Fresh off its NFC East-clinching win over the Philadelphia Eagles, the Washington Football Team will turn its focus to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Saturday night. Here's what you need to know about the wild-card round showdown:
Date: Jan. 9
Time 8:15 p.m.
Location: FedExField | Landover, Md.
Washington, which won the NFC East with a 7-9 record, is the No. 4 seed in the NFC. It'll play the fifth-seeded Buccaneers, who finished in second place behind the New Orleans Saints in the NFC South.
Here are all of the first-round matchups:
- No. 1 Green Bay Packers (13-3): bye
- No. 7 Chicago Bears (8-8) at No. 2 New Orleans Saints (12-4): Sunday at 4:40 p.m. on CBS
- No. 6 Los Angeles Rams (10-6) at No. 3 Seattle Seahawks (12-4): Saturday at 4:40 p.m. on FOX
- No. 5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11-5) at No. 4 Washington (7-9): Saturday at 8:15 p.m.
- No. 1 Kansas City Chiefs (14-2): bye
- No. 7 Indianapolis Colts (11-5) at No. 2 Buffalo Bills (13-3): Saturday at 1:05 p.m. on CBS
- No. 6 Cleveland Browns (11-5) at No. 3 Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4): Sunday at 8:15 p.m. on NBC
- No. 5 Baltimore Ravens (11-5) at No. 4 Tennessee Titans (11-5): Sunday at 1:05 p.m. on ABC/ESPN
Washington, making its first postseason appearance since 2015, will have a difficult matchup against quarterback Tom Brady and the Buccaneers, who are one of the hottest teams in the NFL since starting the season 7-5. The Buccaneers have averaged 37 points per game during their four-game winning streak, while Washington has averaged 17.8 during that stretch.
But the 43-year-old Brady has rarely faced a defensive line like Washington's, who has hounded opposing quarterbacks throughout the season. Washington entered Sunday ranked third in passing defense and fourth in total defense.
"Tom Brady, I'm coming," rookie defensive end Chase Young said as he ran off the field after the Eagles game. "I want Tom. I want Tom."
Head coach Ron Rivera and his players have talked repeatedly about how once a team makes "the Big Dance," anything can happen. Their playoff run will start against a six-time Super Bowl champion in Brady, but Washington seems up for the challenge.
"I believe we can make some noise. I really do," Rivera said before the Eagles game. "I like the personnel we have. A lot of these guys have learned and grown into what we do. A lot of them are buying into what we do. Winning helps that. If you can win the division, all of a sudden, guys will go: 'Wow. Coach was right about us.'"