Wild Card Matchups: Coincidence or Scripted?


We are in the final hours leading up to the start of the first weekend of the NFL playoffs. This article is solely being written on the basis that one might believe that the NFL does find a way after an eighteen week season to get the results it prefers.

How else can one explain that the Wild card weekend matchups just happen to include Tyreek Hill returning to Arrowhead Stadium to face his old team the Kansas City Chiefs. Then there is the Rams Matthew Stafford returning to Ford Field and Detroit's Jared Goff facing his old coach Sean McVay in the latest addendum of that blockbuster swap of quarterbacks between the Detroit Lions and Los Angeles Rams before the 2021 season. 

It is strictly a coincidence, right? This can not be enough proof to accuse the league of using a prewritten script that will lead to these types of matchups, could we? Well, lets take a look at the Buffalo Bills and Pittsburgh Steelers matchup, and we will find three more players taking the field against their previous teams, as well as college teammates squaring off against each other as head coaches of their respected teams. 

Then we also have the Dallas Cowboys matchup against the team Mike McCarthy previously coached, the Green Bay Packers. This will be the ninth time these two teams have faced each other in the playoffs — each team winning four — and some of the games were classic. 

Then how about the Cleveland Browns who just so happen to be playing against the Houston Texans in a meeting of two teams that pulled off one of the single largest trades in league history that sent Deshaun Watson from Houston to Cleveland, where he signed and astronomically large contract extension. OK, he is not playing because of an injury, but still. . . 

On top of all this we have the Philadelphia Eagles, the reigning NFC champions, playing on the road in the most fair-weathered outdoor game of the weekend, and also getting an extra day's rest to help heal up their injured stars. 

Are you convinced yet that maybe...just maybe...there might be a script involved in all this? Let's take a trip down the rabbit hole of these matchups and see if these predictions do indeed come through on this Wild Card Weekend! 


In this matchup, we see Joe Flacco playing the role of the "replacement" quarterback as Deshaun Watson has been sideline with a seson ending injury he sustain early on in the season. This script is so erie that we can even compare it to the plot of the classic football movie titled, "The Replacements". In this movie the lead actor Keeanu Reeves plays the role of a replacement quarterback who wears the number 16, and is named Shane Falco. I mean really? Joe Flacco is one number shy of that as he wears the number 15, and his last name is one "c" extra from having all the same letters as the character's name in the movie, for goodness sakes. 

These two teams just meet recently in the regular season in week 16 on Christmas Eve. In that game Flacco threw for 368 yards and 3 Td's. He also gifted Amari Cooper with 11 receptions that covered 265 yards and 2 TD's. The receivng yards broke the Cleveland Browns single game franchise record. 

On the other side,  the Texans' sensational rookie quarterback CJ Stroud was sidelined with an injury so former starter Davis Mills and journeyman backup Case Keenum played the rolls of "Replacements." 

I believe this game will have some major fireworks to kick off the slate of games being played this weekend. Joe Flacco and CJ Stroud will each go over 300 yards passing in this contest. Top receivers Nico Collins (Houston) and Amari Cooper (Cleveland) will be on the receiving end of several bombs.  Once the smoke clears and before the lights go out on the scoreboard, we will see the Houston Texans come out on top in this repeated matchup. 



In a game that will feature Tyreek Hill returning to Arrowhead stadium to face his old team. This game will also feature the coldest weather game ever played in Kansas City. With gametime conditions calling for a wind chill of -30 degrees, can we really give the Chiefs homefield advantage if the stadium is not as full or as loud as they are used to playing  in previous home playoff games? Also the Kansas City Chiefs receivers have had a hard enough time catching passes from Mahomes during the regular season. Is it really going to change when Mahomes will be throwing actual iceballs to them in this game? Last but not least this game will be won in the trenches and considering how awful the Kansas City offensive line as been all season, can Mahomes really trust them to protect him for the whole game? 

On the other side of the equation we find a Miami Dolphins franchise that brings with them a 25 wins, 48 loss, and 1 tie record in games played below 40 degrees. This also includes the fact that this team has lost nine straight games in cold weather games since 2017. While the Kansas City Chiefs are 10-1 in such games during that same stretch. 

To quote a great line in one of my favorite movies, "Cool Runnings". The Miami Dolphins success in this game will come to whether not, "lightening can run on ice." The Dolphins have four of the fastest players in the league and they will be relying on any one of them to break off a few big plays in this contest. 

I am going to predict that Tyreek Hill will be able to take a short pass, and sprint away from a defender who losses his footing for a 50+ yard touchdown, really early in this contest. The Dolphins will tack on a couple more scores as De'von Achane and Raheem Mostert find running lanes to power themselves across the goaline for a touchdown each. Due to icy conditions and bad holds I believe their may be a couple missed extra points along  the way in this contest. 

For the Kansas City Chiefs they will get a solid rushing day out of Isiah Pacheco and he will even tote the ball across the endzone at some point during this game as well. The only other scoring opportunity the Chiefs will experience will be when Miami quarterback Tua Tagovailoa gets hit by Chris Jones and fumbles the ball. Giving the Chiefs great field position that will lead to a Travis Kelce score. However, this will be a little too little, too late moment as the Chiefs fall at home to end the season. 



In this scripted matchup we get welcomed to Jerry's World where head coach for the Dallas Cowboys in Mike McCarthy, will be hosting his former team the Green Bay Packers. Over the years these two teams have been frequently featured as this will be their 39th time facing one another. 

The Dallas Cowboys have been completely dominate at home this season, but did have some difficulties the last time they faced an NFC North opponent on their home turf. A questionable penalty overturned a late score by the Detroit Lions, assisting the Dallas Cowboys to keep their perfect record in tact at home this season. 

For the Green Bay Packers we have a team that has an average age of 25 years old being led by head coach, Matt LaFleur. The significance of this age average is that it makes his team the youngest to ever qualify for a playoff game in league history. Considering how well the Dallas Cowboys have played at home and the grand spectacle that AT&T Stadium creates. The Green Bay Packers may be staring stage fright, right in the face. 

This script will see the Dallas Cowboys starting off hot with a DaRon Bland interception, setting the Cowboys up in great field position. The Cowboys offense led by Dak Prescott will find themselves near the goalline where a short pass to Jake Ferguson could potentially be the first score of the game. Micah Parsons will make his prescence known early and often as he reminds Jordan Love why he is a top candidate to be the defensive player of the year this season. This will give plenty of opportunities for the breakout star CeeDee Lamb to find himself in the endzone well before the halftime break. I believe the Packers will get some points on the board later in the game once Cowboys defensive coordinator, Dan Quinn calls off the dogs in the fourth quarter. However, for the Green Bay Packers this will be great learning experience for them to hold onto this butt whooping they are about to receive, heading into next season.



In a homecoming event of all homecomings. Matthew Stafford arrives back in Ford Field to face the beloved fans of the Detroit Lions that still claim he won them a Superbowl even though he did it while playing for the Los Angeles Rams. It was the Stafford trade that put the wheels in motion for the rebuilding transformation that has taken place in the Motor City these past few years. This stadium has not seen a Division Championship banner hung up in the rafters for thirty years, let alone be hosting a first round playoff game to boot. The crowd will be loud and filled with ravid fans that are still steaming over the loss that took place in Dallas a couple of weeks ago. The difference in this game will come down to the head coaching experience of Sean McVay who has been in a playoff environment before and whether or not Dan Campbell can keep his emotions in check by calling a "smart" football game throughout the whole contest. 

For the Los Angeles Rams this game will be dictated by how well Matthew Stafford can literally block out the noise that will be surrounding his return the the D. He looks to have a fully healthy Cooper Kupp, and elite rookie sensation Paku Nucua at his disposal in this contest. He also has Kyren Williams that has put together some very strong rushing efforts down the stretch of the season as well. On the defensive side of the ball, they will be led by the power house Aaron Donald that will be seeking his second world championship title as a member of this organization. 

