USA TODAY Sports’ NFL wild-card round picks and Super Bowl 56 predictions


It took the entirety of the NFL’s 2021 regular-season schedule – it contained 272 games for the first time – to set the 14-team postseason field. The playoffs finally here, the next month should be every bit as exciting given how closely bunched most of these teams have been over the past four-plus months.

The Super Bowl 56 tournament (we’ve got predictions for that, too) kicks off with “Super Wild Card Weekend,” which will mark belated playoff returns by the Cincinnati Bengals and Las Vegas Raiders, annual (Patriots-Bills) and classic (49ers-Cowboys) rivalries, the first Monday night postseason game in 33 years and – in all probability – the final snaps for Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger, depending on how long the seventh-seeded Steelers stick around.

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