Expect the Unexpected: The NFL Playoffs Start Tomorrow

Expect the Unexpected: The NFL Playoffs Start Tomorrow

Football

Expect the Unexpected: The NFL Playoffs Start Tomorrow

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The NFL playoffs get underway tomorrow, as Super Wild Card Weekend begins at 4:30 p.m. EST as the Las Vegas Raiders travel to Paul Brown Stadium to take on the Cincinnati Bengals. The action-packed first round of the playoffs then concludes Monday night as the Arizona Cardinals travel to Los Angeles to take on the Rams. What makes the NFL playoffs so great is that it is different from any of the other North American major sports league playoffs. 

Unlike in the NHL, MLB, and NBA, the NFL playoffs consist of one-off games. This means whoever wins the match-up advances. In other leagues it is a best-of series, meaning that a loss in Game One, does not mean your season is over. This is what makes the NFL playoffs so exciting. 

There is a saying in the NFL, “Any given Sunday.” It does not matter how outmatched a team may be, on gameday anything can happen. A great example of this was last Sunday, as the Indianapolis Colts were huge favorites against the Jacksonville Jaguars, but the Jags dominated the Colts, winning 26-11, and in the process kept the Colts out of the playoffs. 

Another example of how anything can happen in football is when in 2010, the 7-9 Seahawks upset the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints in a Wild Card game in the 2010 playoffs. No one expected the Seahawks to win that game, and leading up to the game the media discussed if the NFL playoff format should be changed because a 7-9 team should not be able to make the playoffs just because they won their division. Instead, the Seahawks showed that anything can happen and won 41-36 in one of the best playoff games in recent memory. 

A somewhat similar match-up is taking place this weekend, as the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers are facing off against the seventh seeded Philadelphia Eagles. Only two years ago, the Eagles would not have made the playoffs, but now with the expanded format they have a chance to shock the world and prevent the Bucs from winning the Vince Lombardi Trophy in back-to-back seasons. Despite the Eagles being underdogs, you never know, as on any given Sunday, the unexpected could happen.  

In the playoffs, everything is magnified, and this could lead to slip-ups. A muffed punt could cost a team their season, a dropped pick could give another team second life to advance in the playoffs. On the other hand, the playoffs are where legends are made. Tom Brady is one of the greatest playoff performers in NFL history, and because of it he is viewed as the G.O.A.T. 

There is no pressure like the NFL playoffs. It is win, or go home. Every single time. When the playoffs begin, do not be surprised to see a few upsets. While the favorites to get to the Super Bowl are the Chiefs and Packers, how often do the favorites get to the championship? 

Expect upsets, close games, and electric moments. There is a reason why the NFL playoffs are unlike any other playoffs in sports, enjoy the roller coaster starting tomorrow with Super Wild Card Weekend.

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