NFL Super Wild Card Weekend Preview

NFL Super Wild Card Weekend Preview

The 2023 NFL Playoffs are here, and the NFL scriptwriters couldn’t have “written up” a better story for this weekend’s Wild Card showdown. Fans will enjoy six exciting games, featuring teams who haven’t had playoff runs in decades. Let’s look at the matchups for Super Wild Card Weekend:

Cleveland Browns @ Houston Texans
(Sat. 4:30 PM EST)

The first playoff game of the season kicks off between the 4-seed Texans and the 5-seed Browns in Houston. Star rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud will play his first playoff game, looking to become the youngest quarterback to win a playoff start. The 22-year-old did not play due to concussion protocol in Week 14, when the Texans were taken down by Browns quarterback Joe Flacco at home.

The fourth Cleveland backup this season has revolutionized his team’s offense in the absence of a familiar face for both teams: quarterback Deshaun Watson. A blockbuster trade brought Watson to Cleveland in 2022, but a season-ending shoulder injury prevents him from making a playoff debut in his hometown. However, Cleveland seems to function fine (maybe even better) with the offense under Flacco, as he utilizes the talents of receiver Amari Cooper and tight end David Njoku to put up huge passing numbers. And the trade has still had a positive effect on the Texans, using their first-round pick from the trade to select a franchise quarterback in Stroud. He will have his team prepared to welcome the Browns first-ranked defense, which is still injury ridden. Nonetheless, the Browns remain the 2.5 point favorite in Vegas.

Miami Dolphins @ Kansas City Chiefs
(Sat. 8:00 PM EST)

Saturday night, two firepower offenses will battle it out in Kansas City, as the 3-seed Chiefs take on the 6-seed Dolphins. Record low temperatures of -5 degrees will make the game a historic watch, and have the potential to shock the Chiefs’ southern visitors. Arguably the best receiver in the league, Tyreek Hill, will return to visit his former team, but Hill is not in prime condition. He, as well as many of Miami’s offensive weapons and defensive starters, are experiencing injury. And the finish to their regular season proves the detriments such injuries caused, as the Dolphins lost badly to the Ravens in Week 17, and suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Bills last week. The Chiefs, whose season endured many ups and downs, still wound up winning the AFC West title, and earned home-field advantage. Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes will be back in his element in the playoffs, but questions remain if his receivers have enough talent to hold up the offense. Andy Reid and his crew are favored over Mike McDaniel’s Dolphins by 4.5 points.

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Buffalo Bills
(Sun. 1:00 PM EST)

The third AFC Wild Card game features two teams on winning streaks: the 2-seed Bills and the 7-seed Steelers. Quarterback Mason Rudolph has led Pittsburgh to three straight wins, catapulting his team into the playoffs and earring them yet another winning season. While they have trended upwards towards the end of the regular season, no team has turned it around better than the Bills. Sean McDermott and Josh Allen have found their rhythm, helping Buffalo win all of their last five games. The questions surrounding the strength of the team have dissolved, as they seemed to have proved their case to be a legitimate contender. Vegas agrees that the Bills are legit, as the team is favored by 10 points over their opponent.

Green Bay Packers @ Dallas Cowboys
(Sun. 4:30 PM EST)

The first NFC playoff game this seas0n is a classic matchup between old rivals: the 2-seed Cowboys and the 7-seed Packers. They will meet for the ninth time in the playoffs, and as of now, the Cowboys have the edge. They have proven to be almost unstoppable at home, and won the NFC East. Pro-Bowl QB Dak Prescott led the league with 36 touchdown passes, finding CeeDee Lamb as his #1 target. But Green Bay has overachieved the expectations set for them this season, as they made the playoffs in their first season without long-time franchise quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Jordan Love now sits under center, and has done an excellent job finding rhythm within his offense. The Pack looks strong on all sides of the ball, but so does Dallas. The Cowboys are the 7.5 point favorites.

Los Angeles Rams @ Detroit Lions
(Sun. 8:00 PM EST)

To some, this NFC matchup may be the most anticipated game of the weekend. Quarterback Matthew Stafford will make his playoff return to Ford Field when the 6-seed Rams take on the 3-seed Lions. Nothing short of a historic season brought quarterback Jared Goff and the Lions back to win the NFC North, finishing the season with an outstanding record of 12-5. They look to face a hot Rams team, whose seven wins in their last eight games poses a threat to all their opponents. They will use their talented receivers Cooper Kupp and Puka Nacua to try and overcome the run-pass balance of the Lion’s offense. The home team is favored by 3 points in the contest.

 Philadelphia Eagles @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
(Mon. 8:15 EST) PM EST

The defending NFC Champions will take on the NFC South champions when the 5-seed Eagles face the 4-seed Buccaneers. The two teams have trended in opposite directions to finish out the season: Philadelphia has lost five of their last six, and Tampa Bay has won five of their last six. Many questions surround the legitimacy of this year’s Eagles team, as their sudden losing has made many wonder if a playoff run is in the cards for them this postseason. To add to this notion, star wide receiver A.J. Brown is dealing with injury, surely not a good sign for Jalen Hurts’ offense. But the Bucs are also injury ridden, as quarterback Baker Mayfield is still dealing with a rib and foot injuries. Despite being on the road, the Eagles are still favored in the game by 3 points.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
Donate to The Rambler
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Rambler Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *