The NFL completed the regular season schedule on New Year’s Eve meaning there is no Monday Night Football on January 1, 2018. If you are looking to watch pro football, you will have to wait until Saturday, January 6 as the NFL playoffs kick off. The good news is college football has several prime offerings to get football fans through New Year’s Day.
Both the College Football Playoff semifinal matchups take place tonight as the national championship matchup is decided. Georgia takes on Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl at 5 p.m. Eastern on ESPN. Alabama squares off with Clemson in the Sugar Bowl at 8:45 p.m. Eastern on ESPN. It marks the third straight postseason matchup between the two teams.
There are also plenty of afternoon college football matchups. UCF takes on Auburn in the Peach Bowl at 12:30 p.m. Eastern on ESPN. Notre Dame squares off with LSU in the Citrus Bowl at 1 p.m. Eastern on ABC. Michigan and South Carolina kick the day of football off at 12 p.m. Eastern on ESPN 2.
The NFL has offered a unique schedule over the past few weeks. The league has not had a Thursday Night Football matchup since Week 14, choosing instead to have some Saturday games. For Week 17, all games were played on New Year’s Eve given the playoff field had not been set. Week 16 was unique as Sunday fell on Christmas Eve, and the NFL chose to use put games on for three straight days. Christmas Day featured an earlier game, the Raiders and Eagles, in addition to the traditional Monday Night Football time slot.
The NFL playoff field is set with four games taking place this weekend. Tennessee and Kansas City kick off Wild Card Weekend on Saturday, January 6 at 4:35 p.m. Eastern. The Falcons square off with the Rams at 8:15 p.m. on NBC. Jacksonville takes on Buffalo at 1:05 p.m. Eastern on Sunday, January 7. Finally, the Carolina Panthers face the New Orleans Saints in an NFC South showdown.
The NFL ratings continued to decline this season. Even primetime matchups like Monday Night Football and Sunday Night Football took a hit. Yahoo details the declining ratings noting the NFL is still wildly popular when compared to any other program.
According to Sports Business Daily, ESPN averaged 10.8 million viewers for its Monday Night Football games this year, the lowest average on record, and NBC averaged 18.2 million viewers for Sunday Night Football games this year, the lowest figure since 2008.
Last year, when NFL television ratings fell, the league pointed to the distraction of the presidential election. What’s the excuse now?
All that being said, it’s important to remember that NFL games still dominate other live programming. 44 of the best-rated primetime TV programs of 2017 were NFL games. So think of it this way: primetime NFL games, for years and years, delivered outstanding ratings; now they deliver just very good ratings.
Here’s a look at this weekend’s NFL playoff schedule.
NFL Playoff Schedule: Wild Card Weekend
|DATE||GAME||TIME (ET)/TV CHANNEL|
|Jan. 6||Tennessee Titans vs. Kansas City Chiefs||4:35 p.m. ESPN/ABC|
|Jan. 6||Atlanta Falcons vs. L.A. Rams||8:15 p.m. NBC|
|Jan. 7||Buffalo Bills vs. Jacksonville Jaguars||1:05 p.m. CBS|
|Jan. 7||Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints||4:40 p.m. Fox|