By DJ Harding –
With a whole season behind us there are now 14 teams remaining in the quest for the Lombardi Trophy. The Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles have earned 1st round byes after being number 1 in their respective conferences. But the other 12 teams will have to play in Wild Card Weekend where it’s do or die football.
Saturday 4:30 Seattle @ San Francisco on FOX
The Seahawks, after getting in last week with a win and a Packers loss, now travel to Levi’s stadium to take on the 49ers. San Francisco won both meetings during the season against their division rivals. They also are on a 10 game win streak and haven’t lost since October and are one of the hottest teams in the NFL. Their the first game to kick off the weekend as Seattlke looks to make it third time’s the charm as the odds are stacked against them.
Saturday 8:15 Los Angeles @ Jacksonville on NBC
The Jaguars almost didn’t make it to the playoffs, booking their ticket last week in a winner take all showdown versus the Tennessee Titans for the AFC South. The Chargers already had their ticket booked going into week 18, but still decided to play their starters against the Broncos. This decision might’ve been costly as Mike Williams left the game with an injury when their Wide Receivers just began to get healthy. Williams is now questionable for Saturday’s game. We will see how costly that decision was on Saturday night when the Chargers travel to Jacksonville.
Sunday 1:00 Miami @ Buffalo on CBS
The Bills are coming in off a win versus the New England Patriots in what was a tribute to Damar Hamlin. The Bills remain in Buffalo playing a Miami team that is coming in hobbled. The Dolphins are once again without starting Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is still out with a concussion as the Dolphins barely beat a Jets team to sneak into the playoffs despite a 5 game losing streak before that. In what most people are predicting to be a blowout in reality is a tiebreaker as these division rivals split the season series. So Round 3 is the most important of the games with a chance at the Lombardi trophy in the cards.
Sunday 4:30 New York @ Minnesota on FOX
In a carbon copy rematch on what only a few weeks ago is sure to be a great matchup. The last matchup the Vikings won by a game winning field goal at the buzzer. Anything is up for grabs as both teams have a decent chance at winning in a battle of star powered offenses with Justin Jefferson the league leading receiver for the Vikings. The Giants are led by Running Back Saquon Barkley who is the top 5 in rushing yards in what has been a bounce back season. With the lack of playoffs experience between teams and Kirk Cousins’ rough record in prime time this will be an interesting game during Sunday Wild Card action.
Sunday 8:15 Baltimore @ Cincinnati on NBC
This matchup is another carbon copy except instead of a couple weeks ago this exact game and place was played last week. The Ravens lost but already clinched a spot in the Playoffs. Baltimore was without Lamar Jackson due to a knee injury which has sidelined Jackson for some time now and as Jackosn is still on the injury report it seems like more of the same. The Bengals on the other hand are also red hot like the 49ers coming in with a 8 game winning streak. With Jamar Chase starting to get back into form after having a Hamstrain issue for part of the season and Tee Higgins also finding a rhythm. It looks like it will be a repeat of week 18, but just like Dolphins vs Bills this is another Division rivalry round 3 as the Ravens did win the first matchup all the way back in week 5.
Monday 8:15 Dallas @ Tampa Bay on ESPN
Two words describe this matchup “Tom Brady”. The Buccaneers Quarterback has a 7-0 record against the Cowboys including a week 1 win against them. The deterrent to making this feel like a lopsided matchup is despite Tampa Bay winning that first week The Buccaneers are under .500 with a 8-9 record in what has been a rough season. The Cowboys have had a great season almost winning the NFC East and possibly a bye but with a week 18 loss they find themselves in the Wild Card and playing on the road. To add to that Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott has had an interception problem as of late being top 5 in interceptions despite missing games due to injury. In what is 2 teams with ups and downs in their season Brady in what is possibly his last chance at a Lombardi faces the Cowboys on Monday Night to end the weekend.