This Weekend In Sports — NFL Playoffs Wild Card Round
The first round of the NFL playoffs highlights the upcoming sports schedule. Here’s what to watch this weekend:
Friday, Jan. 3
2014 Cotton Bowl — (13) Oklahoma St. vs (8) Missouri
AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Tex.; 7:30 p.m. (ET) on Fox
Thirteenth-ranked Oklahoma State (10-2, 7-2 Big 12) takes on Missouri (11-2, 7-2 SEC) in the Cotton Bowl. Quarterback Clint Chelf leads the Cowboys’ attack; QB James Franklin guides the Tigers’ offense.
2014 Orange Bowl – (12) Clemson vs. (7) Ohio St.
Sun Life Stadium, Miami; 8:30 p.m. (ET) on ESPN
Two teams who were just a few tough losses away from the BCS title game face off as Clemson (10-2, 7-1 ACC) faces Ohio State (12-1, 8-0 Big Ten) in the Orange Bowl. Dynamic quarterback play should dominate the game as the Tigers’ Tajh Boyd lines up against the OSU defense, and the Buckeyes’ Braxton Miller leads his team against the Clemson ‘D.’
Saturday, Jan. 4
2014 BBVA Compass Bowl – Vanderbilt vs. Houston
Legion Field, Birmingham, Ala.; 1 p.m. (ET) on ESPN
Two unranked teams duel in this year’s Compass Bowl in Alabama, as Houston (8-4, 5-3 American) lines up against Vanderbilt (8-4, 4-4 SEC). Receiver Deontay Greenberry is the player to watch for the Cougars, while receiver Jordan Matthews is the top talent for Vandy. Many eyes will be on Commodores’ head coach James Franklin, who is a rising star among college football coaches.
NFL Playoffs – Kansas City Chiefs at Indianapolis Colts
Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis; 4:35 p.m. (ET) on NBC
Kansas City (11-5) travels to AFC South champion Indianapolis (11-5), where the Chiefs hope to avenge their 23-7 loss on December 22. The winning team advances to next week’s divisional round.
NFL Playoffs – New Orleans Saints at Philadelphia Eagles
Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia; 8:10 p.m. (ET) on NBC
Drew Brees leads New Orleans (11-5) against NFC East champ Philadelphia (10-6) and fellow Westlake H.S. (Austin, Tex.) alum Nick Foles in an NFC wild card round game. The Eagles and Saints offenses averaged 26 and 25 points per game respectively this season, but cold temperatures in the forecast could make this a low-scoring game.
Sunday, Jan. 5
NFL Playoffs – San Diego Chargers at Cincinnati Bengals
Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati; 1:05 p.m. (ET) on CBS
AFC wild card San Diego (9-7) visits AFC North champion Cincinnati (11-5) in a rematch from the teams’ Week 13 game, won by the Bengals 17-10. Cincinnati hopes quarterback Andy Dalton can lead the team to its first playoff win since 1991.
(21) San Diego St. at (16) Kansas
Allen Fieldhouse, Lawrence, Kan.; 4:30 p.m. (ET) on CBS
Twenty-first ranked San Diego State (11-1) hits the road to face No. 16 Kansas (9-3) in a battle of Top 25 teams. Senior guard Xavier Thames leads the Aztecs in scoring; super freshman Andrew Wiggins is the top scorer for the Jayhawks.
NFL Playoffs – San Francisco 49ers at Green Bay Packers
Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wisc.; 4:40 p.m. (ET) on Fox
San Francisco (12-4) travels to frigid Green Bay to face the NFC North champion Packers (8-7-1). The 49ers won the meeting between the teams in Week 1, but that game was played in comfortable California temperatures. Quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers and Colin Kaepernick will likely have to deal with below-zero conditions for most of the game.
(10) Oregon at (20) Colorado
Coors Events Center, Boulder, Colo. ; 5 p.m. (ET) on Fox Sports 1
The 10th-ranked Ducks of Oregon (12-0) face 20th-ranked Colorado (11-2) in a Pac-12 conference game on Sunday. Guard Joseph Young leads Oregon’s offense, while the Buffaloes are paced by long-range threat Spencer Dinwiddie.
(22) Iowa at (4) Wisconsin
Kohl Center, Madison, Wisc. ; 8 p.m. (ET) on Big Ten Network
Fourth-ranked Wisconsin (13-0) takes on 22nd-ranked Iowa (12-2) in a match-up of two of the Big Ten’s best teams. Senior guard Roy Devyn Marble keys the Hawkeyes’ attack; forwards Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker are the Badgers’ frontcourt scoring threats.