NFL Playoff Preview: A Guide To The Wild-Card Round

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Now that the NFL common season is over, soccer followers can lastly discover solace in the truth that the playoffs are right here. Even in case your favourite staff didn’t make the reduce, there isn’t any denying that that is probably the most thrilling time of the season.

As of at present, 12 groups stay in rivalry to win the Super Bowl. Four of these groups, the New England Patriots, the Kansas City Chiefs, the Los Angeles Rams, and the New Orleans Saints will get a bye to the second spherical. The different eight groups will get to battle it out this weekend to see whose season continues, and who shall be headed to the seashore for an early trip.

Since the Wild-Card weekend begins tomorrow, now could be pretty much as good a time as ever to take a better take a look at every sport and see how these matchups stack up.


Saturday, January fifth

Game 1: Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans

Where to observe: ABC and ESPN at Four:35 P.M. ET

NFL Playoff Preview: A Guide To The Wild-Card Round

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The first matchup of the weekend may be probably the most contentious contemplating that is the one sport that shall be performed between divisional rivals. The Houston Texans completed with the third seed within the AFC, whereas the Colts squeaked in with the sixth seed after defeating the Tennessee Titans 33-17 final Sunday. 

Houston completed first within the AFC South this season with a document of 11-5, whereas the Colts had been second within the division at 10-6. The two groups performed one another twice this season, with every staff choosing up a win. In the primary matchup between the 2, the Texans got here away with a 37-34 win in extra time. Both groups performed one another once more on December ninth, with the Colts profitable 24-21.

Indianapolis had a robust season on the offensive aspect of the ball. They averaged 27.1 factors per sport and 386.2 yards per sport. Their factors per sport common was the fifth greatest within the NFL, whereas they’d the sixth greatest passing sport within the league, at 278.eight yards a sport, in keeping with ESPN. Meanwhile, the Texans completed 11th in scoring with 25.1 factors per sport. They didn’t fare as nicely when it got here to yardage, ending 15th. 

NFL Playoff Preview: A Guide To The Wild-Card Round

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These matchup between these two squads will get attention-grabbing once we take a look at protection. The Colts and the Texans completed neck and neck in yards allowed per sport, ending 11th and 12 respectively. As far as factors allowed per sport, Houston was dominant, solely giving up 19.eight, which was ok for fourth place within the league, in keeping with ESPN.

The quarterback matchup will even be an intriguing storyline. Colts QB Andrew Luck completed the 12 months with 39 touchdowns, 15 interceptions, and 4593 passing yards. On the opposite finish, Texans QB Deshaun Watson shall be making his playoff debut Saturday. He completed his first full season 26 touchdowns, 9 interceptions and 4165 passing yards. All of those stats are courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.

If the Texans win, they may tackle the New England Patriots but when Indianapolis wins, the Colts will tackle Kansas City within the subsequent spherical. 


Game 2: Seattle Seahawks at Dallas Cowboys

Where to observe: Fox at eight:15 P.M. ET

NFL Playoff Preview: A Guide To The Wild-Card Round

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After beginning the season Zero-2, Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks clawed their method again, ending with a document of 10-6 and securing the fifth seed within the NFC. Meanwhile, the Dallas Cowboys took benefit of every week division, ending first within the NFC East with a 10-6 document. This is the one wild-card matchup the place each groups have the identical quantity of wins and losses.

On the defensive aspect of the ball, the Cowboys had a robust season, ending sixth general in factors allowed, giving up a median of 20.three a sport. Much of the staff’s success was because of defensive finish DeMarcus Lawrence who completed with 10.5 sacks this season. Seattle however, completed 11th in factors allowed with 21.7 per sport. Defensive finish Frank Clark was a big-time participant for the Seahawks notching 13 sacks, in keeping with ESPN.

The Seahawks have an enormous benefit over the Cowboys on the subject of offense. Seattle averaged 26.eight factors per sport, ok for sixth within the league. Despite ending as a prime 12 staff, Dallas solely completed 22nd in scoring. This was partially resulting from quarterback Dak Prescott solely choosing up 22 touchdowns, which matches his profession low from final season, in keeping with ESPN.

NFL Playoff Preview: A Guide To The Wild-Card Round

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Seahawks QB Wilson averted a disastrous season by choosing up 35 touchdowns, 7 interceptions, and 3448 passing yards. Wilson was helped out by his favourite huge receiving goal, Doug Baldwin who had 5 touchdowns and 618 yards receiving, in keeping with Pro-Football-Reference.

