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NFL Playoffs: Breaking Down The Schedule For Wild Card Weekend

Saturday, Jan. 13 at 4:30 pm: Cleveland Browns at Houston Texans

Wild Card Weekend has become even better in recent years since the NFL added a team and there are now six games to watch.

It kicks off with the Houston Texans hosting the Cleveland Browns on Saturday. One of the most intriguing storylines will kick off the week as rookie CJ Stroud and first-year head coach DeMeco Ryans host a playoff game after winning the AFC South. It will come against 38-year0old Joe Flacco and one of the best defenses in the NFL.

Flacco vs. Stroud brings one of the biggest age gaps between quarterbacks that you will find in the postseason. The culture has changed in just one year with the Texans hitting on Stroud in the draft and hiring Ryans. As for Cleveland, it has started five quarterbacks this season and rejuvenated the career of a former Super Bowl champion.

The Texans are no strangers to this time slot on Saturday afternoon. The defense of Cleveland will be flying around and a young quarterback who does not turn the ball over much will get a chance to perform on the biggest stage. Something will have to give during Game One.

Saturday, Jan. 13 at 8:00 pm: Miami Dolphins at Kansas City Chiefs

The Miami Dolphins fell apart over the last five weeks of the season, losing three games and being beaten out for the AFC East title. Now, the Dolphins will have to go on the road to Arrowhead and take on the Kansas City Chiefs.

The reigning Super Bowl champions have not looked themselves this season. The Chiefs receivers lead the league in drops and even Travis Kelce has not had the All-Pro season we have become used to.

This is a matchup between two reeling teams looking to get back on track. The stars will be out on Saturday night but who will be able to get it going offensively? Hua and Tyreek Hill or Patrick Mahomes and Kelce.

Sunday, Jan. 14 at 1:00 pm: Pittsburgh Steelers at Buffalo Bills

For the second-consecutive year, the Pittsburgh Steelers have backed their way into the postseason. Their reward is a trip to Buffalo against one of the hottest teams in the league.

The Bills defeated the Dolphins on Sunday night to win the AFC East title. This was the fifth-straight win for the Bills heading into the playoffs. Now, instead of a road game, the Bills get to stay home and host the Steelers. On paper, this game is a no-brainer but Mike Tomlin continues to find ways to make it interesting in Pittsburgh.

TJ Watt suffered a knee injury in the season finale and this would be a big hit to a strong defense. Josh Allen will have to take care of the football against Pittsburgh while targeting Stefan Diggs early and often. As for the Steelers offense, Mason Rudolph will have to lean on the ground game.

Sunday, Jan. 14 at 4:30 pm: Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys

The Green Bay Packers will return to Dallas for a playoff game and lucky for the Cowboys, Aaron Rodgers will not be under center.

In his first year as the full-time starter, Jordan Love led the Packers to the postseason and will return to a place they are familiar with. Dallas enters the game as the NFC East champions for the second time in three years. The streak continued where the division has not had a repeat winner in 19 years.

Mike McCarthy took over play-calling for the Cowboys and Dak Prescott has benefitted. Ceedee Lamb has been used at an incredible rate and this offense looks as tough as it has in years. Can the Packers be the defense that comes in and slows it down?

Let’s remember, the Cowboys finished 8-0 at home this season and have won a total of 16 in a row in Dallas.

Sunday, Jan. 14 at 8:00 pm: Los Angeles Rams at Detroit Lions

The most exciting storyline happens on Sunday night as Matthew Stafford returns to Detroit. The Super Bowl winning quarterback will return to the team that drafted him and the city that he calls home. On a smaller scale, Jared Goff will also be playing his former team and one that drafted him.

Of course, these two teams made the big splash deal that included switching quarterbacks. The game being played in Detroit has added extra juice as Stafford will return.

Once the game begins, it will be one of the most exciting matchups of the weekend. The Rams are one of the hottest teams in the league while the Lions have stayed the course and played their starters in Week 18. Goff and the offense are clicking. Both sides have elite talent at wide receiver. It will be interesting to see which defense can get the stops when it matters.

From start to finish, on and off the field, this is the biggest game of the weekend and might be the most entertaining as well.

Monday, Jan. 15 at 8:15 pm: Philadelphia Eagles at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Wild Card Weekend marathon ends with the Philadelphia Eagles hitting the road after losing out on the NFC East title. A once 10-1 Philadelphia team lost five out of six to end the season and Dallas took the prize away. Now, the Eagles take on Tampa Bay — which might not be the worst destination.

All division winners host a playoff game and it seems there is one match up every year where an undeserving team wins their division and hosts a postseason game. After a 9-0 season finale against the Carolina Panthers, the Bucs seem to be that team.

Regardless, anything is possible, especially when the Eagles are not playing their best football. It has been disappointing two months for Philadelphia, who seem to miss Shane Steichen running the offense more than expected.

Philadelphia is a Super Bowl hopeful that can get hot over the course of four weeks. The path will now be on the road rather than having the No. 2 seed.

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