The 2023 NFL playoffs are right here, and the No. 1 seeds in every convention — the Ravens within the AFC and the 49ers within the NFC — will obtain first-round byes. The rest 12 groups will play in subsequent week’s three-day wild-card around. Two video games can be performed Saturday, 3 Sunday, and the motion will culminate in a Monday evening finale that can be broadcast through ABC/ESPN.
Our playoff primer will preview the wild-card matchups and take a broader have a look at what every staff should do to achieve Tremendous Bowl LVIII on Feb. 11 at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. ESPN analytics creator Seth Walder recognized a key stat to stay up for every staff, and we’re going to additionally preview which opponent every playoff staff may see, in conjunction with the ones groups’ up to date possibilities by the use of ESPN’s Soccer Energy Index (FPI). Odds are by the use of ESPN BET.
Odds to win Tremendous Bowl: +325
FPI likelihood to make Tremendous Bowl: 54.8%
First sport outlook: The Ravens earned the AFC’s bye and home-field merit and can play the lowest-seeded last wild-card staff Jan. 20 or 21. They’ll both face the winner of the Browns-Texans sport, the Dolphins or the Steelers. The Ravens break up their season sequence with Cleveland, beating the Browns in Week 4 whilst shedding the Week 10 rematch. They have been swept through the Steelers, shedding to Pittsburgh in Weeks 5 and 18, and trounced Miami 56-19 in Week 17.
Explanation why for hope: The Ravens have performed their superb towards the most productive. With quarterback Lamar Jackson, Baltimore has long past 7-1 towards groups that entered the sport with a profitable list. Baltimore creates such a lot of matchup issues of the mix of Jackson’s distinctive playmaking taste and the stingiest protection within the league. In December, the Ravens routed 3 department leaders — the Jaguars, 49ers and Dolphins — through a median of twenty-two.3 issues. “We play a logo of soccer that folks do not wish to play,” Ravens inside of linebacker Patrick Queen mentioned.
Explanation why for fear: The Ravens’ unsettling playoff monitor list. Since 2018, Baltimore has the NFL’s second-best list within the common season (66-32) and some of the worst marks within the postseason, shedding 4 of its 5 playoff video games. Jackson has thrown 3 landing passes and 5 interceptions within the postseason, and his 41.5 General QBR within the playoffs is the worst amongst quarterbacks who’ve performed a minimum of 3 playoff video games over the last 5 years. The one different time the Ravens have been a No. 1 seed used to be in 2019, after they have been disappointed through the Titans within the divisional around. — Jamison Hensley
Stat to understand: Zay Flora has a key characteristic that the Ravens necessary: He will get open. The rookie wideout already ranked fifteenth out of 106 huge receivers in open rating (72) getting into Week 18. The enhanced play at huge receiver (together with however now not unique to Flora) this season has been the most important to Baltimore’s advanced offensive play. Particularly with tight finish Mark Andrews out (ankle), Flora has performed and can play a key function getting open for Jackson. — Walder
Odds to win Tremendous Bowl: +600
FPI likelihood to make Tremendous Bowl: 25.8%
First sport outlook: The Expenses are making their 5th immediately playoff look and get started this postseason through web hosting the Steelers on Sunday (1 p.m. ET, CBS). The Expenses and Steelers didn’t play this season and feature now not confronted every different in a playoff sport because the 1995 divisional around, when Pittsburgh prevailed. That is their fourth postseason assembly, with the Steelers preserving a 2-1 merit.
Explanation why for hope: The Expenses were given sizzling on the proper time and feature a lot of playoff enjoy. The Expenses have received 5 immediately video games and 6 of the previous seven with the staff mainly in playoff mode with so little room for error. The Expenses’ protection is taking part in nicely and getting wholesome on the proper time with beginning defensive take on DaQuan Jones again from injured reserve. At the enjoy facet, this staff has an important collection of gamers which were across the group for some time and know what the playoffs deliver, as they have got received 4 immediately AFC East titles and made 5 consecutive playoff appearances.
