Five storylines for the NFL’s Wild Card Weekend:
1. The best storyline of the playoffs is Nick Foles. Can he win another Super Bowl as a backup? Probably not, but it will be fascinating to see him try and he’s got a tough game right out of the gate as an underdog on the road against the Chicago Bears defense. But then he thrived as an underdog last year and is a cool customer who doesn’t seem to get rattled no matter what the odds.
2. Lamar Jackson will be trying to become the youngest quarterback to win a playoff game, but his Baltimore Ravens have a tough test against the Los Angeles Chargers and Philip Rivers. Rookie quarterbacks often lose their first playoff game, but Jackson will try to beat the odds.
3. The Chargers enter the playoffs as a road team despite their 12-4 record because they are in the same division with the Kansas City Chiefs. But since they don’t have much of a homefield edge in their small soccer stadium in Los Angeles, where they haven’t really been accepted, it may not make much difference. The Chargers tied the Chiefs for the best record in the AFC, but lost the division title on a tiebreaker so they have to go in as a wild card team.
4. The Houston Texans may be the home team that loses during wild card weekend. Although the Texans are a slight favorite, the Indianapolis Colts won the second game in Houston and would have gotten a tie in the first game if coach Frank Reich hadn’t decided to for it on fourth down in overtime instead of punting.
5. Two of the four games will be played in Texas with the Dallas Cowboys hosting Seattle along with the Texans hosting the Colts. The Cowboys haven’t won a Super Bowl since 1995 and have won just one playoff games in eight years with Jason Garrett as the head coach, but remain one of the league’s most popular teams. Jerry Jones is still living off the success of Tom Landry, Tex Schramm, Gil Brandt and Jimmy Johnson.