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NFL Playoffs: The Divisional Round. Will History Be Made?

The NFL playoffs are finally here!

NFL Playoffs
Credit: Shutterstock/Popel Arseniy

And then, there are 8! Let’s see who remains in the year-long race for a Super Bowl. The NFL Playoff Divisional round is here!

2023-2024 NFL Season

In the blink of an eye, 18 weeks passed by. This time of the year, most NFL teams are looking ahead to the NFL Draft and are considering personnel changes.

This past season was truly one for the books. Multiple records, previously held for years, were broken, and playoff combinations that haven’t been seen since 1994!

Super Wildcard Weekend

Jared Goff attending a post-conference discussing the NFL Playoffs
Lions Quarterback Jared Goff at a press conference Credit: YouTube/ Detroit Lions

NFC

The 49ers secured the #1 seed in the NFC with a record of 12 and 5. They rested their players all week in preparation for this weekend.

The #2 seed in the NFC was the Dallas Cowboys, sharing the same record as the 49ers.

The Cowboys played last weekend against the Green Bay Packers. According to DraftKings, the #7-seeded Packers were heavy underdogs with a 7-point spread and a money line of +270.

For all those who love an underdog story they will be pleased to find out that Jordan Love and the rest of his team pulled off the upset win against Texas!

This game was fireworks as the final score was 48 – 32 in favor of the pack. In his playoff debut, Jordan Love was everything Green Bay could have hoped for and more. He had 272 yards and three touchdowns.

The Cowboys were undefeated at home until Love walked into the AT&T Stadium and laid down the business. Love wasn’t the only Packer that was on fire this game: Aaron Jones helped tremendously in the run game with 118 yards and 3 touchdowns for him as well.

For Dallas, this loss was historic. Before this game, there had never been an instance in NFL history where the #7 seed advanced past the 2nd seed. Dallas hopes to recuperate from this blow in the off-season.

The Detroit Lions hosted the Los Angeles Rams as both Jared Goff and Matthew Stafford faced off against their old team. The blockbuster trade that sent Matthew Stafford to the Rams in exchange for Jared Goff occurred three years ago.

As a result of this trade, the Los Angeles Rams won a Super Bowl, and the Detroit Lions hosted a playoff game for the first time since 1994!

The #3 Lions were 3-point favorites against the #6 Rams. The game was a nail-biter right to the end as the Detroit Lions advanced to the divisional round.

The final score was 24 – 23 as Detroit won its first playoff game since 1991. Jared Goff led his team with 277 yards and a touchdown to get them their first playoff win in 32 years.

Moving onto the final matchup for the NFC, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers protect their home field against the visiting Philadelphia Eagles. They put up a dominating performance against the defending NFC Champion with a 32 – 9 win.

Despite being one seed above the Eagles, the Buccaneers were 3-point underdogs. Baker Mayfield had himself a night with 337 yards and 3 touchdowns. The Eagles had heavy Super Bowl aspirations, but those hopes were unfortunately laid to rest in Florida.

Rookie Quarterback CJ Stroud discusses NFL Playoffs
CJ Stroud discusses game plan ahead of Playoffs
Credit: Youtube/ Houston Texans

AFC

The Baltimore Ravens acquired the #1 seed by having the best record in the conference. With 13 wins and 4 losses, they finished the season with the best record in the NFL.

The Buffalo Bills hosted the Pittsburg Steelers as the #2 and #7 matchup respectively.

They claimed the biggest betting odds before the games, with the Bills being 9-point favorites to advance to the next round of the NFL Playoffs.

Sometimes, the favorite to win is the favorite for a reason, as Josh Allen and the Bills will move on past Pittsburg. Josh Allen played stellar as he had 4 touchdowns on the day, including an electrifying 52-yard run for a score. He led his team to a 31 – 17 win.

Superstar wide receiver Tyreek Hill found himself back again in Arrowhead as the Miami Dolphins took on the Kansas City Chiefs.

Similar to the Lions–Rams matchup, this game also sees a player going against their old team. Moreover, this was the coldest game recorded in Dolphins history. When the game kicked off, it was -4 degrees in the stadium. With the wind chill, temperatures were estimated at -27 degrees!

The cold didn’t seem to bother the Chiefs as they cruised to a 26 – 7 win over the Fins.

Patrick Mahomes shows that it pays to play at home as he put up 262 yards and found rookie wide receiver Rashee Rice 8 times for 130 yards and a touchdown.

Finally, in the very first game to kick off the NFL Playoffs and Super Wildcard Weekend, the Houston Texans hosted the Cleveland Browns in hopes of keeping their post-season dream alive.

The third time since 2002, the Browns find themselves with post-season aspirations for a Super Bowl run.

In their way is Texans rookie quarterback CJ Stroud, who is having a phenomenal year. The Houston Texans were 3-point favorites heading into the match. Cleveland boasted arguably the best defense in the league. Quarterback CJ Stroud rose up to the occasion.

Similar to Jordan Love, CJ Stroud balled out in his playoff debut with 274 yards and 3 touchdowns! He led his young Texans team to an impressive 45 – 14 win over the Browns.

Divisional Round

The next round of the NFL Playoffs is set to kick off this weekend, where the debuts of the #1-seeded teams will take place.

The first game to kick off the divisional round of the NFL Playoffs finds CJ Stroud heading into Baltimore to take on the best team in the NFL. Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens are heavy favorites to win it. According to DraftKings, they boast a 9-point favorite to move on.

After that game, the 49ers make their debut in the post-season as Jordan Love is headed to San Francisco with aspirations of pulling another upset win. The 49ers also have a 9-point favorite to advance.

Will we see two rising stars stun the NFL world, or are the #1 seeded teams going to defend their home turf?

Those games take place on January 20, 2024, at 1:30 PM and 5:15 PM Pacific Time respectively.

The very next day, on the 21st, at noon, Baker Mayfield and the Bucs take on Jared Goff and the Lions in Detroit.

The Lions are 6.5-point favorites. The Lions have never made it to a Super Bowl. This year may be their year, so this game is of utmost importance to head coach Dan Campbell and the rest of the team.

At 3:30 PM on Jan. 21, we see an iconic rivalry: Chiefs vs. Bills.

This time, the Bills will be hosting the Chiefs for the first time in the playoffs.

The Bills hold a 2.5-point lead over the Chiefs, as this game means so much to Josh Allen and the rest of the roster. Over the past couple of years, their road in the post-season has always been cut short due to Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs.

The Buffalo Bills are hoping to move on and continue their path in the NFL Playoffs!

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