The NFL 2015 regular season is in the books, and the playoffs are about to begin, starting with Wild Card Weekend January 9 and January 10 — and football fans can watch live online with streaming links now offered for all four win-or-go-home matchups, starting on Saturday afternoon when the Kansas City Chiefs kick off against the AFC South champion Houston Texans and winding up Sunday night in Washington as the NFC East winning Redskins take on the Green Bay Packers.
Below are brief looks at all four games, along with streaming links and online start times for each.
But first, in the below video, the Showtime Network Inside The NFL panel of experts offer their predictions for how the NFL Wild Card Weekend playoff games will unfold.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS VS. HOUSTON TEXANS
The Chiefs finished the season at 11-5, but with the Denver Broncos compiling a 12-4 record to win the AFC West, Kansas City was relegated to a Wild Card slot, meaning they must play at least their first two playoff games — if they survive their Wild Card game Saturday — on the road.
But with the AFC South-winning Houston Texans at just 9-7 in what is arguably the NFL’s worst division, Kansas City goes into the game as the clear favorite. Using a mathematical formula for calculating win probability, Pro Football Reference gives the Chiefs a 58 percent chance of winning, while Las Vegas oddsmakers have anointed Kansas City a 3 1/2-point betting favorite.
The Chiefs last faced the Texans on September 13 in Kansas City, with Houston losing 27-20.
Watch the Kansas City Chiefs vs. Houston Texans AFC Wild Card Game Number 1 live online via WatchESPN at this link. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:35 p.m. Central Time at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas, on Saturday, January 9. That’s 4:35 p.m. Eastern Time, 1:35 p.m. Pacific.
PITTSBURGH STEELERS VS. CINCINATTI BENGALS
The Steelers finished strong after a slow start, winning five of their last seven games to end up at 10-6, second in the AFC North. But the first place team, the Cincinnati Bengals, despite a 12-4 record including an eight-game win streak to start the season, lost starting quarterback Andy Dalton to a broken thumb in Week 14 and won just one of three games started by backup A.J. McCarron.
As a result, the Steelers go into the road game as favorites, with Vegas giving them a 2 1/2 point edge in the betting odds. Pro Football Reference puts the Pittsburgh win probability at 57 percent.
The divisional rivals split their two regular season showdowns, with the Bengals winning on the road 16-10 in Week 8, and the Steelers returning the favor by a 33-20 score in Cincinnati six weeks later — in the game that saw Dalton break his thumb.
Watch the Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cincinnati Bengals AFC Wild Card Game Number 2 live online via CBSSports.com at this link. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:15 p.m. Eastern Time at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio, on Saturday, January 9 — 5:15 p.m. Pacific.
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS VS. MINNESOTA VIKINGS
No NFC team is more feared in this postseason than the Seahawks, last year’s Super Bowl runners-up and the 2014 Super Bowl champs. After a bizarre 2-4 start to their 2015 season, the Seahawks may now be favorites to return to their third straight Super Bowl, after winning eight of their next 10 games following the slow start.
Though the Vikings at 11-5 finished a game better than the Seahawks and beat out Green Bay to claim the NFC North title, most experts expect Seattle to roll through Minnesota on their way to a divisional round game against the 15-1 Carolina Panthers the following week.
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The Seahawks’ win probability is estimated at 63 percent, and Las Vegas oddsmakers see Seattle as six-point favorites despite playing in Minnesota. That’s the widest point spread of all four Wild Card Weekend games.
If there were any doubt, the last time the two squared off, on December 6, Seattle —playing at home — crushed the Vikings 38-7.
Watch the Seattle Seahawks vs. Minnesota Vikings NFC Wild Card Game Number 1 live online via NBC Live Extra at this link. Kickoff is scheduled for 12:05 p.m. Central Time at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on Sunday, January 10. That’s 1:05 p.m. Eastern Time and an eye-opening 10:05 a.m. Pacific, for early-rising Seahawks fans.
GREEN BAY PACKERS VS. WASHINGTON REDSKINS
Even though they barely topped a tepid NFC East with a 9-7 record, the Redskins were nearly unstoppable at home in Washington — actually, in the suburb of Landover, Maryland — winning seven straight there after an opening week loss to the Miami Dolphins.
Meanwhile, Green Bay started their season with a six-game winning streak and appeared to be the clear class of the NFC — before collapsing to lose four of their next five, and finish the season with a Wild Card berth at 10-6.
That’s why Vegas makes Washington a 3 1/2-point favorite in this game. But the mathematicians at Pro Football Reference see the situation a little differently. According to the win probability formula, Green Bay has a 53 percent chance of emerging from Wild Card Weekend with a victory.
Green Bay and Washington did not face each other during the 2015 NFL regular season.
Watch the Green Bay Packers vs. Washington Redskins final NFL Wild Card Weekend game live online via Fox Sports Go at this link. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:40 p.m. Eastern Time at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, on Sunday, January 10 — 1:40 p.m. Pacific Time.
[Photo By Hannah Foslien/Getty Images]