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2023 NFL Tremendous Wild Card Weekend: Six rematches in opening spherical, classes discovered from regular-season conferences

This 12 months’s NFL playoffs will function all rematches from the 2022 common season on Tremendous Wild Card Weekend, in accordance with the Elias Sports activities Bureau, marking the fifth time since 1970 that is occurred within the opening spherical.

There’s many classes to be discovered from the primary matchups, and in some instances you possibly can take the earlier conferences with a grain of salt as a result of accidents. Let’s get you caught up on how the regular-season matchups can affect the rematches.

what occurred: The 49ers swept the Seahawks this season for the primary time since 2011, outscoring them 48-20. The Seahawks had one offensive landing in these two video games, and it was with Seattle down 15 with underneath 4 minutes left in the newest matchup.

Lesson discovered: The Seahawks have to discover a technique to get Geno Smith some seems down the sphere. The 49ers will not be giving up a lot on the bottom, so Seattle wants huge performs to DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett to drag off an upset. Smith led the NFL in landing passes thrown 15-plus yards downfield this season (15), however had none in two video games in opposition to the 49ers. Simply eight p.c of his passes have been thrown 15-plus yards downfield in opposition to San Francisco, in contrast with 20 p.c in opposition to all different groups.

What’s completely different: This is likely one of the few playoff rematches this weekend the place accidents from the common season weren’t a significant component. The 49ers solely had Brock Purdy and Christian McCaffrey for the second regular-season matchup in opposition to Seattle and each performed properly in San Francisco’s win.

Chargers at Jaguars (JAC defeated LAC 38-10 in Week 3)

what occurred: The Jaguars thumped the Chargers 38-10 in Week 3 at SoFi Stadium, Jacksonville’s largest street win in 21 years. Trevor Lawrence confronted little resistance, throwing three landing passes to a few completely different receivers (Zay Jones, Christian Kirk and Marvin Jones Jr.), whereas the Chargers scored a season-low 10 factors.

Lesson discovered: Get Austin Ekeler the ball. Ekeler had a season low in touches (12), scrimmage yards (53), rush yards (5) and touchdowns (0) within the blowout loss. He took off after that sport scoring 18 touchdowns, 5 greater than anybody else within the NFL since Week 4. I might count on Ekeler to have greater than 5 rush yards within the rematch.

What’s completely different: The Chargers ought to have their full arsenal of offensive weapons on this sport, as they did not have Keenan Allen in Week 3 (hamstring), though Mike Williams is questionable after struggling a again contusion in Week 18. Having each out there may make all of the distinction as Justin Herbert had a 106.4 go score this 12 months with each on the sphere, and a 89.0 mark with a minimum of one off the sphere. Joey Bosa additionally left the Week 3 defeat with a groin damage however has regarded good in a restricted position within the final two weeks, recording seven pressures on simply 20 go rushes.

what occurred: The groups cut up a tightly fought season collection with the Dolphins profitable 21-19 at house in Week 2, holding off a Payments’ late cost, whereas Buffalo received 32-29 at house in Week 15. The Payments overcame an eight-point, fourth-quarter deficit of their win.

Lesson discovered: Do not blitz Josh Allen. The Dolphins have the second-highest blitz fee within the NFL this 12 months and Allen torched Miami once they despatched further go rushers, going 22 of 29 for 264 yards, 4 touchdowns, no picks and a 142.8 go score. He totaled 704 go yards and 124 rush yards of their two head-to-head matchups, the primary participant ever with 700 go yards and 100 rush yards in opposition to a single workforce in an everyday season. It will be very arduous for Miami to drag off an upset with out Tua Tagovailoa, and blitzing Allen is not going to assist his probabilities.

What’s completely different: Miami will not have Tua Tagovailoa (concussion protocol), who performed in each regular-season matchups, leaving them an enormous underdog. The Dolphins will possible flip to Skylar Thompson at QB, who has the bottom passer score within the NFL this season (minimal 100 makes an attempt). Their solely probability at an upset begins with a powerful floor sport, just like the one Raheem Mostert anchored in Week 15 (17 carries for 136 yards). However Mostert could not play after breaking his thumb in Week 18.

Giants at Vikings (MIN defeated NYG 27-24 in Week 16)

what occurred: The Vikings received an exhilarating sport in opposition to the Giants at house final month, needing a 61-yard subject aim on the buzzer by Greg Joseph to win. There was little resistance from both protection, particularly late within the sport. The groups mixed for 28 factors within the fourth quarter, together with three straight scoring drives to finish the sport. Daniel Jones threw for 334 yards and Saquon Barkley totaled 133 yards from scrimmage, whereas Justin Jefferson and TJ Hockenson mixed for 25 catches for 142 yards and three touchdowns.