Conversely, the Lions success will be dictated by how well Jared Goff can handle seeing his former coach across the field that not only bailed on him, but also gave up two additional first round picks in the process to get Matthew Stafford. Under the guidance of Ben Johnson, this offense has been very productive in moving the ball, but this is the game that Jared Goff needs to put his big boy pants on and take control of this offense on the field. If he can preserve the ball and control the clock this can be an easily won game for the Detroit Lions. On the defensive side of the ball this is a game where their young stallion Aidan Hutchinson catapults his name into the elite pass rusher category. Behind him, they will also be needing to see steller play out of their secondary by keeping Cooper Kupp and Paku Macua in check. 

I believe in the earlier stages of this game both quarterbacks are going to feel the nerves of the atmosphere and get off to a slow start. They will both rely on their rushing attack to get the ball moving and it will be the Los Angeles Rams that get out to an early lead in the opening quarter of the game behind an accurate, short passing attack leading to a Puka Nucua touchdown midway through the first quarter of the game. The Detroit Lions will answer this drive behind their own precise passing attack as Goff connects with St. Brown multiple times before the drive ends with a Montgomery rushing touchdown just as the second quarter begins. The second quarter will showcase a strong defensive effort on both sides of the ball and both teams will exchange field goals before heading into halftime in a 10-10 tie. 

To start the second half of the game the Detroit Lions will provide the Rams defense with a heavy dose of dink and dunk throws to St. Brown and Gibbs. While mixing in some strong runs by Montgomery. In a drive that will take much of the first half of the third quarter Dan Campbell will be faced with a decision to break the 10-10 tie with a field goal, or go for a fourth and two conversion from within their own twenty yard line. In a "smart" move to get points on the board he will send the field goal unit out to attempt the short thirty-two yard field goal. As the ball is snapped to Jack Fox, he flips it over his right shoulder to Michael Badgley, who finds a wide open Brock Wright in the endzone for the go ahead score! The crowd eruption can be heard from miles away as the roof of Ford Field nearly comes off its hinges. 

On the next possession Matthew Stafford has to block out the deafening jeers of the crowd that is still in a frenzy from the big kahunas of Dan Campbell's fake field goal call. Stafford proceeds to lead his team down the field with several more short throws alternating between Nacua and Kupp. Before finding a wide open Demarcus Robinson in the back of the endzone for a game tying score to start the fourth quarter.

In a 17-17 ball game midway through the 4th quarter the anxiety of having to face Stafford begins to take its toll on the souls within the confinements of Ford Field. Jared Goff is feeling the energy shift in the stadium and the building goes silent as he air mails a pass over the head of Josh Reynolds on a third and long play. However, in an attempt to make up for the gaffe that occured in Dallas, the refs have flagged Aaron Donald for a late hit on Goff giving the Detroit Lions a new set of downs, while keeping the clock moving and the ball out of Staffords hands late in the fourth quarter. Once again the Lions find themselves inside of their own 20 with just a minute and Thirty-five seconds remaining in the game. This time on a fourth and three yards to gain, the Detroit Lions elect to kick the go ahead field goal to take a 20-17 lead with only a minute and thirty seconds to go in the game.

In the waning moments of the game, you'll be able to cut the suspense in the stadium with a knife. If this scenario plays out we will have to wait and see if the beloved Matthew Stafford has it in him to rip the hearts out of the fans of Detroit by leading the Rams to a go ahead scored crushing the hopes and dreams of the fans that cheered for him for so long while he was there. I believe the Lions defense will be able to seize this moment in time and prevent Stafford from completing the game winning drive, and setting the stage for the Dallas vs. Detroit rematch next week. 



