Hello and welcome to the Wild Card Round of the 2023 NFL Playoffs! In this segment, I’ll discuss each matchup, share my picks and insights, and give some additional thoughts and observations.
Cleveland Browns @ Houston Texans
Who woulda thought we would have this exciting team in the playoffs behind a new QB that wasn’t on the team until Week 12? I’m talking about the Browns’ QB Joe Flacco, of course. What a storyline for this guy as he goes from tossing darts to his brother at the local Y to a 4-1 starter and getting the Browns to the playoffs. The defense was one of the best all season and looks to stay that way behind Myles Garrett, who will probably win Defensive Player of the Year. David Njoku has been fully activated under Flacco’s arm and Jerome Ford and Kareem Hunt are a sturdy backfield tandem. Beside the offense staying strong after two major injuries, the major weakness would have to be kicking, as Dustin Hopkins hits the injury list and Cleveland hopes Riley Patterson can fill the void.
CJ Stroud, NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, has been electric this season and exactly what 1st year head coach Demeco Ryans needed for his offense. The Texans have young studs playing great ball in Will Anderson Jr, Derek Stingley, Nico Collins, and Tank Dell. Injuries have been a cruel mistress this season as the Texans list 4 safeties on the IR, and are missing at least 3 of their starting offensive linemen for every game this season. Their low-key MVP has been Devin Singletary who has excelled every chance he got while Dameon Pierce endured a sophomore slump.
The Texans are fast, sexy, and buzzing at the right time. They are beautiful ball, but those Cleveland Browns are sturrrrrdddyyyyyyy. Front and back got some meat, and proper support. The Browns should cover the -2.5 but my favorite bet is the overs on David Njoku props. He has been Flacco’s main man and he is an absolute physical specimen.
Miami Dolphins @ Kansas City Chiefs
What a wild season it has been, and it leads to Tyreek Hill’s revenge game against his old team, as he heads back to Kansas City for the first time since he was traded. Injuries have really plagued the team this year as they will be without a starter at nearly every position group. The defensive ends, especially as Chubb, Phillips, Van Ginkel highlight an injury list that features Howard, Baker, Williams, and Wynn. Raheem Mostert has been an animal for touchdowns this year and is active while battling multiple injuries. Jaylen Waddle has been solid as he battles a back injury. You have to imagine the world will be on Kansas City’s side, so maybe Coach McDaniel can get the boys extra pumped as Cinderella Men.
Kansas City Chiefs
Here we are again as the Kansas City Chiefs enter postseason play behind Patrick Mahomes, who has never lost Game 1 of the playoffs, let alone miss out on postseason play. Travis Kelce stated recently that he is not retiring and will come back next season. Running back Isiah Pacheco has been a stud and will probably run for 100+ in this bad weather game. Offensively speaking, that’s it. The WR room has been disappointing as a whole and the offensive line has been inconsistent. Defensively, there is a lot more to be desired behind Chris Jones. There has been a lack of playmaking behind him, and this team needs a solid game to contain this high-octane offense.
Call me crazy, but is it too wild to think the Dolphins go in and beat a struggling Chiefs team that hasn’t looked dominant all season? Pacheco Anytime TD and Raheem Anytime TD are pretty high targets as the weather is going to be hell for the passing game. With that said, I’ll just go with the Dolphins spread as I don’t think there will be many splash plays from these high powered offenses on Saturday.