NFL Playoff Preview: Underdog Weekend


The NFL playoffs are underway. After an exciting Super Wild Card weekend last week, there are still eight teams remaining.

This weekend’s divisional round will advance to the Final Four. The action kicks off Saturday with first place. The No. 1 seeds Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles host the Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Giants, respectively.

Here’s what you need to know.

This time last year, the Jaguars were eliminated from the playoffs with a league-worst 3-14 record. Going into this season, expectations have been minimal.

No one expected them to end up with a winning record, let alone a playoff run. Fast forward to now and the Jaguars are still competing.

Their thrilling comeback against the Chargers in the wild-card round secured their spot in the divisional round, just two rounds away from the NFL’s biggest stage. Regardless of Saturday’s outcome, their season will be considered a success, but as a team with nothing to lose, there is something to be said.

If they manage to pull off a win, it will be considered one of the biggest NFL upsets in recent memory.

The Chiefs, on the other hand, could lose everything.

They are the team that “should” be here. No one is surprised. No one expects them to fail. After a heartbreaking end to last season’s AFC Championship Game, the Chiefs are making a comeback.

As the 2020 Super Bowl champions, this team has seen the light of day. They know what it’s like to win and what it’s like to go home too early.

Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs signals at the line of scrimmage against the Las Vegas Raiders on January 7, 2023.

A successful regular season paved the way for this moment. They have won nine of their past ten games and have the AFC top seed, a first-round bye and home-court advantage this week. All things considered, a Kansas City win is inevitable.

While the game features clear favorites and clear underdogs, anything can happen at this stage of the playoffs.

The quality of the Chiefs’ game will determine the outcome of this game. If they reach their full potential, they will likely win. But if they’re mediocre, or fall prey to careless mistakes, the Jaguars have the ability to expose their flaws.

Nightcaps also have traits of a loser and a dominator.

The Giants have had unlikely success under first-year head coach Brian Dubboll.

From Week 1, Daboll set the tone for a successful season. His greatest talent may be making the most of players that other coaches may have written off, the biggest example being quarterback Daniel Jones.

Before Dubboll joined the Giants, Jones had a league-high 65 interceptions and fumbles. This season, he has 22 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. In last week’s wild-card game against the Vikings, he made his career playoff debut, passing for 301 yards and two touchdowns while running for 78 yards.

It was arguably the best game of his career, but bigger games are yet to come. The question, then, is, does he have enough left in his tank against the Hawks?

New York Giants' Daniel Jones and head coach Brian Dubboll leave the court on January 8, 2023.

The Eagles entered the week just a week into the week as the NFC’s No. 1 seed. The rest was much needed, especially for quarterback Jalen Hurts, who has been battling a shoulder injury since late in the regular season. He ended up missing two games and returned in Week 18. However, he looked a bit rusty, as if he needed to shake off the injury more.

The setback was the only blemish on a stellar season with MVP-caliber numbers. The question for Hertz, then, is will he have enough time to recover from his injury and turn back into that MVP-caliber quarterback?

The outcome of Saturday’s game will be another part of the age-old rivalry between NFC East rivals. This will be the fifth time the two have gone head-to-head during the playoffs, following two wild-card rounds and two division rounds in the previous four.

Neither team has made it to the NFC Championship game since their last Super Bowl win. If history repeats itself, one of those teams could find itself with the Lombardi Trophy at the end of it all.

Here’s how to watch these games no matter where you are.

Australia: NFL Game Pass, ESPN, 7Plus

Brazil: NFL Game Pass, ESPN

Canada: CTV, TSN, RDS, NFL Game Pass on DAZN

Germany: NFL Game Pass, ProSieben MAXX, DAZN

Mexico: NFL Game Pass, TUDN, ESPN, Fox Sports, Sky Sports

UK: NFL Game Pass, Sky Sports, ITV, Channel 5

US: NFL Game Pass, CBS Sports, Fox Sports, ESPN, Amazon Prime

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