Lesson discovered: Wink Martindale’s aggressive protection is probably not conducive to containing Justin Jefferson in his playoff debut. The Giants blitz on the highest fee within the league this 12 months, and play man protection on the highest mark, leaving Jefferson with loads of one-on-one alternatives. He averaged 18.2 yards per catch in opposition to the blitz this 12 months, in contrast with 12.3 when the protection doesn’t blitz. It was an identical cut up when he confronted man protection vs space (18.9 vs 12.3) this 12 months. It will be attention-grabbing to see if the Giants defensive coordinator alters his strategy within the rematch.

What’s completely different: The Giants are getting more healthy however the Vikings aren’t. The Giants will possible return two starters of their secondary, CB Adoree’ Jackson and S Xavier McKinney, who didn’t play in Week 16, giving them extra protection choices in opposition to Jefferson. Jackson and McKinney rank high two amongst Giants defensive backs in completion proportion allowed this season. In the meantime, Minnesota is not going to have two beginning offensive lineman from its Week 16 matchup. Each C Austin Schlottmann and RT Brian O’Neill have been positioned in IR lately.

what occurred: The Ravens received the primary matchup in Baltimore, 19-17, on a Justin Tucker 43-yard subject aim on the horn. The Bengals received 27-16 final week with the AFC North title already wrapped up, and undrafted rookie QB Anthony Brown making his first profession begin rather than Lamar Jackson.

Lesson discovered: It is not going to be a cake stroll for Cincinnati’s offense, which destroyed a depleted Ravens protection final 12 months, however was held to 22.0 factors per sport in two matchups in 2022. That is very true with the addition of Roquan Smith, who has made Baltimore’s protection among the finest within the NFL for the reason that commerce.

What’s completely different: Lamar Jackson’s possibilities of enjoying aren’t wanting good, leaving Baltimore with solely a glimmer of hope right here, particularly if backup Tyler Huntley (shoulder) can be unable to go well with up. If that is the case and rookie Anthony Brown begins once more, the Ravens’ hope would relaxation on their protection enjoying its finest sport of the season. One factor going their manner is the Bengals offensive line may very well be down two starters with RT La’el Collins out for the season and RG Alex Cappa possible out (ankle).

Cowboys at Buccaneers (TB defeated DAL 19-3 in Week 1)

what occurred: The Buccaneers beat the Cowboys 19-3 in Week 1, their second-fewest factors in any sport with Dak Prescott since drafting him in 2016. Prescott had certainly one of his worst video games of the 12 months and was changed late after struggling a thumb damage. Tampa Bay had the worst dashing offense within the NFL this 12 months, however Leonard Fournette carried it 21 occasions for 127 yards, his solely sport over 75 on the 12 months. Dallas’ high two offensive weapons — CeeDee Lamb (two catches, 29 yards) and Tony Pollard (eight touches, 22 yards) — have been held to a mixed 51 scrimmage yards.

Lesson discovered: The Cowboys have to play Tony Pollard extra over Ezekiel Elliott. They have been in a 50-50 timeshare all season but when Dallas needs to ensure it does not lay an egg prefer it did in opposition to Tampa Bay in Week 1 (and Washington in Week 18) and proceed its playoff distress, it might function Pollard extra. This is why:

  1. The Cowboys common 5.7 yards per play with Pollard on the sphere this season and 5.0 with Elliott on the sphere, the distinction between the ninth-best and Twenty eighth-ranked offense within the NFL.

  2. Pollard (5.9) led all RBs in yards per contact this season whereas Elliott (3.9) ranked final (minimal 150 touches).

  3. In accordance with NFL Subsequent Gen Stats, Pollard ranked third in rush yards above anticipated this season whereas Elliott ranked fourth worst.

  4. Lastly, in Pollard’s three begins at RB this 12 months he totaled 381 scrimmage yards and 6 touchdowns.

What’s completely different: The largest distinction for Tampa Bay is it is not going to have Shaquil Barrett, who performed in Week 1 however suffered a season-ending Achilles tear in October. The Buccaneers’ blitz made life tough for Prescott within the season opener however this go rush is not almost as harmful with out Barrett, who was a sport wrecker for Tampa Bay through the Tremendous Bowl run in 2020. The Buccaneers’ go rush is twenty fourth in stress fee this 12 months after rating third from 2020-21. In Week 1, Dallas didn’t have WR Michael Gallup, who may take consideration away from CeeDee Lamb, who caught simply 2-of-11 targets within the opener.

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