A wild NFL season unlike any other will also feature a Wild Card Weekend unlike any other.
Thanks to the addition of two new playoff spots, Super Wild Card Weekend will feature two days of triple-headers, beginning at 1pm ET on Saturday. The games get underway with the first-ever #7-seed Indianapolis Colts visiting #2 Buffalo Bills (1:05pm, CBS*) followed by the #6 Los Angeles Rams traveling to the Emerald City to play their divisional rival, the #3 Seattle Seahawks (4:40pm ET, FOX^). The nightcap sees Tom Brady and the #5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers taking on NFL-Least winners #4 Washington (8:15pm ET, NBC^).
Sunday’s opener between Lamar Jackson and the #5 Baltimore Ravens at #4 Tennessee Titans might be the most interesting game of the weekend (1:05pm ET, ESPN - More on this broadcast below). The afternoon game between the #7 Chicago Bears and #2 New Orleans Saints (4:40pm ET, CBS*) will also be available on Amazon Prime. And Super Wild Card Weekend wraps up with the first playoff game for the #6 Cleveland Browns in 18 years, against their hated division rivals #2 Pittsburgh Steelers no less (8:15pm ET, NBC^).
Here on Sling, all Orange subscribers will be able to watch the first game of Sunday’s action on an ESPN Megacast across multiple networks (ESPN, ESPN2, and Freeform among others), a first in their long history. The main ESPN broadcast will be anchored by the Monday Night Football crew of Steve Levy, Brian Griese, Louis Riddick and Lisa Salters with officiating expert John Parry.
Jesse Palmer and Maria Taylor will anchor Freeform’s “Watch Party,” which will feature appearances from “high profile guests” that “will touch on multiple topics, including matters surrounding the game and within pop culture.” Only a few names have been confirmed—Good Trouble’s Cierra Ramirez and Motherland: Fort Salem’s Demetria McKinney and Ashley Nicole Williams— but plan on seeing stars “from different backgrounds and genres, including television, music, sports, ties to Baltimore and Nashville and more.”
In addition to the guests, Freeform will also air a special performance from DJ Khalid at halftime. Given that the most popular songs from the superstar DJ feature the biggest names in rap and pop music, it will be interesting to see what "surprises" he has up his sleeve.
For football fans into the X’s-and-O’s, ESPN2 will have the NFL debut of Film Room. The idea of a live film room with real-time analysis and strategic breakdowns has been used by ESPN for College football Megacasts since 2014, but this will be the first time they’ve tried the concept on a pro football game. Analysts include Tedy Bruschi, Matt Hasselbeck and Rex Ryan from Sunday NFL Countdown, Booger McFarland and Keyshawn Johnson. ESPN2 says “the analysts will be hyper-focused on the detailed breakdown of the game plan approach of both teams, including telestrator analysis and predictive strategy adjustments in real time.”
For the Spanish-speaking audience, the ESPN Deportes team of Pablo Viruega and Eduardo Varela will be on the call, with John Sutcliffe reporting. In addition to the Wild Card game, ESPN Deportes will also carry the NFL Divisional game on January 16 or 17, the AFC Championship on January 24, and Super Bowl LV on February 7.
So there will be an unprecedented number of ways to watch the first game of the second day of the longest Wild Card Weekend in NFL history. After a year (and week!) like this, teams and their fans have earned it.
Use the link below to sign up for Sling Orange with ESPN.