Explanation why for fear: Offensive inconsistency. This offense has proven how just right it may be — glance to wins towards the Cowboys in Week 15 and the Dolphins in Week 4 for examples — but it surely has additionally struggled to get going early in video games and suffered from miscommunication. The Expenses have allowed groups that they will have to beat convincingly to stay round, just like the Patriots and Chargers, on account of offensive miscues and now not striking issues at the board early. Drops are a topic (16 in their 24 coming between Weeks 10 and 17) and quarterback Josh Allen had a career-high 18 interceptions this season. At its superb, this offense is unstoppable, however averting errors can be paramount in the event that they wish to make a deep postseason run. — Alaina Getzenberg
Stat to understand: Buffalo ranked fourth in move block win fee this season, and one giant reason why has been Dion Dawkins, whose 93% move block win fee ranked fourth amongst all tackles. Dawkins used to be deservingly decided on to the Professional Bowl. — Walder
Odds to win Tremendous Bowl: +900
FPI likelihood to make Tremendous Bowl: 8.2%
First sport outlook: The Chiefs will host the Dolphins within the wild-card around Saturday (8 p.m. ET, Peacock). Kansas Town received the Week 9 assembly between the groups, preserving off the Dolphins 21-14 in Frankfurt, Germany. This sport would be the 14th consecutive domestic playoff sport for the Chiefs since 2016. They have not confronted Miami within the playoffs because the 1994 wild-card around, a sport the Dolphins received 27-17.
Explanation why for hope: The Chiefs have a protection that helps to keep them in video games. Kansas Town had the second-best scoring protection within the league, giving up 17.1 issues in keeping with sport. It offers the Chiefs an opportunity to win each and every time. When necessary to offer protection to a slim lead overdue within the sport, the protection has flourished.
Explanation why for fear: Offensive sloppiness. Kansas Town led the NFL in dropped passes, ceaselessly in the most important scenarios or resulting in turnovers, and used to be a few of the leaders in offensive consequences and turnovers. There is arguably no larger reason why they misplaced 4 in their previous 8 video games. Such errors appear baked into their collective DNA. — Adam Teicher
Stat to understand: The Chiefs’ offense has issues, however the inside in their offensive line isn’t one in every of them. That unit — comprising guards Joe Thuney and Trey Smith and middle Creed Humphrey — is as stout as ever in move coverage. The guards rank first and moment in move block win fee at their place, and Humphrey is first amongst facilities, too. — Walder
Odds to win Tremendous Bowl: +4000
FPI likelihood to make Tremendous Bowl: 1.7%
First sport outlook: The Texans will host the Browns on Saturday (4:30 p.m. ET, NBC) within the first playoff assembly between the groups and the Texans’ first playoff sport since 2019. Houston misplaced to Cleveland 36-22 in Week 16 at NRG Stadium in a sport that quarterback C.J. Stroud ignored with a concussion. The Texans gave up 368 yards passing to Browns quarterback Joe Flacco.
Explanation why for hope: At its superb, Houston has crushed playoff contenders. The Texans have wins towards the Jaguars, Buccaneers and Bengals with Joe Burrow — who have been on a four-game profitable streak on the time. With Offensive Rookie of the 12 months candidate Stroud beneath middle, Houston believes it might probably beat any one.
