Every game counts in the NFL, as we like to say, largely because the league uses its schedule to ensure it. Once again, its playoff field was not finalized until the 272nd and final game of the 2021 regular season.

Get our free mobile app

The Raiders' overtime victory over the Chargers on Sunday night locked in the AFC's final spots and set in motion the most exciting month of the NFL calendar.

While 2021 featured the NFL's first 17-game season, it was the second year of an expanded 14-team playoff format.

The No. 1 seeds in each conference -- the Titans in the AFC and the Packers in the NFC -- will receive first-round byes. The remaining 12 teams will play in next week's three-day wild-card extravaganza: two games on Saturday, three on Sunday, and a new Monday night finale.

Last season's top seeds each made it to their respective championship games, and the Chiefs also got to Super Bowl LV. But the eventual champion was the Buccaneers, who had advanced as a wild-card team. In other words, it's time to buckle up and prepare for some unexpected twists and turns.

Wild-card weekend: January 15, 16 and 17
NFC
(7) Philadelphia Eagles at (2) Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sunday, Noon on Fox

(6) San Francisco 49ers at (3) Dallas Cowboys
Sunday, 3:30 PM on CBS

(5) Arizona Cardinals at (4) Los Angeles Rams
Monday, 7:15 PM on ESPN/ABC/ESPN+

Bye: (1) Green Bay Packers

AFC
(7) Pittsburgh Steelers at (2) Kansas City Chiefs
Sunday, 7:15 PM on NBC

(6) New England Patriots at (3) Buffalo Bills
Saturday, 7:15 PM on CBS

(5) Las Vegas Raiders at (4) Cincinnati Bengals
Saturday, 3:30 PM on NBC

Bye: (1) Tennessee Titans

Ten Most Disappointing Minnesota Sports Seasons

The 2021 Minnesota Twins entered the season with high expectations, but unfortunately, they've made the list of most disappointing Minnesota teams of all time.

Disappointment is a common feeling for Minnesota sports fans as the years continue. Following the NBA Championship win for Milwaukee, SportsCenter was quick to point out that Minnesota has the current longest streak of seasons without a championship appearance in the four major sports (MLB/NBA/NFL/NHL). The Minnesota Lynx also chimed in on the stat after claiming four championships since 2011.

The ten teams that are on this list all follow a similar pattern. The year prior was either a great season with a playoff run or one that featured a strong core of players that appeared to have taken the next step. Offseason/preseason expectations were high with even Las Vegas oddsmakers believing in a deep run. Unfortunately, those preseason expectations fell short for the following teams. None of the teams listed below made the playoffs.