Sports

The NFL playoffs are about to get actual

That is an excerpt from The Buzzer, which is CBC Sports activities’ each day e-mail publication. Keep up to the mark on what’s occurring in sports activities by subscribing right here.

Final week’s Tremendous Wild Card spherical was certainly fairly tremendous. And wild. In a shocking upset, Inexperienced Bay blew out No. 2 seed Dallas. Defending NFC champion Philadelphia received cooked by Tampa Bay. Houston, one of many worst groups within the league final 12 months, annihilated favoured Cleveland.

Even the extra predictable outcomes got here with a spicy twist. Detroit scored its first playoff win in 32 years — over former Lions star Matthew Stafford and the Rams. Reigning Tremendous Bowl champion Kansas Metropolis’s convincing win over Miami was one of many coldest video games in NFL historical past. And Buffalo followers needed to actually dig their approach to their seats to observe their workforce beat Pittsburgh after a blizzard dumped two ft of snow on the Payments’ stadium.

So, that was enjoyable. However now issues get extra severe as high seeds Baltimore and San Francisco attract from their first-round byes. With journeys to the convention finals on the road, this is a fast scene-setter for all 4 of this weekend’s matchups:

Houston Texans at Baltimore Ravens (Saturday 4:30 p.m. ET)

The Texans are an awesome story. They completed second-last within the NFL final season with a document of 3-13-1, then have been known as reckless for buying and selling up so as to add the third choice within the draft. However, man, did they nail their picks. Second-overall selection C.J. Stroud is prone to win Offensive Rookie of the Yr after main Houston to a shocking AFC South title, No. 3 decide Will Anderson had seven sacks, and third-round choice Tank Dell seemed like an rising star earlier than struggling a season-ending damage in December.

Stroud was as soon as once more sensational in final week’s gorgeous 45-14 blowout of favoured Cleveland, whereas Anderson had a sack and helped the defence induce rattled Browns QB Joe Flacco right into a pair of pick-sixes. However the Texans will face a a lot harder problem on either side of the ball in opposition to Baltimore, which gained 10 of its final 11 significant video games to complete an NFL-best 13-4. Twin-threat QB Lamar Jackson is prone to win his second MVP award after throwing 24 landing passes and working for greater than 800 yards, and the Ravens D might be the very best within the league proper now.

Inexperienced Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers (Saturday 8:15 p.m. ET)

The younger Packers eked into the NFC playoffs on the ultimate day of the common season, then blew the doorways off second-seeded Dallas for the most important — and most emphatic — upset of the opening spherical. Inexperienced Bay led 27-0 earlier than gliding to a 48-32 win.

Whereas Houston’s C.J. Stroud was everybody’s favorite rookie QB for many of the season, Packers quasi-rookie Jordan Love has turned heads together with his stellar play during the last two months in his first 12 months as a starter. After throwing for 3 touchdowns final week, Love now has 21 TD passes and only one interception in his final 9 video games.

San Francisco, although, is a unique animal than Dallas. With one among soccer’s fiercest defences and its strongest offence, the 49ers will not fold just like the delicate Cowboys. Assuming second-year QB Brock Purdy holds up, the San Fran assault is sort of unstoppable with creative coach Kyle Shanahan designing beautiful performs for does-everything working again Christian McCaffrey and star go catchers Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk and George Kittle.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Detroit Lions (Sunday 3 p.m. ET)

You have gotta love any sports activities consequence that brings grown males to tears. That was the scene Sunday evening in Detroit as long-suffering Lions followers celebrated their first playoff win in 32 years. A pair from bordering Windsor, Ont., even introduced their late fathers’ ashes to the sport. The 24-23 victory over the Rams was additionally cathartic for Lions quarterback Jared Goff, who had watched his counterpart Stafford promptly win the Tremendous Bowl with L.A. in 2022 after they have been traded for one another.

The Lions now have an excellent probability of reaching their first NFC title sport since Barry Sanders’ heyday as they host in all probability the worst workforce left within the playoffs. Tampa Bay gained the comical NFC South with a 10-8 document earlier than placing the decaying Philadelphia Eagles out of their distress with a 32-9 thrashing on Monday evening.

Kansas Metropolis at Buffalo Payments (Sunday 6:30 p.m. ET)

Patrick Mahomes has gained two Tremendous Bowl trophies, two Tremendous Bowl MVP awards and a pair of regular-season MVPs. However, in some way, he is by no means performed a real highway playoff sport within the NFL. All 12 of his AFC playoff contests have occurred at Arrowhead Stadium, the place he is 10-2, and his three Tremendous Bowls have been performed at impartial websites.

Now, soccer’s greatest star should journey to essentially the most hostile setting conceivable because the NFL’s wildest fans “welcome” him to their rickety previous stadium in frosty Orchard Park, N.Y. Mahomes has by no means confronted the Payments Mafia — his solely earlier sport in Western New York, in October 2020, was performed in an empty stadium throughout the COVID pandemic. 

Since profitable that matchup, Mahomes is 0-3 within the common season in opposition to the Payments and their very own MVP-calibre QB, Josh Allen — together with a 20-17 loss in December that turned on an offside name on Ok.C. receiver Kadarius Toney. However he is 2-0 within the playoffs, blowing out the Payments within the AFC title sport three years in the past earlier than rallying for an unimaginable 42-36 extra time victory within the well-known “13 seconds” thriller in January 2022. One other traditional could possibly be in retailer on Sunday evening.

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