Explanation why for fear: The Texans have misplaced to the bottom-tier groups of the NFL. They gave QB Bryce Younger and the Panthers their first win of the season in Week 8. They misplaced to the Falcons in Week 5 and allowed QB Desmond Ridder to have a profession day. And the Jets in Week 14, who’ve the Twenty ninth-ranked scoring offense, dropped 30 issues towards them. Whilst Houston would possibly not face the ones kinds of groups within the playoffs, it is laborious to understand which Texans staff will display up. — DJ Bien-Aime
Stat to understand: Wideout Nico Collins ranked within the height 10 in each catch rating (6th with 84) and YAC rating (tied for moment with 71) in ESPN’s receiver monitoring metrics getting into Week 18. In different phrases, he’s making catches and producing yards after the catch at an overly excessive fee relative to expectancies in keeping with the performs in query. Collins’ breakout has been a the most important element of Houston’s luck. — Walder
Odds to win Tremendous Bowl: +2500
FPI likelihood to make Tremendous Bowl: 2.4%
First sport outlook: The Browns’ first playoff sport in 3 seasons will are available in Houston, as they play on the Texans on Saturday (4:30 p.m. ET, NBC). Cleveland trounced Houston in a Week 16 matchup at NRG Stadium, a sport during which huge receiver Amari Cooper stuck 11 passes for a franchise-record 265 yards and two touchdowns.
Explanation why for hope: The Browns roll into the postseason with arguably the NFL’s height protection. Myles Garrett is without doubt one of the league’s elite pass-rushers, whilst cornerbacks Denzel Ward and Martin Emerson Jr. have locked up opposing wideouts all season. Cleveland’s protection is an issue for any taste of offense it’ll face within the playoffs.
Explanation why for fear: The Browns have dedicated a league-high 37 turnovers. They have got by some means triumph over them thus far, partially, since the Cleveland protection has compelled the sixth-most turnovers (28). However will the Browns be capable of proceed overcoming their turnover factor within the playoffs? Historical past means that can be tricky. — Jake Trotter
Stat to understand: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah ranks moment amongst linebackers in run prevent win fee and recorded a very good 31% move rush win fee on his 78 move rushes this season. He hasn’t been at the area 100% of the time for Cleveland, but if he is been available in the market, he is been stable. — Walder
Odds to win Tremendous Bowl: +1800
FPI likelihood to make Tremendous Bowl: 6.5%
First sport outlook: The Dolphins are making back-to-back playoff appearances and can attempt to win their first postseason sport since 2000 after they play on the Chiefs on Saturday (8 p.m. ET, Peacock). The Dolphins misplaced to the Chiefs in Week 9 in Frankfurt, Germany, falling in the back of 21-0 early ahead of their comeback fell simply brief in a 21-14 loss. Miami is 3-0 towards Kansas Town within the playoffs, together with a double-overtime win on Christmas Day within the 1971 divisional playoffs.
Explanation why for hope: Their offense, at even 80% power, options one of the most superb playmakers within the NFL. If the Dolphins get right into a rhythm and are allowed to dictate the pace of a sport, there don’t seem to be many groups that may comprise them. RB De’Von Achane‘s efficiency in Week 17 impressed some self belief that he may give a potent one-two punch with Raheem Mostert. Their explosiveness, coupled with that of receivers Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle, give Miami an opportunity to attain anytime its offense takes the sphere.
Explanation why for fear: Miami’s protection saved itself afloat after shedding Jaelan Phillips to a torn Achilles however shedding Bradley Chubb in Week 17 to a torn ACL would possibly end up too tough to triumph over. With out their height two pass-rushers, the Dolphins will flip to Andrew Van Ginkel, Melvin Ingram and Emmanuel Ogbah — which is not a foul contingency plan. However there is no intensity on the place past the ones 3, a minimum of now not with a confirmed NFL monitor list. Waddle’s ankle will take an undetermined period of time to heal, and Miami continues to be lacking center linebacker Jerome Baker (knee). Accidents don’t seem to be in most cases an excuse within the NFL, however those can be laborious to triumph over. — Marcel Louis-Jacques
Stat to understand: There is no method round it: Dropping each Phillips and Chubb — who used to be having a actually great season with a top-10 move rush win fee at edge and 6 compelled fumbles — hurts Miami’s possibilities of creating a deep playoff run. The participant to look at to switch them is Van Ginkel. He hasn’t been relatively on their degree however is cast, with a 18% move rush win fee at edge (in conjunction with 6.0 sacks) this is a minimum of common for the placement. However then in that sport he were given harm, too. Without or with him, Miami goes to wish different gamers to step in move rush.. — Walder
Odds to win Tremendous Bowl: +15000
FPI likelihood to make Tremendous Bowl: 0.6%
First sport outlook: The Steelers have not received a postseason sport since 2016 and can attempt to trade that after they play on the Expenses on Sunday (1 p.m. ET, CBS). The Steelers did not play the Expenses this season however have a 2-1 list over Buffalo within the playoffs, despite the fact that this can be their first time taking part in a postseason sport in Buffalo.
