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The Talon

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NFL Wildcard Preview

NFL+Wildcard+Preview

 

The Houston Texans will host the Cleveland Browns on Saturday in a battle between rookie of the year favorite CJ Stroud versus 38 year old Joe Flacco, who, before this season, was in free agency  but got a call from the Browns and became the starting quarterback.  Cleveland played Houston earlier in the season and the Browns won 36-22, but CJ Stroud didn’t play which could play a big factor in the upcoming game. The Browns have the number one passing defense in the league, which could give Stroud some problems. Stroud is playing his first playoff game of his career, which could give him some jitters and possibly change the outcome. The Browns have the best chance of winning because Flacco is used to the playoff environment, while Stroud isn’t. The Browns are going to win because the team is more experienced, and the Texans are more of a younger, inexperienced team. 

 

“I don’t think Stroud will be ready for the playoffs. He’s not used to the environment and that Cleveland defense, being how good it is, I just don’t know if Stroud can keep up,” Jaylen Carter (10) said.

 

Kansas City Chiefs will be hosting the Miami Dolphins on Saturday night at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, MO. The Dolphins will be seeking revenge against the Chiefs as they lost at the previous meetup against Kansas City, 21-14. The Chiefs who haven’t lived up to expectations, as they are reigning Super Bowl champs and went 11-6, are going into this match with the third seed. The Dolphins are already coming into this game banged up as Andrew Van Ginkel is out, Jaylen Waddle is questionable with an ankle injury, and so is Tyreek Hill. The Chiefs should win this game, especially since they are at home, and Arrowhead Stadium is known to be a loud place.

 

Miami’s roster is also dealing with injuries. Tua Tagovailoa has overcome his injury prone self, but hasn’t proven that he can play without Jaylen Waddle or Tyreek Hill as they head into the Wild Card round at a two game losing streak.

 

“It’s obvious Miami isn’t prone to the cold weather and they are banged up, missing key guys. There’s no shot that the Chiefs lose this game,” Hudson Biller (10) said.

 

In terms of the Pittsburgh Steelers/Buffalo Bills matchup, this should be a landslide in Buffalo’s favor. The Steelers barely squeaked by against a well-rested Ravens team in week 18. The Bills started out slow, but picked it up throughout the season ending with an 11-6 record and earning themselves the two seed. However, Josh Allen can be iffy sometimes with his playmaking ability. Just last week, he threw two interceptions yet still won the game. He had the 2nd most thrown interceptions of the season at 18. A big factor to play in this upcoming game will be star defensive end for the Steelers TJ Watt out with a knee injury. This is a big blow to Pittsburgh as he had a league leading 19 sacks. This game should not be competitive at all. But if it is, it’s because of the ball decisions he makes. 

 

“I am a Steelers fan, and TJ Watt being out does hurt us. But still our defense has been playing well, and if we can ride off of momentum then I think we can pull it out,” Joey Scullion (10) said.

 

The Green Bay Packers will head to Dallas to play the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday at 4:30 pm. The Cowboys typically look good during the regular season, but have a tendency to choke during playoffs. The Green Bay Packers are coming into the playoffs with a hot streak of a three game winning streak, and are getting sophomore breakout Chrsitian Watson back for this game. The Cowboys are 4-4 against teams that are above .500, like the Packers. While the Cowboys may be the number two seed and 12-5, they aren’t the same as the last time they made the playoffs or NFC Championship, let alone the Super Bowl 30 years ago. Cowboys fans, please do us a favor and stop saying “We Dem Boyz,” “this is our year,” or “we’re going to the Bowl.” Just face it: the Cowboys aren’t a playoff team.

 

  “I think that the Packers will beat the Cowboys. It’ll be an upset for sure,” Braden Jaylon said (9).

 

The Detroit Lions are hosting a playoff game for the first time in 30 years. They will be going up against the Los Angeles Rams, led by Matthew Stafford who they traded away for Jared Goff in 2021 where Matthew Stafford went to the Rams and Jared Goff went to the Lions. It should be a good one with the Rams who have a firepower offense led by rookie sensation Puka Nuka who broke records in receiving yards and catches. The Lions also have an amazing offense with their Offensive Coordinator Ben Johnson who is a strong head coaching candidate in the offseason. They have star players in Amon Ra St. Brown, Sam Laporta, Jared Goff, and Jahymr Gibbs. The game itself is going to be a good one as both teams have a  offense and the fans are going to be loud and hungry for a win. The Lions will most likely win this game, but it’ll come down to the wire. With Dan Campbell’s play style, he’s going to make a risky decision and win the ball game for the Lions.

 

“I like the Lions’ odds to win this game. I mean they are a great team with great players and the fans are gonna be energetic especially with Matthew Stafford coming back to Detroit for the first time,” Jackson Welch (12) said.

 

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will play a home playoff game against the Philadelphia Eagles. The Buccaneers come from the worst division in the NFL – the NFC South – winning the division at 9-8. The Eagles had a massive downfall dropping 5 of their last 6, while on the other side the Bucs are coming in on a hot streak, winning 5 of their last 6. The Eagles are dealing with injuries with AJ Brown not practicing on Thursday. Jalen Hurts, their star Quarterback, was limited in practice on Thursday. On the Bucs side, Baker Mayfield, Tristian Wirfs, and KJ Britt did not practice Thursday. Both teams are coming into the game heavily banged up. Even though the Eagles are heavily favored to win this game, it’s unlikely they’ll go into Tampa Bay and beat the red hot Buccaneers with the Eagles already being on a cold streak, but given the Eagles’ surprising capabilities, it’s a possibility they can still come out with the dub.

 

“As a Bucs fan, I definitely have some confidence going into the game, especially since the Eagles have been on a cold streak lately. I think we will win in the end,” Tommy Manson said (10).

 

PREDICTIONS:

  1. The Browns are beating the Texans, Houston losing by 7. 
  2. Given the Chiefs will be playing at home, and Miami not being used to the cold, the Chiefs are gonna win by 3. 
  3. The Steelers aren’t top contenders and will lose to the Bills by 10+.
  4. Green Bay will undoubtedly beat the Cowboys. By a lot.
  5. Detroit fans have been waiting 30 years for a home playoff game, and the Lions are going to give them a win. They are going to win by 3 in overtime.
  6. The Eagles are going to lose to the Buccaneers by 7.
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About the Contributor
Logan Betyak, Staff Writer
I am a sophomore at the Talon News as a staff writer and play baseball for Colonial Forge. When I am not playing baseball or writing, I am playing video games especially Madden or MLB The Show.
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