The ever-changing landscape in the NFL is illustrated by this weekend’s wild-card round playoff games. Of the eight teams playing this weekend, just one made the playoffs last year. Yes, that would be the defending Super Bowl champion Eagles, who opened as the biggest underdogs.

Here is a look at the four weekend games. All times are Eastern.


AFC: No. 6 Indianapolis Colts (10-6) at No. 3 Houston Texans (11-5), 4:35 p.m. (ESPN/ABC)

These teams have split two regular-season games, with each scoring 58 points. After a 1-5 start, the Colts have rebounded in a big way under former Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich, in his first season as head coach. Indianapolis enters the playoffs on a four-game winning streak.

Andrew Luck, who started the season slowly after missing last year due to a shoulder injury, threw 39 touchdown passes and 15 interceptions. Luck has just a 70.8 passer rating in six career playoff games. Receiver T.Y. Hilton has not been 100 percent with an ankle injury. He has not caught a TD pass in six games but remains a threat, with 23 receptions for 483 yards during the current four-game win streak.

Colts rookie linebacker Darius Leonard has been an outstanding second round pick from South Carolina State. He ended up leading the NFL with 163 tackles.

Houston defensive lineman J.J. Watt finished second in the NFL with 16 sacks, although none of them came in a 32-30 loss to the Eagles. Quarterback Deshaun Watson was sacked an NFL-high 62 times, but he still had a 103.1 passer rating. DeAndre Hopkins, who had 115 receptions for 1,572 yards and 11 TDs, might be the best receiver in the NFL.

Line: Texans -1.5

Postgame headline: The good Luck continues as Indy advances

NFC: No. 5 Seattle Seahawks (10-6) at No. 4 Dallas Cowboys (10-6), 8:15 p.m. (Fox)

The Seahawks were supposed to be rebuilding this season but Russell Wilson -- who threw 35 touchdown passes and just seven interceptions -- had one of his best seasons, which is saying something. Wilson was efficient in a 24-13 home win over Dallas in the third game of the season, throwing for 192 yards, two TDs and no interceptions.

As well as Wilson has played, Seattle quietly led the NFL in rushing, averaging 160 yards per game.

Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson throws a pass against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 17.
Ted S. Warren / AP
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson throws a pass against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 17.

Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott shared the NFL lead with 12 fumbles and was tied for third with six lost fumbles.

Both quarterbacks have been sacked a lot, with Prescott sacked 56 times and Wilson 51, which is second and third respectively in the NFL.

The Cowboys have been a much different team since the arrival of Amari Cooper, as the Eagles discovered. In nine games for Dallas after being acquired by Oakland, Cooper had 53 receptions for 725 yards and six TDs, including three scores in a 29-23 OT win over the visiting Eagles on Dec. 9. It also helps to have the NFL’s leading rusher in Ezekiel Elliott, who rushed for 1,434 yards (4.7 avg.) and six TDs.

Line: Cowboys -1.5

Postgame headline: Another disappointing end of the season for Jerry and the ‘Boys


AFC: No. 5 Los Angeles Chargers (12-4) at No. 4 Baltimore Ravens (10-6), 1:05 p.m. (CBS)

Can a team really win the Super Bowl by focusing so heavily on running the ball? Baltimore will try to prove that it can. Rookie Lamar Jackson went 6-1 as the starting quarterback when he replaced an injured Joe Flacco, who then couldn’t earn his job back. In the seven games as a starter, Jackson has rushed for 556 yards (4.7 avg.) and four touchdowns.

During the Ravens' 22-10 win at the Chargers on Dec. 22, Jackson threw for a career-high 204 yards along with one TD pass and no interceptions. He also rushed for 39 yards on 13 carries.

The Ravens were second in the NFL in scoring defense, allowing 17.9 ppg. Baltimore safety Eric Weddle earned his sixth Pro Bowl selection, three with the Ravens and three with the Chargers.

In the loss to the Ravens, Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers threw for 181 yards, no touchdowns, and two interceptions. In his last three games, Rivers threw three TD passes but six interceptions. Rivers is 4-5 in nine career playoff games and has thrown for 11 TDs and nine interceptions.

A key could be the play of Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa, who missed the first nine games because of injury and finished with 5.5 sacks in just seven games.

Line: Ravens minus-2.5.

Postgame headline: Is this the end of the Harbaugh and Flacco era in Baltimore?

NFC: No. 6 Philadelphia (9-7) at No. 3 Chicago (12-4), 4:40 p.m. (NBC)

The Eagles have won five of their last six games, including three in a row, and have serious momentum heading into the postseason.

Chicago led the NFL in scoring defense, allowing just 17.7 points per game. The Bears' Khalil Mack was receiving defensive player of the year mentions before suffering an ankle injury that forced him to miss two games. He still finished with 12.5 sacks on a Bears team that was tied for third in the NFL with 50 sacks.

A key will be how the Eagles' offensive line fares against the Bears' defensive line. The Eagles allowed 40 sacks this season. The Bears led the NFL in rushing defense, allowing 80 yards per game.

On offense, quarterback Mitchell Trubisky threw 24 TD passes and 12 interceptions. The Bears don’t need him to win the game, but he can’t lose it for them either.

As for the Eagles, Nick Foles again has found his late-season magic. In leading the Eagles to three straight wins, Foles has thrown six touchdown passes against three interceptions and has a 108.4 passer rating.

Line: Bears minus-6.

Postgame headline: The magic of St. Nick continues