The NFL playoffs kick off with a sneaky good game between the (5) Kansas City Chiefs and the (4) Houston Texans. The Chiefs are winners of ten straight, while the Texans rebounded from a tough start of the season to dethrone the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC South.
Kick off is at 4:35 PM EST on ESPN and ABC. The Texans are hosting.
The Patriots divisional round opponent will not be determined until later today, when the Bengals host the Steelers, but this game matters. If the Steelers win the late game, the Patriots will play the winner of this match-up.
So do the Patriots want the Texans or the Chiefs to win?
The most ideal scenario would be Texans and Steelers victories. This would let the Patriots face the Texans, a team New England defeated 27-6 in week 14. The Steelers would play the Broncos, and Pittsburgh had a 34-27 victory over Denver in week 15.
But a Texans and Bengals victory could be the worst case scenario. The Bengals could get Andy Dalton back next week, and a Denver-Houston game all but assures the Broncos will make the conference championship.
A Chiefs and Steelers victory pairing would offer the Patriots a revenge game for the Chiefs 2014 week 4 decimation of New England, while the Steelers would get another crack at the Broncos.
If the Chiefs and Bengals win, the Patriots would have to face the potential Dalton-Bengals, but at least the Chiefs have beaten the Broncos 29-13 in week 10.
Essentially, the two wild card teams present the best opportunity to knock out the Broncos prior to the AFC Championship game. While the Patriots would like to face the Texans, it might be in their best interest to root for the Chiefs because that means the Broncos will face either Kansas City or Pittsburgh in the divisional round.