL Playoffs: Ravens Win, Earn AFC's Fifth Seed

The Ravens had to win and hope the Steelers lost on Sunday to improve their playoff seeding.

The former worked out for them. The latter, not so much.

The Ravens ground out a 13-7 win against the Bengals with an opportunistic defense and a heavy dose of Ray Rice. The Ravens forced five turnovers and Rice had 77 rushing yards and Baltimore's only touchdown.

But the Steelers' win over the Browns means the Ravens' place in the AFC playoff picture remains the same after Week 17.

The 12-4 Steelers win the AFC North over the 12-4 Ravens because of a tiebreaker based on win percentage in games against divisional opponents. That means the Ravens can do no better than a wild card berth.

But the Ravens' win over the Jets earlier this year meant that the Ravens could not fall to the sixth seed if they lost and the Jets won. The only move the Ravens could have made was to the second seed, with a win and a Steelers loss, and that didn't happen.

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NFL Playoffs: Steelers Clinch AFC North, Second Seed With Win

All the Steelers had to do in Week 17 to win the AFC North and earn the AFC's No. 2 see and a first round bye was beat the Browns.

That proved a fairly simple task.

The Steelers routed the Browns, 38-7, as Ben Roethlisberger threw for 280 yards and two touchdowns and Antwaan Randle El threw a touchdown to Hines Ward on a trick play.

With the win, the Steelers have earned the second seed in the AFC, and will host the highest remaining seed in two weeks at Heinz Field.

The rest should help the Steelers, and Roethlisberger in particular. The quarterback has taken a beating this season, and a foot injury threatened to keep him out of games earlier this year. Two weeks of rest may help him get back into shape for a run at a third Super Bowl.

The Steelers' win and AFC North title relegates the Ravens and Jets to wild card spots. The Steelers could have fallen all the way to the sixth seed with a loss.

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NFL Playoffs: Buccaneers Put Packers, Giants In Must-Win Scenarios

Entering Week 17, the Packers and Giants are still alive in the NFL playoff picture. But now both teams must win to stay in the running to play in the 2011 Super Bowl.

The Buccaneers' 23-13 win over the Saints means that both Green Bay and New York must win to clinch the NFC's No. 6 seed, and keeps the Bucs alive in the NFC playoff picture.

Only one scenario gets the young Bucs — who are the only team to start 10 rookies and have a winnning season in NFL history — into the playoffs. Both the Packers and Giants must lose, which would make the Bucs, at 10-6, the NFC's second wild card team.

If the Bucs finish tied at 10-6 with either the Packers or the Giants, they will lose a tiebreaker to that team and be left out of the playoffs.

The NFC's sixth seed is locked into a game in Philadelphia against Michael Vick and the third-seeded Eagles. Now, the Bucs will watch the Packers and Giants to see if they will be the squad headed to the City of Brothery Love.

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NFL Playoffs: Jets Win, But Likely To Be Sixth Seed

The New York Jets are entering the NFL playoffs on a high note.

But their win today likely won't change their seeding.

The Jets cruised past the Buffalo Bills, winning 38-7 — Mark Sanchez didn't even attempt a pass — but given the Steelers' sizable lead on the Browns, the Jets probably didn't do anything for their playoff seeding.

The only way the Jets could have improved on their seeding is with a win and a Steelers loss, which would have moved them from the No. 6 seed to the No. 5 seed. That seems unlikely to happen, unless the Browns have a 38-point comeback in their back pocket for the end of today's fourth quarter against the Steelers.

The good news for the Jets? The Chiefs' struggles against the Raiders mean that the Jets and Chiefs might still meet at Arrowhead Stadium in the first round of the AFC playoffs. If the Chiefs cannot come back against the Raiders and the Colts take care of business against the dysfunctional Titans, it'll be a matchup of the No. 4 and No. 5 teams at Arrowhead next weekend.

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