Explanation why for hope: QB Mason Rudolph. Sure, you learn that proper. As soon as the scapegoat and punchline in Pittsburgh, Rudolph’s resurgence over the season’s ultimate 3 weeks has the Steelers again within the playoffs. His willingness to throw the deep ball — and luck doing it — has unfolded the offense and ended in a balanced assault. Underneath Rudolph, the Steelers’ offense scored greater than 30 issues in back-to-back video games (Weeks 16-17) for the primary time since Weeks 5-6 of the 2020 season.
Explanation why for fear: As soon as the power of the staff, the Steelers’ protection has been marred through accidents, together with an MCL sprain to T.J. Watt within the 3rd quarter of Saturday’s win towards Baltimore that can make him virtually for sure unavailable within the first around of the playoffs. All 3 of the Steelers’ unfastened company additions at inside of linebacker have ignored time on account of vital accidents, together with season-ending accidents to Kwon Alexander (Achilles) and Cole Holcomb (knee), which has the Steelers leaning on 3 gamers who have been both retired or on apply squads for vital snaps. And All-Professional protection Minkah Fitzpatrick suffered a knee damage towards the Colts in Week 15 and hasn’t performed or practiced since. — Brooke Pryor
Stat to understand: Rookie CB Joey Porter Jr. allowed 0.9 yards in keeping with protection snap as the closest defender heading into Week 18, in keeping with NFL Subsequent Gen Stats. That used to be the fourth-lowest mark through an outdoor nook with a minimum of 250 protection snaps. He has allowed 75 yards by the use of penalty, however his numbers this season have been mighty spectacular. — Walder
Odds to win Tremendous Bowl: +225
FPI likelihood to make Tremendous Bowl: 59.3%
First sport outlook: The 49ers locked up the NFC’s bye in Week 17 and can face the lowest-seeded wild-card winner within the divisional around both Jan. 20 or 21. That opponent would be the winner of the Eagles-Buccaneers sport, the Rams or the Packers. The 49ers have performed 3 of the ones 4 groups this season, splitting two video games with the Rams (profitable in Week 2, shedding on Sunday) whilst notching wins over the Bucs and Eagles in Weeks 11 and 13, respectively.
Explanation why for hope: The 49ers have some of the NFL’s superb and maximum balanced rosters paired with a lot of playoff enjoy and a much-needed bye. Except for their Christmas evening letdown towards the Ravens, the 49ers had been a juggernaut when boasting a (most commonly) wholesome roster. Within the ultimate few weeks, San Francisco appeared like a staff wanting a bye. Getting the end seed and the week off that is going with it will have to bode nicely for the Niners’ well being and possibilities at a deep playoff run. Following their Week 9 bye, the Niners performed arguably their superb soccer of the season right through a six-game profitable streak during which they received through a median of 20 issues.
