The NFC West champion, 7-9 Seattle Seahawks and the Super Bowl champion, 11-5 New Orleans Saints kick off the NFL Playoff schedule Saturday afternoon, taking the 3:30 slot on NBC—the only spot, perhaps, where fans in Louisiana and Washington can both enjoy a game without it ending up in a strange time zone. They'll be followed by the New York Jets and the Indianapolis Colts, where Peyton Manning will look to carry his Colts past a Jets team that finished with a stronger record and a WIld Card spot.
Such is the nature of this year's division champions—both the Seahawks and, to a lesser extent, the Colts benefitted from week divisions relative to their round one competitors, who will now seek to redress that imbalance. But the division champs have one last, very strong advantage to their names—the home field advantage. The Saints and Seahawks will be playing in Qwest Field, where the Seahawks have cultivated a strong 12th-Man-styled following—even if they occasionally vote for the Seahawks to lose in playoff polls. The Colts will welcome the Jets to Lucas Oil Stadium, their brand-new, old-looking replacement for the RCA Dome.
Tomorrow's division champions will also be in trouble—the Kansas City Chiefs will host the 12-4 Baltimore Ravens, while the Philadelphia Eagles will host the evenly matched Green Bay Packers.