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2023-24 NFL Week 1 Playoffs Outlook

With the NFL season coming to a close and the playoffs on the horizon, it is time to look ahead to Week One of the NFL playoffs. In this article, I’ll be making my predictions for each game with a preview to each matchup. 


(5) Cleveland Browns at (4) Houston Texans, 4:30PM ET

Yes, you are reading that right; The Cleveland Browns, led by none other than Joe Flacco, are in the playoffs. They will be taking on a Texans team who is led by a dynamic pair of rookies in quarterback, C.J. Stroud, and head coach, Demeco Ryans.

These two teams are history setting teams as this is just the Browns second playoff berth in 20 years and the dynamic rookie pair is just the 5th pair to accomplish this rookie feat in history. The playoffs are not a field for the weak, Stroud is far from that but I expect this to be a close matchup with the veteran Flacco having the experience to bring this Cleveland team past an injury riddled Houston team. 

Score Prediction: Cleveland 33-28 Houston

(6) Miami Dolphins at (3) Kansas City Chiefs, 8PM ET

First off, let’s start by talking about how ridiculous it is that the NFL is airing an NFL playoff game on Peacock. That is a penny-pinching Rob Manfred move by Roger Goodell. Just add it to the bulletin board of reasons to dislike this man.

Now to an actual insight of the game. This is one of the many “revenge” games this weekend, more specifically for Dolphins WR, Tyreek Hill, a former Chiefs WR. The Dolphins are looking for just their second win of the year over a team with a winning record while the Chiefs are looking to prove themselves once again in the playoffs.

Both of these teams are led by their firecracker-esque offenses, however, kickoff temperature in Kansas City will be in the single digits with a windchill in the negatives. I expect these two teams to cool off with a vintage Patrick Mahomes v Jalen Ramsey final drive to set up a Chiefs win. 

Score Prediction: Kansas City 17- 14 Miami


(7) Pittsburgh Steelers at (2) Bills, 1PM ET

How in the world are these two teams in these positions? Mike Tomlin continues his inevidable streak of consecutive winning seasons and practically drags this Pittsburgh team to the playoffs. Meanwhile, last week the Bills faced the potential of elimination with a loss but end up with the 2nd overall seed in the AFC. These two teams are the testament as to why the NFL playoff picture does not need to change.

The game will be held in Buffalo where the Bills are one of the league’s best at home this season, 7-1. They will be facing a Steeler team on their 3rd string quarterback? 4th? Who knows. Either way, I expect this Steeler team to show their true colors and Josh Allen to come out and show the reason he’s been one of the best QBs in the NFL this year. 

Score Prediction: Buffalo 37- 17 Pittsburgh

(7) Green Bay Packers at (2) Dallas Cowboys, 4:30PM ET

This game is another one of our “revenge” games but this time for head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, Mike McCarthy. McCarthy is looking for his first win against the Packers since being fired in 2018 but luckily for McCarthy he won’t be facing Aaron Rodgers.

Instead, the Packers will be presenting their newest prodigy, Jordan Love. Love has had an up and down year but at times has looked like the next face of the franchise. Even still, Dak Prescott has had an MVP caliber season and his defense is led by stud Micah Parsons. I anticipate a phenomenal first week from a Cowboy team looking to prove they’re legit. 

Score Prediction: Dallas 40- 13 Green Bay

(6) Los Angeles Rams at (3) Detroit Lions, 8PM ET

I mean this is just the stuff they write about in movies. The Detroit Lions have not hosted a playoff game in 30 years and who will they be hosting but none other than former face of the franchise, Matthew Stafford. Stafford has broken and set multiple records for the Detroit Lions but is playing one of his best seasons to date for this Rams team that many, including myself, were not high on this year.

The additions of Puka Nacua and Kyren Williams, resurgence of Cooper Kupp and Matthew Stafford, and genius of Sean McVay have led a Rams team who is a part of a stacked NFC West to a playoff berth. I feel obligated to give this Rams team their flowers considering at the beginning of the year I predicted McVay would either retire or be fired in the middle of the season.

That being said, my favorite team to watch in the NFL this year has been the Detroit Lions. After last years Hard Knocks with the Detroit Lions, Dan Campbell has become a national treasure. Jared Goff, QB, will also look for revenge in this game against a Rams team that gave up on him and traded him to Detroit for Stafford. Unfortunately for Goff, Stafford has a Super Bowl ring under his belt since being dealt to LA. Goff will be looking to prove McVay wrong and get one himself this season. This is far and above my game of the weekend. 

Score Prediction: Detroit 30- 27 Los Angeles


(5) Philadelphia Eagles at (4) Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 8:15PM ET

I am just simply not enticed by this game. Philly drunkenly stumbled into the playoffs this year behind a defense that has looked awful in some games and a quarterback, Jalen Hurts, who thinks he is the second coming of Edgar Allan Poe.

The Buccaneers on the other hand, are barely the winners of the worst division in football year after year, the NFC South. That being said, I do think winning a division shows a lot more than people think. Much like the Cleveland-Houston matchup, experience is a big factor. This will be a blood bath but I think Philly finds their feet and sobers up to fight on for one more week. 

Score Prediction: Philadelphia 24- 13 Tampa Bay

Check in next week for a look towards Week Two of NFL Playoff matchups. Also, tune in to The Huddle, a podcast, about both college and professional football, brought to you by GridironCue!


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