Explanation why for fear: What occurs in the event that they fall in the back of? It is not such a lot that the Niners are incapable of profitable if their opponent will get an early lead such a lot as they have got hardly been in the ones scenarios. When they have got, they have got been not able to forge a comeback and win. The 49ers had a halftime lead in 11 in their 12 victories and have been tied within the different one. They have got trailed getting into the 3rd quarter thrice and misplaced all 3. The 49ers have a just right dependancy of leaping on warring parties and striking them away early, however it is honest to marvel how key younger gamers, comparable to quarterback Brock Purdy and kicker Jake Moody, will reply in the event that they get in an in depth postseason sport during which they have got to ship beneath power. — Nick Wagoner
Stat to understand: Brandon Aiyuk‘s 3.3 yards in keeping with direction run ranks 3rd within the NFL heading into Week 18, in the back of simplest Tyreek Hill and Nico Collins. But it surely additionally ranks 5th amongst huge receiver seasons since 2007. We will have to now not sleep on simply how absurdly environment friendly Aiyuk’s season has been and what a playmaker he has grow to be for San Francisco. — Walder
Odds to win Tremendous Bowl: +750
FPI likelihood to make Tremendous Bowl: 25%
First sport outlook: The Cowboys are making their 3rd immediately playoff look, and this one begins towards the Packers within the wild-card around Sunday (4:30 p.m. ET, Fox). Whilst the groups did not face every different this season, this would be the 9th time they have got met within the playoffs. The postseason sequence is tied 4-4, however Dallas has dropped the previous two, the latest a 34-31 walk-off loss to the Packers at domestic within the 2016 divisional around.
Explanation why for hope: The Jimmy Johnson curse has been lifted now that the trainer has been put within the Ring of Honor. Whats up, when a Tremendous Bowl drought reaches 27 years, you will have to take a look at anything else. However QB Dak Prescott has had his superb season, receiver CeeDee Lamb has been unstoppable since Week 5, and the protection is able to shutting groups down when it will get to paintings with a lead with its move rush and skill to take the ball away.
Explanation why for fear: Till they do it, how are you able to be satisfied that is the Cowboys’ 12 months? The offense has sputtered some down the stretch as the contest has advanced, and the run protection remains to be a topic (ranked sixteenth after Week 18). If the Cowboys need to play in San Francisco, is there self belief they are able to beat the 49ers when they have got misplaced within the playoffs every of the previous two seasons and have been bludgeoned through them 42-10 within the 2023 common season? — Todd Archer
Stat to understand: It is no marvel that cornerback DaRon Bland leads all outdoor corners in lowest EPA allowed as the closest defender, in step with NFL Subsequent Gen Stats, given his 5 pick-sixes. However the quantity that sticks out: In spite of the alternatives, Bland has allowed 1.5 yards in keeping with protection snap heading into Week 18, the twenty first best (worst) through an outdoor nook with a minimum of 250 protection snaps. Put the ones two numbers in combination, and what does that say? Bland is a boom-or-bust nook who’s the definition of an X issue for Dallas within the playoffs. — Walder
Odds to win Tremendous Bowl: +1800
FPI likelihood to make Tremendous Bowl: 5.1%
First sport outlook: The Lions will host the Rams within the wild-card around Sunday (8 p.m. ET, NBC), the primary playoff sport Detroit has hosted since 1993. The Lions are making their first playoff look since 2016 and have not received a postseason sport since 1991. Whilst the Rams and Lions didn’t meet this season and feature simplest performed one postseason sport towards every different, Lions quarterback Jared Goff spent his first 5 seasons in Los Angeles, main the Rams to the Tremendous Bowl in 2018.
Explanation why for hope: The Lions have a ton of objectives who can cross off at any second in wideout Amon-Ra St. Brown, working backs Jahmyr Gibbs and David 1st viscount montgomery of alamein, and rookie tight finish Sam LaPorta (he suffered a hyperextension and bone bruise damage in Week 18), amongst others. They have got proved they’re greater than able to striking up issues towards any staff with Goff, who has playoff and Tremendous Bowl enjoy, guiding the send. That makes this staff bad, and it is motivated in the back of a strong-willed trainer in Dan Campbell to switch the historical past of a franchise that hasn’t received a playoff sport because the 1991 season.
