There are four NFL playoff games this weekend. Some of the best quarterbacks in the league — and Blake Bortles — will be in action and there are some juicy matchups. Spreading out the action on Saturday and Sunday is a logical move meant to maximize viewership — something that’s not always self-evident to certain large sports organizations.
While charting out couch time for the next two days, we had the realization that this may be the best football weekend of the year. Looking at the landscape, there are eight realistic candidates for the honor. Let’s explore each, taking away the specifics of this season and instead treating them as year-to-year, dynamic situations.
CFB Week 2/NFL Week 1
On Saturday, A few marquee nonconference games typically take place. On the whole, however, it’s a day for the big names to get fat on cupcakes. Competitive contests can be few and far between. The NFL is more popular than college football. There are many who refuse to acknowledge pigskin is back and fall is here until the compensated professionals begin competing in earnest. Hope springs eternal and every team is undefeated. Gambling and fantasy football once again become a part of a fan’s life — for better or worse.
CFB Week 13/NFL Week 12
Michigan-Ohio State. Florida-Florida State. Alabama-Auburn. Year in and year out, these decide conference crowns, if not national title contenders. The College Football Playoff picture has been debated and paths have been established. There is more action than conference championship week but no less intrigue. In the NFL, you get a full Thanksgiving Day slate before heading into a normal Sunday.
Championship Saturday/NFL Week 13
Tickets to college football’s final four can be punched or dreams can be dashed. The importance of these games is obvious. The Pac-12 title game is Friday night. Unfortunately the Big Ten and ACC title games take place at the same time, creating a poor viewing experience. I defy you to name something that happened during the 13th week of the NFL season.
New Year’s Bowls/NFL Week 17
We will make an executive decision here and say this one only qualifies if New Year’s Eve is on a Friday and New Year’s Day is a Saturday. When the stars align, this stretch is tough to beat. All of the biggest college teams are in action and NFL playoff spots/positioning are up for grabs.
NFL Wild Card/College Football Playoff National Title
Again, if we consider Monday night part of the weekend, this will get its fair share of votes. Meaningful action in both sports. Five games with high stakes — one with the highest stakes. We’ll leave this one up to your interpretation of what constitutes a “weekend.”
NFL Divisional Playoffs
Double the action of conference championship Sunday, double the pleasure. It’s hard to understand why anyone would prefer less football (perhaps your votes will prove people do). Helps dull the pain of no college ball.
NFL Conference Championships
Honest question here: Does anyone actually prefer the Super Bowl to this day?
It’s the biggest, most “important” sporting event of the year. Saturday and most of Sunday, however, is devoted to nothing more than pregame hype.