Wild Card Weekend

Quarterback Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns prepares to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers this Sunday during Wild Card Weekend.

Ron Schwane

Quarterback Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns prepares to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers this Sunday during Wild Card Weekend.

Kennedy Jones, Staff Writer

The NFL is heating up as the playoffs are here with wild card games beginning this weekend. These super six games are necessary in order for teams to punch their ticket to the divisional rounds on the road to Super Bowl LV.

This weekend, 12 teams will be facing off in six super wild card games. These games between both AFC and NFC teams are crucial because a win means they will advance deeper into the postseason.

Wild card weekend begins Saturday January 9, with an AFC matchup between the Indianapolis Colts and the Buffalo Bills at 12:00 PM. The Bills offense became a dangerous force in the regular season thanks to quarterback Josh Allen. However, the stable defense of the Colts could provide concern for Allen along with the Colts’ rookie running back Jonathan Taylor.

“Allen is playing well and is capable of spreading the ball around well. The Colts also don’t have a true shutdown corner for star receiver Stefon Diggs,” NFL writer Vinnie Iyer said.

Also on Saturday, at 3:40 PM the Los Angeles Rams will kick off against the Seattle Seahawks. The Rams are coming off a shaky week after both quarterback Jared Goff and receiver Cooper Kupp were out with injuries. They are scheduled to be back for the wild card game against the strong Seahawk offense. However, the Rams number one defense led by Aaron Donald will likely shut down receivers D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. Look out for a very exciting score line throughout this game.

Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will face the Washington Football Team Saturday night at 7:15 PM. Washington’s steady running game will be crucial to their survival in this matchup. However, quarterback Alex Smith does have a few strong receivers to help the offense, but this team is truly led by their strong defense and rookie Chase Young. The Buc’s have a solid offense and are led by veteran QB Tom Brady. They have many key receivers that Washington must keep up with on defense and this game could hinge on the availability of receiver Mike Evans.

Sunday starts off with the Baltimore Ravens and the Tennessee Titans at 12:00 PM. The key to this game is the Ravens defensive advantage over the Titans. Their defense is capable of stopping the Titans star running back Derrick Henry. Both teams are playing fairly equal offensive games so it will ultimately come down to who has the better defense.

The New Orleans Saints will face the Chicago Bears at 4:40 PM on Sunday. The Saints are a favorite among many to win this game just based on their 12-5 record. If the talented Alvin Kamara at running back and receiver Michael Thomas can play this powerful offense led by veteran QB Drew Brees should score early and often against a struggling Bears defense. However, if they can’t go the Bears could have a much better fate.

Wild Card weekend ends with the Cleveland Browns versus the Pittsburgh Steelers at 7:15 PM. The Browns beat the Steelers just last weekend for a spot in the wild card game. However, the Steelers didn’t need to win that game and sat several starters including QB Ben Roethlisberger so expect them to come out more aggressive than they did in week 17. The Browns will have establish a running game in order to win against the 12-4 Steelers.  

This football filled weekend is sure to surprise fans as Super Bowl LV gets closer. Be sure to tune in to CBS, FOX, ESPN, and NBC to watch these teams go head to head for a spot in the playoffs!