Just like the Saturday and Sunday slate of games played. This game will feature familar faces, competing against one another. I mean the Hallmark Channel could not write a script any better, but maybe, just maybe these writers DO work for the NFL as well. Hence why we get a matchup of two ole college chums that played football together at William and Mary, in Sean McDermott (Bills) and Mike Tomlin (Steelers). We also get three former players in Mitchell Trubisky (Pittsburgh), Levi Wallace (Pittsburgh) and Tyler Matakevich (Buffalo) playing against there old teams as well. 

Just like any other Hallmark Channel movie we will have many cheesy and pedictable tropes throughout the script. Starting with snow. So much snow, like the most snow that has ever been featured in any Hallmark Channel movie ever written! This setting will also take place in a quaint small market place of Buffalo, New York. Meaning the Bills Mafia will be cheering on their team against the "Terrible Towel" waving villians of Pittsburgh. 

There will be a little twist to a Christmas theme as there will be "elves" helping to clear the yard lines between every TV timeout to assist the teams in knowing what yard on the field they are playing from. The only thing missing would be Christmas lights to go along with the red nosed, Mason Rudolph that will be starting at quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers.  On the other side of the field we have Josh Allen who will do his best to not get clumsy with the ball and create unforced turnovers that will keep the Pittsburgh Steelers in the game. This script also features Stefon Diggs who provided a miraculous reception for his former team the Minnesota Vikings in a divisonal playoff game. Will he need to do the same for his current team, the Bills? 

With the weather being a factor will we see new hero's emerge for their respected teams. The running backs in this game will be heavily featured to maticulate the ball up and down the field leaving the possibility of James Cook, Jaylen Warren or Najae Harris to become the hero for their fanbases if they lead their team to a victory. 

I mean this script is special, it shows all the makings of a good hearted story of a game played in the snow, amongst men in front a crowd that absolutely loves football! 

To be honest I believe the script will be a better read than actually watching the game though. This game is going to feature the teams kicking the ball back and forth to one another frequently. The Bills will be able to move the ball more regularly and will get multiple scoring chances that will end in a Josh Allen touchdown run and three very short field goals kicked by Tyler Bass. The Steelers will get a touchdown drive late out of Mitchell Trubisky who will need torelieve an injured Mason Rudolph, but will fall short on a two point conversion attempt. 



This script is pretty easy to write, right? I mean the Philadelphia Eagles come into this matchup looking like Rocky Balboa after going 15 rounds with Clubber Lang. Luckily for them they don't have to fly into the artic elements resembling Siberia like the Steelers and Dolphins have to do this weekend. They get to go down to the fair weathered climate of Tampa Bay, Florida and are even awarded with a few extra days rest to get their star players ready for the matchup. With D'Andre Swift battling illness and Jalen Hurts nursing an injury this extra time definately favors the reigning NFC champions as they prepare for the Baker Mayfield led Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 

This Tampa Bay Bucaneers teams is not an opponent that can be taken lightly. They are going to hit the Egles with some strong body blows with the running game that Raceed White provides for this team. The Eagles will even take a few jabs to the nose as Chris Godwin gets loose on several short crossing pattern that keep the ball moving down the field for the Buccaneers. We all know that a strong uppercut right to the chin is going to be taken as Baker Mayfield finds a wide open Mike Evans for a big score at some point in this game. However, in Rocky fashion hes going to stay in this fight, he is going to taint his opponent, hes going to make them wear themselves out, and eventually they will make their own mistake to open the door for him to fight back. 

Jalen Hurts feels no pain. He has the "Eye of the Tiger" theme song cursing through his veins, pumping relentlessly into his blood as he returns fire on the Buccaneers defense. He is able to land his own right crosses with passes to Dallas Goedert and Devonte Smith. Every punch he lands knocks the defense back into the corner, over and over again. All he needs is a little "tush push" at the end of the game to land the knockout blow that brings the Buccanneers season to a crashing halt. This will be a gutty performance for the ages, but could a Philadelphia story of Rocky Balboa be written otherwise? 









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