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The student news site of iUniversity Prep in Grapevine, Texas

iHoot

The student news site of iUniversity Prep in Grapevine, Texas

iHoot

OFF TO THE RACES! NFL PLAYOFFS

Previews and picks for Wild Card Weekend
OFF+TO+THE+RACES%21+NFL+PLAYOFFS
Connor Reinscheld

INTRO

 

18 teams have been eliminated, 14 remain, with 6 to be eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. It’s Super Wild Card Weekend, so as Dak Prescott often says, “HEREEEE WE GOOOOO!!!!!!” Welcome everyone to your 2024 NFL playoffs as every spot has now been filled. Yes folks, the season of the backup QB is almost over. There’s been ups and downs, but most importantly there was 18 weeks of wonderful, exciting football. But now, it is the playoffs, where there is no room for error and one interception can cost you the game. So with that being said, it’s off to the races! 

 

AFC

 

BROWNS #5 VS TEXANS #4  JAN 13TH 3:30PM

 

The first game of the postseason is the Texans playing the Browns in a rematch of a game played in week 16 of the regular season. The Browns won the aforementioned game 36-22, with Browns QB Joe Flacco playing incredibly, while star Texans QB CJ Stroud was out with a concussion. With CJ back and the Houston defense performing well, I think the Texans can win this, though it is going to be close.

 

Connors prediction: Houston wins 27 – 24

 

IUP poll: 4-1 Texans

 

DOLPHINS #6 VS CHIEFS #3 7:00 PM JAN 13

 

What a game this will be with yet another regular season rematch. In week 9 the Chiefs beat the Dolphins 21-14 in Germany, though that game was way back in the season when the Chiefs were still playing like they could contend for another Super Bowl title. Anyways, the Chiefs are now taking the Dolphins to Arrowhead stadium where this showdown will go down. In addition, Taylor Swift will probably be there, so Swifties should make sure to tune in. Both teams have the same record at 11-6 with the Dolphins losing to the Bills in week 18 and the Chiefs beating the Chargers. The Dolphins have the best scoring offense in the league and I think the Tua to Tyreek connection is going to come in clutch. I predict the Chiefs will get an early lead but the Dolphins will come out on top, which will be bad news for the Swifties on the Chiefs bandwagon.

 

Connors Prediction:  28-24 Dolphins

 

IUP poll: 3-2 Chiefs

 

BILLS #2 VS STEELERS #7 12:00 PM JAN 14TH

 

First game of Sunday is the final AFC game, Bills at Steelers. The Bills are coming off a great game against the Dolphins where they took the division crown to extend their winning streak to 5. Buffalo went from 6-6 to 11-6 and are the #2 seed in the AFC. This late stretch of victories includes wins over the Chiefs, Cowboys, and Dolphins. They are looking amazing going into this matchup. The Steelers just came off a win over the #1 Ravens, which wasn’t pretty even though Pittsburgh was playing the Ravens backups. I think the Steelers will put up some points but not enough to slow down Buffalo.

 

Connors Prediction: 38-14 Bills

 

IUP poll: 3-2 Bills

 

NFC

 

COWBOYS #2 VS PACKERS #7 3:30 PM JAN 14TH

 

The Cowboys are taking the Packers home to AT&T Stadium where they have not lost a game. The Cowboys are coming off of an amazing game against division rivals Washington, winning 38-10. The Cowboys haven’t lost at home the whole season and since they clinched the division and the #2 seed, they will have at least 2 home games, which is quite good for them. The Cowboys have a top scoring team and a top defense as well, an amazing squad overall that will put up quite a show on Sunday. The Packers just came off of a win to put them at 9-8. They beat the Bears, although it was not the most spectacular of wins, but a victory is a victory nonetheless. I do not think the Packers will be able to end the Cowboys streak at home and I think the Packers will be packing their bags soon enough. 

