The Greatest Story on Turf Wildcard Weekend 2024
Wildcard Weekend 2024, the Story of every game delivered to you every week, from the most interesting to least interesting, complete with predictions.
6. Steelers vs. Bills
Franchise On The Line
The Steelers have once again made it to the playoffs, and in their first game, they play the number two-seed Bills. The Steelers still have yet to find their franchise quarterback, but they are back in the playoffs because of Tomlin. But see, that's the problem: the Steelers have been good so long that they are good even when they have no right to be. Tomlin giving the Steelers a chance to win every year has people thinking that every year they have a Super Bowl roster and Tomlin's underachieving. So people have really forgotten who Tomlin and the Steelers are, but a playoff win over the Bills would remind them. Luckily for the Steelers, the Bills are a last-minute 2-seed team that plays down to their competition. The Bills are gettable.
The Bills have been on the decline for years. They have gone from getting blown out in the Conference to getting beat by the Chiefs in overtime to losing at home to the Bengals in the divisional round. The Bills have fought hard to get where they are this year, but all the circumstances be damned, they need to make it happen this year. The Bills have paid their quarterback, and the roster is getting older and more expensive. They need to win this year, and lucky for them, they face the Steelers in round one. This could be the start of the best Bills playoff run in years or a very disappointing end to the last few years for the Bills.
5. Eagles vs. Bucs
The Bucs are back in the playoffs for another consecutive year. Two years ago, Jalen Hurts played the Bucs in the playoffs and got routed. Two years later, the roles are flipped: the Eagles are the returning NFC Champions trying to go back to the Super Bowl, and the Bucs are the underdogs in a rebuilding year. Baker and the Bucs are trying to establish a new era. Even though the Eagles are the favorites, they are on a downward spiral. Nobody would be that surprised if the Bucs pulled this off. Baker needs this. The last time he won a playoff game was with the Browns. Another playoff win here would establish him as the Bucs' franchise quarterback. Will Baker and the Bucs cement the new era, or will the Eagles start their path back to the Super Bowl?
4. Browns vs. Texans
The Texans traded Deshaun Watson to the Browns; many thought it was a terrible trade. However, here they both are playing each other in the playoffs. The last time the Browns went to the Texans was Deshaun's return game, and the Texans lost. CJ Stroud wasn't there last time. Will it be the same this time? Who really got the best of the trade?
3. Packers vs. Cowboys
Sins of the Father
The last time the Cowboys were this good was when the Packers took out Dak and the Cowboys in the playoffs. But Dak is older now, and Rodgers is gone, and the Packers are the young team going against the established contender. However, this isn't just any game. Mike McCarthy was fired from the Packers. McCarthy won a Super Bowl with the Packers, but Aaron Rodgers got all the credit. However, after McCarthy was fired, Rodgers never even made a Super Bowl again.
McCarthy has proven he is a better coach than he has gotten credit for. Clearly, he helped Rodger because he has Dak playing the best football of his life. Dak is in the MVP conversation. Last year, the Cowboys had their first-ever back-to-back double-digit win seasons, and this year, they have done it again. Will McCarthy stick it to the Packers and beat his replacement on his way back to a Super Bowl, or will the new generation of Packers continue old habits of busting Cowboy seasons?
2. Dolphins vs. Chiefs
Tyreek was shockingly traded from the Chiefs, and then the Chiefs shocked everyone again and won the Super Bowl without him. Then the Chiefs started struggling, and people pointed out that they wouldn't be if they still had Tyreek. Then, the Chiefs beat the Dolphins in the regular season. But the Chiefs didn't score in the second half of that win. There is an opening there, and if the Dolphins can exploit it, the Dolphins will have proved themselves. If Tua beats Patrick Mahomes, he will cement himself and earn a new contract with the Dolphins. Plus, Kelce is slowing down. This could be his last season. How will it end? A lot of futures are on the line in this game.
What you did or didn't do doesn't matter now because its loser goes home. Will Mahomes prove he doesn't need Tyreek and send the Dolphins packing again and prove without a doubt that the Chiefs are superior? Or will the Dolphins prove that the Chiefs should never have let Tyreek go by sending Patrick Mahomes home in the first round for the first time ever?
1. Lions vs. Rams
I'm Sorry I Love You
The Rams got what they wanted out of the Matthew Stafford trade. But will the Lions get what they wanted? They have taken what they got from trading Stafford and have turned their team into a real contender, and now, poetically, Stafford stands in the way of the Lion's big dreams. They will have to go through Stafford to win a playoff game.
However, Stafford isn't the only one with a past in this game. Jared Goff was left to die by the Rams. Sean McVay and the Rams said he wasn't good enough, and for a brief amount of time, Goff was maligned, but Goff didn't die, and now he has risen back to the playoffs, and he brought Detroit with him. They tried to leave Goff to die, but it only made him stronger. Now Goff has a chance to prove he is good enough to win a Super Bowl, and he can send his old team home in the process.