In 2020, the NFL’s number of playoff teams moved up from 12 to 14, with seven teams in each conference now making it. That added a game to Wild Card weekend and instead of doing three on Saturday and three on Sunday in January of 2022, this year they’ve decided to bump one of the Saturday games to Monday night. If you’re keeping track, that’s one late afternoon and one prime-time game on Saturday, two afternoon and one prime-time game on Sunday, and a prime-time game on Monday.
You’ll notice we aren’t using “Monday Night Football” in italics because that’s the name of the ESPN/ABC broadcast. The broadcaster for the Monday night game has not been determined, though ESPN/ABC will have one game that weekend as will FOX. NBC and CBS will have two games each.
The last Monday night playoff game was in 1988, so you can understand why this change is a big deal. There have only been four ever, with two in 1977 and one in 1983. All four of those were bumped from Sunday to Monday because Sunday was December 25th.
It is expected that the winner of the Monday night contest will play the following Sunday in the divisional round instead of on Saturday, in order to get six days of rest.
The Buffalo Bills have played in the Wild Card round in three of the last four seasons. They were the early afternoon game on Saturday last year (the time slot that was just eliminated), Saturday afternoon in 2019, and Sunday afternoon in 2017. They are routinely put in the lowest-eyeball time slots, which would seem to favor a Sunday 1 p.m. Eastern slot come this January.