The whacky, weird, and wild 2015-2016 NFL regular season came to a close last week with your typical day of chaos. The Pittsburgh Steelers put themselves in position to earn a playoff spot by beating the Cleveland Browns, then received a Rex Ryan gift in the form of a Buffalo victory over the New York Jets. While that was happening, the Miami Dolphins beat the New England Patriots, and the Denver Broncos came from behind to beat the San Diego/Los Angeles/Southern California Chargers to earn the top seed in the AFC.
With the 12 teams set and seeded, it's now entirely possible your team has to wait another year before they can dream of hoisting the Lombardi Trophy. But just in case you're not sure, we hope to make things a little bit easier on you with your annual rooting guide for Boston College Eagles fans:
Saturday, January 9th
#5 Kansas City Chiefs at #4 Houston Texans (AFC Wild Card Round)
4:35 PM, ESPN
No team's been hotter down the stretch than the Kansas City Chiefs, who had a chance in Week 16 to knock the Broncos from the #1 seed all the way to out of the playoffs if everything broke correctly. Instead, the Chiefs earned the top at-large bid to the postseason, earning them a trip to Houston to take on the 9-7 Houston Texans.
For those interest, there really isn't a lot of Boston College love on either side. The Chiefs don't have a single Eagle on their roster. Neither do the Texans.
Before he was one of the 84 starting quarterbacks for the Texans this year, Brian Hoyer was the starting QB for Michigan State. He started for the Spartans when they played a bowl game against Matt Ryan and the Boston College Eagles during the year when BC lost the ACC Championship Game and got totally hosed by the conference's bowl pecking order. So we could root against that, but Hoyer's a likable guy.
Unless you want to root against Bill O'Brien for picking up the reigns of Penn State at a time when the program was at its lowest, which ultimately means he's responsible for James Franklin and the Pinstripe Bowl last year. In that case, go for it. Then again, if Bill O'Brien wasn't a coaching disciple under Bill Belichick, he wouldn't have been up for the task to that job. Ultimately, it's Belichick's fault that BC lost the Pinstripe Bowl, meaning the NFL should suspend Tom Brady for eight games.
I'm going for Houston here. Paul Pasqualoni is their defensive line coach, which means we can throw shade at UConn fans if they win. So go for that.
Rooting interest: Houston Texans
#6 Pittsburgh Steelers at #3 Cincinnati Bengals (AFC Wild Card Round)
8:15 PM, CBS
The Bengals had a chance to finish with a first round bye and home field advantage throughout the playoffs before Andy Dalton broke his hand making a tackle against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Now they're riding AJ McCarron into the postseason, which worked well for Alabama once upon a time. On the bright side, at least the Bengals have a long history of postseason success under Marvin Lewis to fall back on.
In terms of BC ties, the Bengals have nothing, which makes them easy fodder when playing against the Steelers because Tyler Murphy is signed to the black and yellow. A wide receiver and occasional quarterback for Pittsburgh this year, the former BC signal caller was released in November to make roster room for defensive back Doran Grant. He was resigned to Pittsburgh's practice squad shortly thereafter. His lone catch came at the end of the season's opening night when he caught a 16 yard pass that helped the Steelers cover the point spread and ruin every gambler's night that night.
Pittsburgh also has Shakim Phillips on their practice squad. That makes this an absolute no brainer for BC fans.
Rooting Interest: Pittsburgh Steelers
Sunday, January 10
#6 Seattle Seahawks at #3 Minnesota Vikings
1:05 PM, NBC
There isn't a soul alive who had Minnesota as division champion at the beginning of the season, and if you did, you either cashed in big time or are a liar, as far as I'm concerned. Meanwhile, Seattle rebounded from losing in the Super Bowl to earn a wild card berth after turning the lights on following a slow start.
In terms of BC connections, Seattle has old pal Kevin Pierre-Louis on the active roster, making this the first time an Eagle alum will be in uniform for a playoff game in 2016. Minnesota has no connections on their active roster.
Bonus points for Seattle for having my distant cousin Ahtyba Rubin. We're not really related, but it's fun to just act like it.
Rooting Interest: Seattle Seahawks
#5 Green Bay Packers at #4 Washington Redskins
4:40 PM, Fox
Aaron Rogers completely assassinated my fantasy team (as did a number of injuries) in an atypical down year at the Frozen Tundra. Needing one win over the last couple of weeks to sew up the division, Green Bay was blown out by Arizona on the road, then lost on Sunday Night Football last week to give the NFC North to the Vikings. As a result, the Packers find themselves heading east to take on a suddenly streaky-good Washington team.
Ever since he blew up the media and screamed, "YOU LIKE THAT," Kirk Cousins has been on a roll. As a result, RG3 became a memory and the NFC East became property of the nation's capital. But that's not what we care about.
Will Blackmon is the defensive back for Washington while BJ Raji suits up on the defensive line for Green Bay. Since there are no other connections, let's go to simple tiebreaker philosophies and pick against Washington.
Rooting Interest: Green Bay