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Saturday Wild Card open thread: Raiders at Bengals, Patriots at Bills

The playoffs are here!

Buffalo Bills v New England Patriots Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images

Who’s ready for some Wild Card action? It’s Day 1 of the NFL playoffs, and that means some exciting football awaits us.

To begin the evening, the Cincinnati Bengals host the Las Vegas Raiders. These two teams had significantly different Week 18s. The Bengals, having clinched their division, rested many of their starters, losing to the Browns as a result. It matters little, however, as the red-hot Bengals offense looks primed to do some damage in the playoffs.

The question is if they can overcome a team that fought tooth and nail to make the playoffs. The Raiders won in dramatic fashion last week, kicking a field goal to send themselves to the playoffs—and the Chargers out of the playoffs. It crushed our dreams of a tie, but the Raiders are looking to do the same to the Bengals this week.

Will their Cinderella run under an interim head coach continue?

Las Vegas Raiders at Cincinnati Bengals

Date: Saturday, January 15, 2022
Time: 4:30 p.m. ET
TV: NBC
TV announcers: Mike Tirico, Drew Brees, Kathryn Tappen
Online streaming: Peacock, Yahoo Sports app

The late game features an always bitter AFC East rivalry. The New England Patriots have long-held dominance over the division, but with Tom Brady in Tampa, the Buffalo Bills have pounced on the vacant throne. Buffalo fell just shy of the Super Bowl last season, and while this year’s road to glory is equally challenging, they have a good chance to go all the way.

Standing in their way are the Patriots, experiencing a resurgence following a middling 2020 campaign. Although a Wild Card spot is not New England’s usual route to the playoffs, it is one they will take on the back of a surprising rookie season from quarterback Mac Jones. The Bills and Patriots split their season series. Their first matchup in Buffalo was an adventure weather-wise, and Jones threw only thrice as a result. The Patriots managed to win a low-scoring affair, but Buffalo would rebound in Week 16 thanks to a stellar Josh Allen performance.

Will the Patriots get back to their playoff winning ways, or will the Bills truly entrench themselves as the team to beat in the AFC East?

New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills

Date: Saturday, January 15, 2022
Time: 8:15 p.m. ET
TV: CBS
TV announcers: Ian Eagle, Charles Davis, Evan Washburn
Online streaming: Paramount +, Yahoo Sports app