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Countdown to NFL playoffs concludes

10 months 3 weeks 5 days ago January 09, 2016 Jan 9, 2016 Saturday, January 09 2016 January 09, 2016 5:34 PM in Sports
Source: Associated Press
By: APNewsNow

Surging Kansas City has taken its 10-game winning streak on the road to face AFC South champ Houston in the first AFC Wild Card game. At the half the Chiefs had a 13-0 lead.

Alex Smith has led a resurgent Kansas City team that struggled through a 1-5 start to the season with the only win coming in the season opener against the Texans. The Chiefs finished second in the AFC West to Denver.

Houston has experienced its own turnaround, winning seven of the last nine games to clinch their post-season spot on the final week of the regular season by winning the AFC South.

They did it with four different quarterbacks and after losing star running back Arian Foster to a season-ending Achilles tendon injury in October.

The Texans passer-hunting defense is led by defensive end J.J. Watt, whose 17 1-2 sacks was tops in the NFL.

The Texans have announced that outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney will miss the game with a foot injury.

The heated rivalry between the Steelers and Bengals gets renewed in Cincinnati tonight.

When they met on Dec. 13 at Paul Brown Stadium, they scuffled on the field during pregame warmups. There were so many personal fouls during the game that the league handed out more than $100,000 in fines in Pittsburgh's 33-20 win.

AJ McCarron will start at quarterback for the 12-4 Bengals in place of the injured Andy Dalton, who's still recovering from a broken thumb on his non-passing hand.  McCarron hasn't thrown an interception in three starts for Dalton.

The 10-6 Steelers will be without running back DeAngelo Williams who is out with an injured right foot.  That will put additional pressure on Ben Roethlisberger (RAWTH'-lihs-bur-gur) carry the load offensively for Pittsburgh.

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