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Official 'Other Wild-Card Games' Thread 


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© Kareem Elgazzar-USA TODAY Sports

 

This past regular season was memorable in many ways. None more so than the tightness of the playoff races. With two weeks left in the season, we still had over two-thirds of the field with playoff aspirations. Of them, only six teams had clinched a playoff spot. And of those six, only one was in the AFC. In fact, the last two teams to get in were not decided until there was 0:00 time left on the clock, in overtime, in the season's final game. It was a fitting end to what was a fantastic season and may rightly be called this year's first playoff game. Hopefully, the postseason will contain more moments that are just as exciting and unpredictable as the regular season did.
 
14 teams. Two teams that earned the first-round bye are the Green Bay Packers and the Tennessee Titans. While the other twelve play in this weekend's wild-card round. The league decided to spread the weekend's six games out over three days this year and is giving the fans a Monday night contest for the first time, ever. To kick it off, both Saturday games feature contests from the AFC. 
 
The early game sees the Las Vegas Raiders travel to Cincinnati to take on the Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. The Raiders overcame a tumultuous season that saw their head coach resign in week six and go through a stretch of games where they were two and six before recovering to win their final three games of the season to get into the dance. Las Vegas will look to continue its hot streak as they face a team that is quite dangerous when clicking on all cylinders.
 
Every postseason has one, and this year's edition of the team 'no one wants to see' might be the Bengals. Zac Taylor's group is led by the 'Joes,' Burrow, and Mixon. Cincinnati started the season strong going five and two. They then cooled off a bit in their last ten by playing five hundred ball. While they did have an up and down season to a large extent, it is the way they won that has other NFL teams sitting up and taking notice. They are a young team and may be a year away but getting valuable playoff experience will serve them well in the years to come.
 
Prediction: Bengals by 4

 

 

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Saturday's nightcap features the rubber match between the New England *Patriots and our Buffalo Bills at Highmark Stadium. After a season where they fell from their lofty perch, saw their former QB win the Super Bowl, without them, the *Patriots spent lavishly trying to regain some semblance of respect. With their first pick of the '21 draft, they drafted Mac Jones, the Alabama QB, who had just won the Collegiate National Championship. While he has been a pretty good game manager through most of the season, there are questions about his ability to be a viable long-term solution at quarterback. And in this quarterback-driven league, having that franchise QB is paramount if you want to vie for championships consistently. Their rebuild was moderately successful as making the playoffs shows, but it would seem that more work is still to be done. 
 
The AFC East Champions won their last four games as they geared up for postseason play. Since the start of the second half of week 14's game against the world champion Buccaneers, the Bills have played with a renewed focus and may have been the best team in the NFL during that span. As they have been all season, their number 1 defense has been lights out at times, and the Dline looks to be rounding into shape just as the playoffs arrive. When the NFL's number 5 offense is clicking, they show that they can throw up more than a point a minute. And with the weather getting worse, the running game is showing signs that it will be a force to be reckoned with. They are deep and talented at almost every position on both sides of the ball. Put it all together, and the Bills might just be the team 'no one wants to see.' With the Bills having fallen a game short of their desired destination last year, the experience gained should serve them well in this year's playoffs and fuel this year's push.

 

Prediction: Bills by 6

 

Go Bills!!

:whitebillsflag:

 

 

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The NFC portion of the wild-card round kicks off Sunday with the Philadelphia Eagles going to Tampa Bay to take on the defending Super Bowl Champion Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. The Eagles are probably the surprise participant this year. They were a mess last year, and not many people expected Nick Sirianni to turn it around as well as he has this year. Philadelphia led the league in rushing at just under 160 yards a game. They also tout the league's 9th best defense. With three first-round picks in this coming year's draft, expect them to be a player for many years to come.
 
Tampa Bay brought back every starter from last year's championship team, and they have TB12, so getting back to the postseason was mostly a foregone conclusion. Is the defense as stout as they were last year when they made their run? Can Brady still impose his will at the age of 44? Will the GOAT ever retire?
 
Prediction: Tampa Bay by 11

 

 

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The afternoon game sees the San Francisco 49ers head to AT&T Stadium in Arlington to play the Dallas Cowboys. The '9ers went four and one close the season and earned their way in. Kyle Shanahan has his team turned around with Jimmy G playing well of late, and the running game looking good. The Cowboys finished winning five of their last six after a one and three stretch. Dak Prescott seems to have broken out of his late-season slump these final two games, and the Cowboys are talented at almost every position. They should be a tough out, but this game is our upset special of the weekend.
 
Prediction: San Fran by 3

 

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Sunday's slate, and the last AFC game, concludes with the resilient Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers venturing into Arrowhead Stadium to take on the Kansas City Chiefs. Mike Tomlin has done a decent job keeping the Steelers afloat with a declining QB. By having a stout defense and ground game that is markedly better than in previous years, they were able to claim the AFC's last playoff position. Led by Najee Harris's 1200 yards, the ground game helps get the middle-of-the-road passing game going.
 
The Chiefs started their season three and four where it seemed like defenses had finally figured out Andy Reid and Eric Bieniemy's offense. That may have been an illusion, though, as adjustments were made and Kansas City closed with a 9 and 1 finish. As a result of those early-season struggles, the Chiefs couldn't claim the number one seed, so the road may not necessarily go through Kansas City this year. They, however, still appear to be the dangerous team they have become under Patrick Mahomes' leadership.
 
Prediction: Kansas City by 14

 

 

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Wild-card Weekend closes with the final NFC game. The weekend's other rubber match sees the Arizona Cardinals head north to take on the LA Rams at SoFi stadium. Each team won the road game in this season's series. Arizona blew out the Rams in the fourth week of the season, and the Rams won by a touchdown in week 14. Arizona was the league's best team for the first seven games. However, for the second year in a row, they seemed to regress a bit as the season wore on, going four and five in their last nine and one and four to close the season.
 