Explanation why for fear: Are the Lions reliable? Sure, they have got performed beautifully within the common season, however the staff hasn’t made the playoffs since 2016. Lots of its gamers are younger and absence postseason enjoy, so will they display up at the giant level? Additionally, the protection has problems preventing giant performs within the secondary and giving up dashing yards to cellular quarterbacks, which would possibly not be an element within the wild-card around however generally is a fear additional down the street. — Eric Woodyard
Stat to understand: Amongst slot corners with a minimum of 250 protection snaps, rookie protection Brian Department has the fourth-best EPA allowed as the closest defender (minus-17) and a better-than-average 1.0 yards in keeping with protection snap heading into Week 18. He is an asset for the Lions’ protection. — Walder
Odds to win Tremendous Bowl: +7500
FPI likelihood to make Tremendous Bowl: 1.4%
First-game outlook: The Buccaneers are making their fourth consecutive playoff look and get started it with a well-known opponent, as they’re going to host the Eagles on Monday, Jan. 15 (8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN/ABC/ESPN+). Those groups met in Week 3 at Raymond James Stadium, a 25-11 Eagles win during which the Bucs have been held to 174 yards of offense. Tampa Bay has achieved nicely towards the Eagles within the playoffs despite the fact that, profitable 3 of 5 conferences.
Explanation why for hope: The Bucs discovered a logo of profitable soccer that culminated in a four-game win streak previous to their Week 17 loss to the Saints. In that streak — in particular the wins over the Packers and Jaguars — they have been ready to maintain drives and rating on offense, averaging 28.5 issues in keeping with sport. Quarterback Baker Mayfield used to be at his superb in that span too, throwing 9 touchdowns and only one interception. The protection — marred through inconsistency halfway throughout the season — regained a few of its misplaced swagger and surrendered simply 18.8 issues in keeping with sport in that span.
Explanation why for fear: Which Bucs staff will display up? They have got been wildly inconsistent this season between offensive coordinator Dave Canales’ rising pains and a protection that provides up giant bite performs however by some means stays stout within the crimson zone. The offense’s momentum got here to a screeching halt in Week 17, and the Bucs have been again to self-inflicted wounds with consequences, drops and fumbles. Plus, Mayfield is coping with a rib damage that might impact his talent to throw. — Jenna Laine
Stat to understand: Protection Antoine Winfield Jr.’s numbers are, to position it merely, ridiculous. We will get started with the field rating numbers: He has compelled six fumbles, recorded 3 interceptions and delivered six sacks. However the complicated numbers again his have an effect on, too: His run prevent win fee ranks first amongst all defensive backs with a minimum of 50 qualifying performs. — Walder
Odds to win Tremendous Bowl: +1400
FPI likelihood to make Tremendous Bowl: 4.1%
First-game outlook: The Eagles get started their 3rd immediately playoff marketing campaign with a wild-card matchup on the Buccaneers on Monday, Jan. 15 (8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN/ABC/ESPN+). The Eagles face a staff they treated simply in Week 3 en path to a 25-11 victory. That is the 6th postseason assembly between the groups, with the Bucs proudly owning a 3-2 merit. Philadelphia has misplaced its previous two playoff conferences with the Buccaneers, the latest a 31-15 defeat within the 2021 wild-card around.
Explanation why for hope: The Eagles’ offense stays some of the gifted devices within the NFL. Quarterback Jalen Hurts, an MVP candidate previous to the staff’s fresh slide, operates in the back of some of the superb offensive traces in soccer and along arguably the end receiver duo in franchise historical past in A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith. The play design may use extra creativity, and the premature consequences and turnovers wish to prevent, however this crew is able to striking up giant numbers even towards the league’s superb.
Explanation why for fear: The protection. A transfer from Sean Desai to Matt Patricia because the defensive playcaller has now not ended in the specified turnaround thus far. The Eagles battle on 3rd down, within the crimson zone and in move protection, and now the power of the unit — rush protection — is faltering as nicely. Philadelphia will most likely go out the postseason early if there is not marked development. — Tim McManus
Stat to understand: Amid a lot of unhappiness, one Eagles stalwart has saved his degree of play extremely excessive: Lane Johnson. The Eagles’ proper take on got here into Week 18 ranked first and 9th in run block win fee and move block win fee, respectively, amongst all tackles. — Walder
Odds to win Tremendous Bowl: +5000
FPI likelihood to make Tremendous Bowl: 3.8%
First sport outlook: The Rams will play on the Lions within the wild-card around (8 p.m. ET, Sunday, NBC) in quarterback Matthew Stafford‘s first sport in Detroit since being traded from the Lions to the Rams in January 2021. The Lions and Rams have simplest met as soon as within the playoffs, with Los Angeles shedding to Detroit 21-18 within the 1952 department playoffs.