 

Connors Prediction: 41 – 17 Cowboys

 

IUP poll: 4-1 Cowboys

 

RAMS #6 VS LIONS #3 7:00 PM JAN 14TH

 

The Lions are coming off of a win over the Vikings. Despite the result, the win proved to be a sour one for Detroit because star Tight end Sam LaPorta is currently suffering a knee injury. Other than that, Jared Goff and co had a great game. They handled business but the Cowboys still won their game, so they could not come out with the 2 seed. The Rams have had a great late season stretch with their only loss since the middle of November being an overtime loss to the Ravens. They just came off a close win over the 49ers to get their 6 seed locked up. The offense has been sensational with weapons all around such as Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp, Puka Nacua, and Kyren Williams. It’s going to be a great game but I think the Rams offense will be too much to handle. 

 

Connors Prediction: 35 – 31 Rams

 

IUP poll: 3-2 Rams

 

EAGLES #5 VS BUCCANEERS #4 7:00 PM JAN 15TH

 

Final game will be a wild one. The Buccaneers are coming off a not pretty in any way 9 – 0 win over Carolina. The Buccaneers have not been sensational this season finishing barely over .500 at 9 – 8. They do have Mike Evans, one of the most underrated WRs right now who has not had a sub 1000 yard season so far in his 9 season career with the Buccaneers. He made a career best at 1250 yards this season and has been incredible. Baker Mayfield has been a pretty solid QB as well. The Eagles possibly had the worst finish to a season ever. By week 12, the Eagles were 10-1. Now they are 11-6, a crazy downfall, and to make matters worse, they just got destroyed by the Giants and gave up the division crown to the Cowboys, their bitter rivals. However, they do have great weapons on offense, including Jalen Hurts, AJ Brown, Devonta Smith, D’Andre Swift, and incredible center Jason Kelce. As much as it hurts to say as a Cowboys fan, I do think the Eagles will win this rematch.

 

Connors prediction: 35 – 20 Eagles

 

IUP poll: 3-2 Eagles

 

RECAP OF REGULAR SEASON

 

That is all of the wild card games so lets do a recap! The biggest storyline is probably the Eagles’ downfall. They went from Super Bowl favorites with a 10-1 record to an 11-6 team that lost numerous games to teams below their level. Just take a look at that Giants game. The whole NFC East was kind of crazy and I think neither the Eagles or Cowboys wanted to win. That left the door wide open for the 49ers, who had a very phase-like season; going on a 5 game winning streak to start the season, to then losing 3 in a row, and then going on a 7 game winning streak only to lose to the Ravens. Speaking of the Ravens, they’ve been white-hot recently. The best team in the league, the Ravens currently hold a 13-4 record with a 1st round bye. They currently have Lamar Jackson, who is currently leading the way in the MVP race. The Ravens also got him a consistent WR to throw to: Zay Flowers. It’s crazy also to think about the AFC South. The Jaguars started at 6-2 with all the other division leaders, only to then take an Eagles style downfall to 9-8, letting the Texans and Colts into the picture only for them to get knocked out by the Titans, who had a fairly forgettable season themselves. The Texans ended up taking the cake with a win over the colts. The defending Super Bowl champs, the Chiefs, are not doing great, going from 14-3 to 11-6. Luckily for them, their whole division is notably weak, so they were still able to win the AFC West. Also back to the NFC East who hasn’t had a consistent winner in 20 years now. The NFC South is still a bad division all around, with the buccaneers finishing barely over .500 and still being able to win the division. The Lions finally won their division, which took them long enough. The Bears also have the 1st round pick again, (thanks Carolina!) The 49ers dominated the NFC West again, but the Rams made their statement with their late season stretch. The AFC East and NFC East were basically the same, with the Bills and the Cowboys both clinching their respective divisions late. The AFC North is the best division in the league with all teams finishing above .500. Also there were no ties this year, which is great. Although there weren’t any ties this season, there was an abundance of backup QBs having to replace their starters. With star QBs like Aaron Rodgers and Joe Burrow getting injured, backups from all around had to step up their game.

 

CONCLUSION

 

In conclusion, this year in the NFL has been a wild one, so we should cherish it because soon enough, it’ll just be March. Anyways, thank you for reading and I hope you have a great day. Bye!!

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About the Contributor
Connor Reinscheld, Staff Writer
Hey! I'm Connor Reinscheld and I'm in 6th grade and this is my 2nd year at iHoot. I love to play video games, read, and be social! I'm sooooo excited to be in Ihoot again!

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