We made it to the NFL Wild Card round! The National Football League playoffs have begun, and along with them comes the Super Wildcard Weekend. Might a trademarked brand slogan be trying to mislead us? I’m not completely sure what’s so fantastic about three lines of 8.5 points or more and three third-string quarterbacks beginning, but hey, could a copyrighted brand slogan lie to us?
It seems as though the year 2022 did not provide us with 14 teams who are worthy of being in the running for the Super Bowl at this point. There is a fairly obvious group of five teams that make up the top tier, and those teams are the Chiefs, Bills, Bengals, Eagles, and 49ers.
On their finest days, the Cowboys are capable of rising to challenge that level, just as the Ravens are when they have a former MVP starting at quarterback for them. But what about after that? It appears that there is a considerable divide between those who have and those who do not, and we intend to devote the majority of this weekend to closing the gap between the two groups.
On the other hand, we have seen incredible postseason runs come from the most unexpected of locations. In 2012, Joe Flacco had a slight resemblance to Joe Montana for a period of one month. In 2007, the Giants were a barrier in the way of achieving perfection. A late-round nobody named Tom Brady, who had no chance of winning, managed to pull off a Cinderella upset in 2001.
These runs will be remembered for a long time in part because their teams were considered to be long shots when the postseason started. Perhaps this will be the year that Justin Herbert and Trevor Lawrence etch their names into the annals of history.
It’s possible that Geno Smith’s unlikely comeback season will have a happy ending fit for a storybook. Perhaps the Minnesota Vikings will be able to… Alright, we can only go so far with our imaginations. But let’s not say anyone is out of the game until they actually are out of the game.
In addition, a special Saturday edition of the Football Outsiders liveblog will be published where we will provide live coverage of today’s games. The second-seeded San Francisco 49ers will begin today’s action by attempting to defeat the first-seeded Seattle Seahawks for the third time in a row this season. The day’s action will conclude with a battle between Justin Herbert and Trevor Lawrence, which may serve as a preview of the future of the American Football Conference.
And because the event is taking place in real time, you are welcome to take part in the conversation as well. Participate in the discussion in one of three ways: either in the comment area of this post, on Twitter by tagging @FBOutsiders or @BryKno, or on our brand-new server on Discord, where some of your favorite authors will be hanging out and reacting live to what you have to say.
It’s time to start the playoffs!
An Early Look at the Matchup Between the Seahawks and 49ers
It is difficult to triumph over the same opponent three times in the same season.
To put it simply, yes and no. It is difficult to defeat the same team three times in a row, but that is only because it is difficult to defeat any opponent in the NFL. The 49ers will become the 25th club in the Super Bowl era to sweep two games against an opponent in the regular season and then face them again in the playoffs.
This feat will be accomplished by the 49ers against the Seahawks. These teams have a combined record of 14-10 in their third matchup, which includes San Francisco’s loss to the Rams in the NFC Championship game from the previous season. As a result, they are well aware that success in the past does not guarantee success in the future. But the clubs that hosted the third game have a more comfortable 13-6 record.
These are the teams that had a better record and a higher seed and were, at least on paper, the superior team overall. The Seahawks have struggled a bit down the stretch, which is one reason why the 49ers are a 9.5-point favorite; it would be a big shock if Seattle were to become the first seventh seed to win.
The Seahawks were defeated 27-7 and 21-13 in their first two games, and they didn’t score an offensive touchdown until the last minutes of the second game’s garbage time. But Pete Carroll is no stranger to victory against Kyle Shanahan, and if there was ever a moment to pull out all the stops, it would be that moment.
In addition, I think that the majority of 49ers fans can still see this when they close their eyes, despite the fact that it happened almost ten years ago.
The 49ers do not have any receivers on their roster who are not eligible to play, and their collection of eligible receivers, from one to five, may be the greatest in the NFL for this season.
The Seahawks are ranked 30th in pass DVOA versus running backs and 27th against tight ends, which means that it will be difficult for them to contain Christian McCaffrey and George Kittle. This is something that is pointed out in our preview.
But hey, there’s always a chance that the lights may be too bright for Brock Purdy, the rookie, or that the wet conditions will be a leveler. After all, this is the reason why they participate in the games.
Chargers vs. Jaguars: A Look Ahead to the Late Game
Justin Herbert! Thank you, Trevor Lawrence! It’s possible that this is a contest between two “online quarterbacks,” but you know what? This is a liveblog, so stay tuned! We can now be found on the internet! Because of this, we are allowed to be excited about two of the better young quarterbacks in the league going head-to-head against one another in what we hope will be the first of many crucial battles.
Of course, this will be their second meeting in the NFL; back in Week 3, Herbert’s Chargers were defeated by Lawrence’s Jaguars by a score of 38-10. But Herbert was banged up for that game, and since then, both teams have progressed significantly since their showdown in September.
However, there are in fact 21 other football players on the field at any given moment, as Rivers McCown generously reminds us in our preview for this game, and they all have a role to play in the game. This contest is not only a competition to determine which football quarterback has the better hair (the score is Lawrence -3, in case you were wondering).
The fact that Mike Williams was knocked out with a fractured back in the meaningless Week 18 finale for Los Angeles is obviously the most significant piece of news leading up to this game. Brandon Staley has been adamant about keeping his stars safely away from harm in meaningless games by not playing them at all in the preseason.
There will always be a discussion about rest versus rust, and how much action starters should see in situations where the outcome simply doesn’t matter. However, there will always be a discussion about how much action starters should see in situations where the outcome simply doesn’t matter.
His decision to play all of his starters, which resulted in Williams’ injury and further aggravated Joey Bosa’s groin injury, has been the topic of much discussion over the past week, and there have been rumors that Staley may actually be coaching for his job today. Williams was injured. Joey Bosa’s groin injury was further aggravated. The word “hubris” appearing in the headline of your game preview is almost never a positive sign.
The Chargers have a 2.5-point advantage according to Vegas, while the Jaguars are favored by DVOA. In our perspective, this is the most difficult match to predict of the whole week, making it an excellent pick for the Saturday night matchup. It’s important to keep in mind that Trevor Lawrence hasn’t truly suffered a defeat on a Saturday since 2014.
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