Explanation why for hope: The Rams’ offense has performed its superb soccer of the season since its Week 10 bye. Los Angeles has averaged 29.9 issues in keeping with sport in of its previous seven video games and has had that luck towards one of the most league’s height defenses (Cleveland, Baltimore and San Francisco). The Rams have a well-balanced offense, led through Stafford, second-year working again Kyren Williams and huge receivers Cooper Kupp and Offensive Rookie of the 12 months candidate Puka Nacua.
Explanation why for fear: The Rams rank thirty second in particular groups DVOA and feature ignored 16 mixed area targets and further issues, probably the most of any staff this season, in step with ESPN Stats & Knowledge. In Week 17 towards the Giants, the Rams ignored two further issues and allowed a 94-yard punt go back within the fourth quarter. After that sport, Los Angeles made any other trade at kicker, chopping Lucas Havrisik and re-signing Brett Maher. The Rams are looking to repair their problems on particular groups, however it is a space that might price them a sport within the postseason. — Sarah Barshop
Stat to understand: Ernest Jones ranks fourth amongst linebackers in run prevent win fee. The truth that the Rams have even had an satisfactory protection (twenty fourth in EPA in keeping with play allowed, twenty first vs. the run) is a testomony to gamers comparable to Jones given what number of unknowns this unit began the season with. — Walder
Odds to win Tremendous Bowl: +10000
FPI likelihood to make Tremendous Bowl: 1.3%
First sport outlook: The Packers will take at the No. 2-seeded Cowboys within the wild-card around at AT&T Stadium (4:30 p.m. ET, Sunday, Fox). Those two are widespread playoff warring parties, as that is the 9th postseason assembly between the franchises. The sequence is tied 4-4 with the Packers profitable the previous two, the latest coming within the 2016 divisional around when the Packers defeated the top-seeded Cowboys 34-31 on a walk-off, 51-yard area purpose through Mason Crosby.
Explanation why for hope: Quarterback Jordan Love would possibly now not but be Brett Favre-Aaron Rodgers 3.0, but it surely certain seems like he is headed in that course. What is extra, he has a gaggle of younger pass-catchers who — whilst in all probability missing a dominant No. 1 choice — be offering a number of succesful choices, particularly when wholesome. Inexperienced persons Jayden Reed, Dontayvion Wicks, Luke Musgrave and Tucker Kraft all have had giant video games to move in conjunction with second-year receivers Romeo Doubs and Christian Watson. And do not put out of your mind about veteran RB Aaron Jones, who confirmed overdue within the season that he nonetheless has it.
Explanation why for fear: The protection did simply sufficient down the stretch, however that does not imply it is nonetheless now not able to melting down. It virtually did so within the Week 16 win at Carolina; the Panthers simply ran out of time. There are nonetheless main questions on whether or not defensive coordinator Joe Barry’s scheme, sport plan and playcalling can dangle up and whether or not the gamers on that facet of the ball can execute it within the largest moments. That is nonetheless the similar unit that has allowed probably the most 200-yard dashing video games. — Rob Demovsky
Stat to understand: There is actual reason why to shop for the late-season breakout of Wicks. The rookie fifth-rounder recorded a 66 general rating in ESPN’s receiver monitoring metrics and used to be above common in all 3 aspects — open rating, catch rating and YAC rating. Whilst different younger wideouts, comparable to Watson and Reed, have flashed some luck, they may use the entire lend a hand they are able to get. Wicks seems like he may give some now and going ahead. — Walder