Los Angeles is a team made up of high-profile stars. One might say that is fitting for the City of Angels. It would appear that Sean McVay has taken all of these high-priced personalities and gotten them to play together nicely as a team. Not an easy chore as we have seen in previous years with teams of the same sort of make-up.

 

SoFi also happens to be the home of this years' Super Bowl LVI. Will the Rams become the second team in as many years to ever win a Super Bowl on their home turf? To do so, they will more than likely have to go through Green Bay and possibly the defending champs.
 
Prediction: Rams by 4

 

Wild Card Playoffs

Visitor Home Info Location
 Raiders  Bengals Sat, 1/15, 4:30 p.m. NBC Paul Brown Stadium
 Patriots  Bills Sat, 1/15, 8:15 p.m. CBS Highmark Stadium
 Eagles  Buccaneers SUN, 1/16 1 p.m. FOX Raymond James Stadium
 49ers  Cowboys SUN 1/16 4:30 p.m. CBS AT&T Stadium
 Steelers  Chiefs SUN 1/16 8:15 p.m.  NBC Arrowhead Stadium
 Cardinals  Rams MON 1/17 8:15 p.m. ABC SoFi Stadium

 

     
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IDBillzFan

I have this weird bit of contempt for Arizona after the Hail Murray. It ultimately turned out to be the lone bright spot for the rest of their season last year, and with Hopkins out, remarkably, they're a shell of themselves this year.

 

On the other hand, I love to watch teams who empty the piggy bank to make a run get caught up on their own spokes, and the Rams fall into that category.

 

In other words, I won't have a problem watching either of them lose on Monday.

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Question for the Cincinnati team:  Why have Cheerleaders if you're going to dress them like Teletubbies?

 

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1 hour ago, snafu said:

Question for the Cincinnati team:  Why have Cheerleaders if you're going to dress them like Teletubbies?

 

 

You're right about that. If they start to get cold without such bulky outfits, I'll happily volunteer my services to help warm them up. Zach Wilson's mom too.

 

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Oh, and I think KC by 14 is a touch conservative. They're going to blow out the Squeelers... again.

Edited by Koko
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13 hours ago, Koko said:

 

You're right about that. If they start to get cold without such bulky outfits, I'll happily volunteer my services to help warm them up. Zach Wilson's mom too.

 

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Oh, and I think KC by 14 is a touch conservative. They're going to blow out the Squeelers... again.

Once again Koko selfishly offers to step up and show compassion where it’s most needed. You do God’s work sir. :applause:

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4 hours ago, Nanker said:

Once again Koko selfishly offers to step up and show compassion where it’s most needed. You do God’s work sir. :applause:

Solicitors will solicit.

 

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Spartacus

how much does the league want to promote and help the "Big Ben Storybook Ending"?

enough to take down the Chefs  with well placed penalties?

 

https://www.outkick.com/outkick-nfl-qb-talk-aaron-rodgers-explains-what-to-look-for-in-a-head-coach-jimmy-g-reflects-on-last-ride-with-49ers-big-ben-talks-of-winning-for-well-big-ben/

 

Steelers Want To Win For Big Ben

In 2005 when the Pittsburgh Steelers finished second in the AFC North but got into the playoffs as a Wild Card team, the team rallied around the fact Jerome Bettis was retiring after the season.

 

The rallying cry within the locker room and, indeed, the entire organization was to win for Bettis and send him into retirement a champion.

 

Ben Roethlisberger was the starting quarterback in only his second NFL season in 2005. Now Roethlisberger understands how Bettis felt because he’s retiring after this season.

 

And if you’re wondering if the 2021-22 Steelers approach their veteran QB like players on that long-ago club did the Bus — telling him they want to win for him so he goes out a winner — Roethlisberger has an answer:

“Yeah, they do,” Roethlisberger said Wednesday. 

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3 hours ago, Spartacus said:

how much does the league want to promote and help the "Big Ben Storybook Ending"?

enough to take down the Chefs  with well placed penalties?

 

https://www.outkick.com/outkick-nfl-qb-talk-aaron-rodgers-explains-what-to-look-for-in-a-head-coach-jimmy-g-reflects-on-last-ride-with-49ers-big-ben-talks-of-winning-for-well-big-ben/

 

Steelers Want To Win For Big Ben

In 2005 when the Pittsburgh Steelers finished second in the AFC North but got into the playoffs as a Wild Card team, the team rallied around the fact Jerome Bettis was retiring after the season.

 

The rallying cry within the locker room and, indeed, the entire organization was to win for Bettis and send him into retirement a champion.

 

Ben Roethlisberger was the starting quarterback in only his second NFL season in 2005. Now Roethlisberger understands how Bettis felt because he’s retiring after this season.

 

And if you’re wondering if the 2021-22 Steelers approach their veteran QB like players on that long-ago club did the Bus — telling him they want to win for him so he goes out a winner — Roethlisberger has an answer:

“Yeah, they do,” Roethlisberger said Wednesday. 

 

Rapistburger doesn't sell as many jerseys as Brady, and Tomlin isn't as interesting as Belichick.
 

No way they're beating the Chefs and their Elmo-looking QB.

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Core Four
31 minutes ago, KD in CA said:

 

I really can't believe I have to root for the Steelers in the playoffs.  

 

I'm with you on that.  Pittsburgh will most likely get destroyed, though.

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12 hours ago, KD in CA said:

 

I really can't believe I have to root for the Steelers in the playoffs.  

As long as our Bills win, I don't care who else wins.

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