From Popdust

Your Guide To The 2023 NFL Playoffs

Updated 1/23/2023

We're down to four final teams heading into the Divisional Round: the Cincinnati Bengals, San Francisco 49er's, Philadelphia Eagles, and Kansas City Chiefs. Next weekend, the 49er's will meet the Eagles and the Chiefs will meet the Bengals in their respective games. Winner goes to the Super Bowl.

The Cincinnati Bengals upset the Buffalo Bills, which negates the need for a neutral AFC Championship game. The Bengals will travel to Kansas City to meet Patrick Mahomes. Meanwhile, Mr. Irrelevant Brock Purdy will try to lead the 49er's to the Super Bowl with a win in Philadelphia against Jalen Hurts and the Eagles.

Worth noting is that Patrick Mahomes suffered what looks to be an ankle injury during the Chiefs' game last weekend. He returned to the game, but there are obvious concerns there.

All 32 teams play 17 regular season games for a chance to get to the Playoffs and win it all. And we’ll be updating you with all of the 2023 NFL Playoff news you’ll need each week. Starting off with this weekend’s Wild Card Round:

The Wild Card Round 

Joe Burrow

Jeff Dean/AP/Shutterstock

The NFL splits their 32 teams into two conferences: the American Football Conference and the National Football Conference. During the Wild Card round this weekend, there will be six games: three AFC games and three NFC games.

Since the #1 team from each conference has a bye week, they won’t play until the weekend of the 20th during the Divisional Round. Both the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles will benefit with the rest from the bye, and will face the lowest seed from the winners of the Wild Card Round.

According to the ESPN website, the games will go as follows:

NFC

(7) Seattle Seahawks at (2) San Francisco 49ers - WINNER: SAN FRANCISCO

(6) New York Giants at (3) Minnesota Vikings - WINNER: NEW YORK

(5) Dallas Cowboys at (4) Tampa Bay Buccaneers - WINNER: DALLAS

Bye: (1) Philadelphia Eagles



AFC

(7) Miami Dolphins at (2) Buffalo Bills - WINNER: BUFFALO

(6) Baltimore Ravens at (3) Cincinnati Bengals - WINNER: CINCINNATI

(5) Los Angeles Chargers at (4) Jacksonville Jaguars - WINNER: JACKSONVILLE

Bye: (1) Kansas City Chiefs

After the Wild Card round, teams will be re-seeded by the NFL. This ultimately becomes more fun if there are upsets. For example, if the New York Giants beat the Minnesota Vikings and Justin Jefferson, the Giants may have a chance to play the Philadelphia Eagles in the Divisional Round. Since both the Giants and the Eagles are in the same division during the regular season, this would be their third time playing each other this year.

The Divisional Round 

Kansas City Chiefs vs. Las Vegas Raiders

Jeff Lewis/AP/Shutterstock

Typically throughout the playoffs, the highest seeded teams get home field advantage until the Super Bowl. The Divisional Round games will be played in Kansas City and Philadelphia, as will the AFC and NFC Championships if both teams advance.

Conference Championships

Seattle Seahawks vs. Los Angeles Chargers

Abbie Parr/AP/Shutterstock

On January 29, the final two games before the Super Bowl will commence. The remaining highest-seeded teams will have home field advantage. However, if the Chiefs end up playing the Buffalo Bills, the game will be held at a neutral site in Atlanta.

The neutral location decision was determined after the tragic Damar Hamlin injury during the Bengals-Bills game. Since the game was ruled a “no contest,” the Chiefs automatically became the #1 seed.

Super Bowl LVII

Josh Allen

Joshua Bessex/AP/Shutterstock

The respective winners from the AFC and NFC Championship games will meet in Glendale, Arizona on February 12 for Super Bowl LVII. Get ready for commercials, the Rihanna halftime show, and some of the best football you’ll see all year.

What Makes The Playoffs Fun? 

Jalen Hurts

Chris Szagola/AP/Shutterstock

This year, everyone has something to prove in the playoffs. We are potentially seeing Tom Brady’s final year at QB after a 27-year reign in the NFL. Fan favorite Joe Burrow of the Cincinnati Bengals is looking for a return to the Super Bowl after losing to the Los Angeles Rams last year – and that’s not all.

The New York Giants are seeing playoff contention for the first time in years, and the San Francisco 49er’s will be led by third-string QB, last pick in the NFL Draft, Brock Purdy. Purdy has 1,374 yards and a pass completion of 67.1%, showing he maybe isn’t Mr. Irrelevant after all.

Young teams like the Los Angeles Chargers and Jacksonville Jaguars will have chances to prove themselves. Lamar Jackson will make his return to the Baltimore Ravens after battling an injury towards the end of the season, while the Buffalo Bills led by a Josh Allen-Stefon Diggs duo will be hard to beat.

The Pittsburgh Steelers had a slow start to the season, but have had a Cinderella story throughout. We have more exciting teams like the Seattle Seahawks, led by potential Comeback Player of the Year, Geno Smith, and the Philadelphia Eagles and KC Chiefs are looking to prove why they’re the #1 seed.

The stakes are high. Playing at the highest level of the game means anything can happen. While you may think the script is written and the best teams on paper will win, I have a feeling the playoffs are going to consist of some major upsets.

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