Seventh Heaven Hasn’t Existed for NFL Wild Card Teams

Expanding the NFL playoffs in 2020 to include a seventh team in each conference was supposed to give more teams an opportunity to win a Super Bowl. But all the new format has done is maintain the status quo for top seeds. Since the new format’s debut, the No. 7 teams are 0-6 in their first-round matchup against the No. 2 seed. The Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers will both try to make history this season.

With Super Bowl 58 approaching next month, the NFL’s history shows that the No. 1 seeds from each conference have played in the Super Bowl eight times, including six times in the past 15 years. But this year is a new year and presents new opportunities for players to make their name.

Pittsburgh seems the least likely of the No. 7 seeds to make history. The Steelers will have Mason Rudolph under center, making his first playoff start against the powerful Buffalo Bills. Green Bay quarterback Jordan Love will also be playing in the playoffs for the first time, but the Packers played well down the stretch and appear to be building up momentum at the right time.

Here’s a look at what to expect from Wild Card Weekend. The San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens are the NFC and AFC’s top seeds, respectively, and will enjoy having a week off to watch all of the madness play out.

 

Dolphins Want to Show They’ve Arrived

 

 

Miami has made major progress in two seasons under coach Mike McDaniel. The Dolphins would like to cement that growth by upsetting the third-seeded Kansas City Chiefs Saturday night at Arrowhead Stadium. Black sports news shows the Chiefs have flourished with quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

Kansas City has won two Super Bowls and played with another over the past ten seasons. However, the Chiefs have shown some cracks in their dominance this season. Kansas City’s wide receivers haven’t played well, and the offense has suffered as a result.

When the Dolphins’ offense is healthy, they are capable of beating anyone. However, wide receiver Jaylen Waddle and running back Raheem Mostert are both banged up. Miami had an opportunity to grab the No. 1 seed over the final two weeks of the season.

But the Dolphins laid an egg. They took a beating from Baltimore and ended the regular season with a difficult loss to Buffalo that cost them the division. 

 

Will the Rematch Go Any Differently?

 

Jalen Hurts would like to relieve the pain of the Eagles’ recent slide. Philadelphia started the season 10-1 and looked like the top NFC contender for the Super Bowl. But that didn’t last.

The Eagles’ offense looked like a shell of themselves down the stretch, and Philadelphia lost five of six games. What hurt the most was that the Eagles lost their spot as the No. 1 team in the conference and later lost out on the NFC East title as well. Philadelphia’s first-round playoff opponent should be one where they regain their mojo.

The Eagles beat up Tampa Bay 25-11 earlier in the season. The Buccaneers stumbled to the finish line, winning a sloppy 9-0 victory over the lowly Panthers to close out the year. Unless Baker Mayfield can recapture his magic, Hurts and company should roll.

 

Packers and Cowboys Set to Renew Hostilities

 

 

Thinking about a Packers and Dallas Cowboys playoffs game conjures up images of the Ice Bowl. But when the two teams meet in the Wild Card round, the meeting will take place in a dome in Arlington, Texas, which is mostly exempt from elemental challenges. Green Bay and Dallas met in two famous NFL Championship games in the late 1960s and have had playoff flare-ups since then every decade or so.

Green Bay last stunned Dallas on a last-second field goal to win 34-31 in the NFC Division round in 2017. But this weekend’s game has a new group of characters. All of them have something to earn in a legacy playoff game. Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy is trying to prove he can lead America’s Team to the Super Bowl, something he once did for Green Bay.

Packers quarterback Jordan Love is trying to earn love from a demanding fanbase. Current sports news shows this game may help dictate the immediate futures of both teams.

 

Donald and Company Try to Mount Another Super Bowl Ride

 

People believed the Los Angeles Rams may be done before this season. Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford was getting older, as well as multiple-time Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald. While it wasn’t pretty at the time, Los Angeles looks like a team that few will want to see in the playoffs.

The Lions, who haven’t won a playoff game since the early 1990s, have an exciting team but will still have to show what they are made of against a team with plenty of postseason experience.

 

Stroud Ready for Rematch With Old Man

 

Joe Flacco’s story is a fun one. The Cleveland Browns lost star running back Nick Chubb and quarterback Deshaun Watson to injuries this season. Still, the Browns were able to pull Flacco, a veteran quarterback who was sitting at home, off his couch and ride his veteran savvy to the playoffs.

That will put Flacco smack dab in the way of a rising star. Houston rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud has exceeded all expectations as a rookie and dragged the Texans to the playoffs. Stroud may want to learn something from Flacco’s approach in this game.

While Flacco has had uneven results in the regular season, he has always been lights out in the playoffs. Flacco has a 10-5 start in playoff games, although he hasn’t started in one since 2015. Both of these teams could be designated as Cinderella’s. Up-to-date sports news shows the quarterback play in this one will be a fascinating contrast of generations.

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