After an unprecedented Week 18 that involved playoff-seeding chaos, the Wild Card Round bracket is set in the NFL, and it involved several former Texas football players playing key roles for their respective teams.
No. 5 Las Vegas Raiders at No. 4 Cincinnati Bengals, Saturday, Jan. 15, 3:30 p.m. CT, NBC
With Joseph Ossai on the reserve/injured list, former Longhorns center Trey Hopkins carries the Longhorns’ banner into this one. The sixth-year pro has started 15 games for the Bengals. He didn’t play last week as he was on the COVID-19/Reserve list. The Raiders have no Longhorns on their roster.
No. 6 New England Patriots at No. 3 Buffalo Bills, Saturday, Jan. 15, 7:15 p.m. CT, CBS
For New England, defensive back Adrian Phillips is the player to watch. The eighth-year pro is one of the stars of the Patriots’ defense, with 41 tackles and four interceptions. The Bills have no Longhorns on their roster.
No. 7 Philadelphia Eagles at No. 2 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday, Jan. 16, 12:00 p.m. CT, FOX
Hassan Ridgeway, the sixth-year defensive tackle, plays a role for the Eagles as a rotational tackle. He’s played in 12 games and has eight tackles. The Buccaneers have no Longhorns on the roster.
No. 6 San Francisco 49ers at No. 3 Dallas Cowboys, Sunday, Jan. 16, 3:30 p.m. CT, CBS, Nickelodeon
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Third-year defensive end Charles Omenihu is with the 49ers. He’s played in 12 games and has 13 tackles. For the Cowboys, fourth-year offensive lineman Connor Williams has played in all 17 games and made 14 starts.
No. 7 Pittsburgh Steelers at No. 2 Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, Jan. 16, 7:15 p.m. CT, NBC
While there are no Longhorns on the Steelers’ roster, Alex Okafor is a defensive end for the Chiefs. The nine-year veteran already has a Super Bowl ring, won with the Chiefs two seasons ago. In 2021 he’s played 15 games and has seven tackles and 1 1/2 sacks.
No. 5 Arizona Cardinals at No. 4 Los Angeles Rams, Monday, Jan. 17, 7:15 p.m. CT, ABC/ESPN
The Cardinals have a pair of Longhorns. Linebacker Jordan Hicks is a starter who has 62 tackles and four sacks this season. Colt McCoy is the backup quarterback, but the 12th-year pro played in four different games for an injured Kyler Murray. The Rams have no Longhorns on their roster.
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.
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