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At last, here we are. The bittersweetness of the NFL Playoffs is upon us. Where answering questions about the upcoming tournament begins for some franchises and the season ends for the rest. There’s no need for silly themes. jokes or poems, there’s only the game most essential for playoff glory. The Student of the Game’s Week 18 edition of the Matchup Mania is underway.
Tennessee Titans vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
As these teams battle for the same division, both sides’ stories are quite different. The Titans winning is a last-minute rescue of an otherwise disappointing season while the Jaguars winning is a surge back from the Urban Meyer debacle of last year.
Will Trevor Lawrence rise to the occasion and earn the shine he’s been getting in the past few weeks or does Tennessee ride Derrick Henry’s coattails into the postseason one more time?
New England Patriots vs. Buffalo Bills
So far all the talk about Patriots’ head coach Bill Belichick and how he “lost the divorce” with quarterback Tom Brady, here he is with a chance to sneak into the playoffs with Mac Jones at quarterback. Should the Pats win the day over Buffalo, it will easily be more impressive than being atop the NFC South where the Bucs could finish with a losing record.
Meanwhile, the Bills will be battling to keep pace to be as high as they can atop the AFC to host as many postseason games as possible. Can Josh Allen hold it together and lead Buffalo’s offense past New England?
Detroit Lions vs. Green Bay Packers
For all the criticism that both of these teams have faced the entire year, if the Seattle Seahawks falter to the Rams as expected, Green Bay or Detroit might just be participating in playoff football. Not only did Aaron Rodgers lose a number of weapons to offseason departures and injuries, but it’s also possible he might be the conference’s most ridiculed quarterback. (A prize taken by Russell Wilson in the league overall.)
But while letting Russ cook has failed in Denver, the Cheeseheads just might cut it by securing the 7th seed. That is unless Lions head coach Dan Campbell and his squad don’t bite their kneecaps off in Week 18.
Can quarterback Jared Goff move the ball against a defense that shut down Minnesota’s Justin Jefferson and Kirk Cousins while trying to outscore Rodgers?