The NFL playoffs are here and there’s nothing better than the opening weekend when it comes to the action that gets offered. Six game, spread over three days, and the storylines are endless.
Let’s take a look with a Pick Six preview.
Six Games Suitable For Conversation
1.) Cleveland Browns at Houston Texans. Starting off hot! It’s the improbable matchup of the Houston Texans hosting a playoff game with rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud and rookie head coach DeMeco Ryans against their former quarterback DeShaun Watson. Wait...what? Watson isn’t playing? It’s Joe Flacco starting for the Browns? Yep, just like we all predicted. Three AFC North teams in the playoffs and the one that missed was the Cincinnati Bengals. Regardless of how this matchup may have sounded before the season, this might shape up to be the most fun game of the weekend.
2.) Miami Dolphins at Kansas City Chiefs. -30 degrees and snow - the perfect combination for two teams that are built on speed and elusiveness rather than tough, hard running. Tyreek Hill gets another crack at his former team, but will his speed - along with the speed of guys like Devon Achane, Raheem Mostert, Jaylen Waddle - is sure to be in top form on a field so frozen that Lambeau is jealous. The Chiefs have been bad this year. There’s no other way to put it. Mahomes looks bad, Kelce has been virtually non-existent, none of the receivers can catch and the only reason they won as many games as they did is because the defense is carrying them. Conventional wisdom says the Chiefs win this one due to the elements, but give me as much Mike McDaniel as possible.
3.) Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys. Mike McCarthy and his Dallas Cowboys have a chance to move on to the divisional round for the second year in a row and all that’s standing in their way is Jordan Love and McCarthy’s former team. The Packers’ turnaround compared to the beginning of the season is impressive and Love deserves a lot of credit for his improvement. Looks like the Packers may have been right drafting him afterall. We all know the world is rooting for the Packers - and if the Packers and Rams both win, the Bucs will host another playoff game should they beat the Eagles, so that’s a plus.
4.) Los Angeles Rams at Detroit Lions. Motor City Dan Campbell has these Lions buzzing - but now Matthew Stafford returns home to try and crush the hopes and dreams of the fans that he put it all on the line for for all those years. Jared Goff with a chance to prove to Sean McVay and the rest of the Rams brass that he could have been the quarterback they needed if they stuck with him. This one is going to be a shootout and I can’t wait for it.
5.) Pittsburgh Steelers at Buffalo Bills. Moved from Sunday to Monday due to weather, we now get to see Josh Allen take on...Mason Rudolph? All the credit in the world to Mike Tomlin for the job he continues to do with the Steelers. Easily one of the best coaches in the game and his team is built to win these cold, snowy games. Grind it out with Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren, tough physical defense to send after Allen. May just be an upset brewing in Buffalo - but probably not. Instead it’ll be the two headed monster of James Cook and Playoff Lenny carrying the load for the Bills.
6.) Philadelphia Eagles at Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Wow - not many people would have believed the Bucs would be in this situation, but here we are. Three straight division titles, four straight playoff appearances, and a matchup with a familiar playoff foe. The Bucs are 3-2 all time against the Eagles in the playoffs and can make it three in a row with a win on Monday night. It stinks that the Bucs are the ones stuck with the first two Monday night playoff games, but a chance to make up for last year’s embarrassing loss to the Cowboys - and they’ll face an Eagles team that has an injured Jalen Hurts, no A.J. Brown, and a defense allowing over 30 points per game over the last six weeks. Timing is everything and the Bucs need to take advantage of it.
Six Numbers To Consider
2 - Teams in the NFL to make the playoffs each of the last four years - Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs
3 - Quarterbacks making their first postseason start - Mason Rudolph, Jordan Love, and C.J. Stroud
6 - Teams in the playoffs this year that didn’t make it last year - Los Angeles Rams, Detroit Lions, Houston Texans, Green Bay Packers, Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns
1 - Game moved due to inclement weather
7 - Super Bowl champions in history that were Wild Card teams - the last being the Buccaneers in 2020
4 - Teams that could win their first Super Bowl in franchise history - Cleveland Browns, Houston Texans, Detroit Lions, Buffalo Bills
Six Best Tweets
Browns’ QB Joe Flacco never has lost a wild-card game; he’s 5-0 this round and a win today would move him past Brett Favre for most wild-card wins.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 13, 2024
Flacco also has seven road playoffs wins and one more would move him past Tom Brady for most in NFL history. pic.twitter.com/2YyBcIW38l
A new and different kind of playoff: pic.twitter.com/Gk0yeRxt0a— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 13, 2024
I will never not root for Mike McDaniel. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/zcgyrRTHAG— Lucy Carrion (@lucybarnes) January 13, 2024
Mike Evans is a Hall of Fame WR. Listen to how #bucs OC Dave Canales explains how his uses Evans as the focal point in designing his offense. How everything is schemed off of him. Want to know why Canales is getting head coaching looks? Watch this from The NFL Report! pic.twitter.com/q5FbRS1zTg— James Palmer (@JamesPalmerTV) January 12, 2024
The Bills: “We have postponed Sunday’s game due to safety concerns of our fans.”— NFL Memes (@NFL_Memes) January 13, 2024
Also Bills fans: “We like to jump off cars onto concrete with only a folding table in-between that also happens to be on fire before games”
Six Super Bowl Bets
1.) Baltimore Ravens - Apparently, it’s a Harbaugh kind of year...
2.) San Francisco 49ers - Chomping at the bit for that rematch with the Ravens
3.) Buffalo Bills - Overcoming the Madden Curse?
4.) Dallas Cowboys - I hate putting them here because we all know they’re gonna blow it
5.) Detroit Lions - Could it finally be their time?
9.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers - A chance to eliminate the defending NFC Champs