Both groups performed one another earlier within the season on September 23rd. The Seahawks gained that sport 24-13 and stored Prescott to solely 168 yards passing. Cowboys working again Ezekiel Elliott rushed for 127 yards in that sport, making him a participant Seattle should be careful for on Saturday. 

If the Bears defeat the Eagles on Sunday, the winner of this sport will play in opposition to the New Orleans Saints within the second spherical. If the Eagles win, the winner will of this match will get the Rams.


Sunday, January sixth

Game three: Los Angeles Chargers at Baltimore Ravens

Where to observe: CBS at 1:05 P.M. ET

NFL Playoff Preview: A Guide To The Wild-Card Round

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This subsequent matchup is one that basically ought to have by no means occurred. The Baltimore Ravens completed the season with a document of 10-6, and the Los Angeles Chargers completed 12-Four. Because the Chargers had been in a division with Kansas City, who additionally completed 12-Four and gained the AFC West on a tie-break, they had been relegated to a wild-card spot. This implies that despite the fact that they’ve a greater document than the Ravens, Baltimore will get the home-field benefit.

When it involves offense, the Chargers, led by veteran quarterback Philip Rivers, are at a transparent benefit. They completed sixth within the league in factors per sport with 26.eight and had been 11th in yards per sport. Meanwhile, the Ravens averaged 24.three factors a sport which was ok for 13th within the league, in keeping with ESPN. The Ravens will even be enjoying rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson who has no playoff expertise and completed the 12 months with six touchdowns and three interceptions. 

Defensively, the Ravens shine, one thing that was obvious when the Ravens beat the Chargers 22-10 again on December 22nd. In that sport, the Ravens held the Chargers to lower than 250 whole yards, and solely 51 yards speeding. Baltimore gave up the least quantity of yards per sport in the complete league, with 292.9. They additionally excelled in factors allowed per sport, giving up 17.9, ok for second within the league.

NFL Playoff Preview: A Guide To The Wild-Card Round

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Los Angeles has additionally been strong defensively this season, though nowhere close to as constant because the Ravens. They gave up 20.6 factors per sport and 337 yards per sport. These totals had been ok for eighth and ninth within the league respectively, in keeping with ESPN.

The Ravens will come into this sport with a three-game profitable streak. Whoever wins will face the Kansas City Chiefs until the Colts upset the Texans. That would imply the winner of this sport performs New England.


Game Four: Philadelphia Eagles at Chicago Bears

Where to observe: NBC at Four:40 P.M. ET

NFL Playoff Preview: A Guide To The Wild-Card Round

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The closing sport of the weekend shall be performed between the defending Super Bowl champions, the Philadelphia Eagles and the Chicago Bears. The Bears haven’t been to the postseason since 2010, whereas the Eagles simply barely picked up the sixth and closing seed within the NFC.

It was a tumultuous season for the Eagles. The staff determined to return to quarterback Carson Wentz, regardless of Nick Foles main the staff to a Super Bowl win. Wentz was the starter final season, and his phenomenal play is why they went again to him. Although for the final stretch of the season, it’s been all Foles who has led the staff to 3 wins a row, together with a win in opposition to the second place Rams. Going into this sport, it appears as if the Eagles are lastly comfy with who they’ve within the pocket.

Meanwhile, the Bears and QB Mitchell Trubisky defied all expectations, ending 12-Four and profitable a depleted NFC North. Trubisky completed his first full season with 24 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, in keeping with Pro-Football-Reference.

Chicago was dominant on protection this 12 months because of gamers like Khalil Mack who had 12.5 sacks this season after being traded from Oakland. They additionally had the primary rush and factors per sport protection within the league. Their move protection was seventh and their yards allowed per sport was third, in keeping with NFL.com. On offense, the Bears weren’t as sturdy, averaging 26.three factors per sport, ok for ninth within the league.

NFL Playoff Preview: A Guide To The Wild-Card Round

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At the opposite finish, Philadelphia was common in most classes. They had been 18th in factors per sport, 14th in common whole yards, and 28th in speeding yards. Defensively the staff was simply barely above common in factors allowed per sport ending 12th within the league, in keeping with NFL.com. Although they did end 30th in passing yards which is one thing Trubisky will wish to benefit from if he desires to provide the Bears an opportunity to win.

These groups didn’t play one another within the common season, so will probably be a clear slate once we see them take to the sector on Sunday. If the Eagles win they may play New Orleans but when the Bears win, they may play the Rams.

Which groups do you assume are going to win this weekend?