An extra bye week is as good as gold in the NFL and as is tradition, the top-seeded team from each conference has received a bye week for their efforts over the past 17 weeks.
This scheduling format ensures that the top-seeded teams who enjoyed the most success throughout the regular season are not only rewarded with a week off to rest and heal but also guaranteed home-field advantage through the Conference Championship round.
AFC Bye Week
(1) Kansas City Chiefs (14-2, AFC West Champions)
The Chiefs won 14 games this year en route to the top overall seed in the NFL playoffs and will spend their bye week with a close eye on the matchups that will determine their next opponent. Unless there are major upsets elsewhere in the bracket, the Chiefs should welcome either the 4th seed Tennessee Titans or the 5th seed Baltimore Ravens into Arrowhead Stadium next weekend, depending on which of those teams emerges victorious on Sunday. The playoffs are set up to ensure that the top seed plays the lowest remaining seed, so if the 6th seeded Browns defeat the 3 seed Steelers or the 7 seed Colts defeat 2nd seeded Buffalo, one of these teams will square off with Kansas City instead.
The Chiefs had 11 players on their injury report heading into week 17 so this bye week will allow them to get healthy and attempt to roll into the Divisional Round at full strength, no matter who the opponent may be. Kansas City was 6-2 at home this year, but although the team is undefeated on the road, a team having to set foot into Arrowhead Stadium to face a healthy and motivated Chiefs team in mid-January equates to worse case scenario for many of the other AFC squads.
NFC Bye Week
(1) Green Bay Packers (13-3, NFC North Champions)
Green Bay was propelled into the top seed in the NFC by superstar QB Aaron Rodgers and his frequent connections with dynamic WR Davante Adams. Green Bay entered week 17 with 14 players on their injury report and likely countless others who were nursing more minor wounds. All of these players will enjoy their bye week opportunity to take time off and observe the rest of the playoff field.
Green Bay went 7-1 at their home venue of Lambeau Field this season, and enter the playoffs on a 6-game win streak, excited at the prospect of not having to travel for any playoff games this year. Like their AFC counterpart, Green Bay will face whichever victorious Super Wild Card weekend team has the worst-remaining seed. If there are no upsets, this would likely bring Tom Brady and the 5th seed Tampa Bay Buccaneers to Lambeau Field for a Divisional Round matchup filled with star players all over the field.
A bye week at this juncture of the season is invaluable, so look for the Packers and the Chiefs to look just a step faster than their respective opponents next week, as the most talented teams in the league generally know how to utilize that extra week of preparation in a way that allows them to get the absolute most from it.Published 09 Jan 2021, 03:49 IST