NFL Playoffs: Spotlight Shifts

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By Ron Johnson

Before we even start, let’s give praise to the Houston Texans for making a little history of their own as DeMeco Ryans and C.J. Stroud (both rookies respectively) won their playoff debut in epic fashion Saturday by beating, victimizing, and conquering the Cleveland Browns 45-14 to advance to the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs. They were joined later by the Kansas City Chiefs who didn’t let a wind chill of -30 keep them from shining like the diamonds we expected them to be.

But with all due respect to them as well as the four teams playing Monday, it’s Sunday.

And the two main games that are getting the focus of the entire Super Wild Card Weekend happen to be the next legs of the NFL Reunion Tour: Arlington and Detroit. This afternoon, the Dallas Cowboys will face the Green Bay Packers for the first time since that infamous Dez Catch/Drop in Lambeau a few years ago. This evening, the Los Angeles Rams will lock up with the Detroit Lions in the official Christening of Ford Field. That means that Ford Field will have its first home playoff game ever in case you’re trying to Google that one.

7 Green Bay Packers vs. 2 Dallas Cowboys

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To say the least, all the signs point to the Dallas Cowboys dominating this game. They seem to be more evened out on offense, defense and special teams. It also is worth mentioning that they finished the regular season undefeated. Knowing all that, we did not even mention that this is the first time that Mike McCarthy will face the team he won a Super Bowl with one lifetime ago. For Dallas, this is the game that will determine the path they will take towards their first NFC Championship Game in the modern era. To be fair, this will determine if they can exorcise their own demons since even the fanbase knows that counting your chickens right now would be a bad idea. 

For the Packers, they are out to prove that they earned their spot as they were able to cool off the red-hot Bears and clinch themselves a playoff berth last week. Jordan Love was not supposed to be in the playoffs this soon due in large part to how the Packers slumped most of the season. But they have quietly found themselves in the postseason and look forward to the challenge of the locking up with the likes of Micah Parsons and Co. McCarthy vs. LeFleur has to be a showdown you have to enjoy because once again, LeFleur took the reigns of GB and never looked back. While McCarthy’s mental is going to be on display in this game because of the whispers, it will take a monumental victory to silence them considering the Lions did win that game a few weeks ago.

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6 Los Angeles Rams vs. 3 Detroit Lions

Prior to the 2021 season, the Los Aneles Rams and Detroit Lions made one of the most shocking swaps in modern memory. The Rams sent Jared Goff to Detroit a few days after some controversial group chats were revealed in exchange for Matthew Stafford. Since that time, Stafford led the Rams to a Super Bowl Championship and is looking to do it again. But Goff has improved in leaps and bounds in his time under Lions head coach Dan “Kneecaps” Campbell. The results speak for themselves. The Lions have won their first division title since the divisional split and are hosting their first home playoff game in Ford Field, while the Rams are in the playoffs after a one-year absence and two years after winning the Super Bowl. 

This is where it gets a little dicey, though.

In the spirit of smack talking, there were those in Detroit who implored fans NOT to wear their Stafford Lions jerseys to the game on Sunday. This may sound like nothing to some, but it was intriguing enough to get the attention of yours truly as well as Kelly Stafford, Matthew’s wife. 

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After seeing the Instagram post from @TheDetroitLine that urged fans not to wear Stafford’s jersey to the game, Kelly responded in the classiest way possible. Despite all the good that Matthew and Kelly did while in Detroit, apparently the game is more important than that. While it is understandable that this is a playoff game, and Detroit has not been here in a while, they should at least act like they have been here once or twice since the Central became the North.

If they need a better scenario, I will say this about it all: When the Stafford-Goff Swap happened, I cannot find a single Lions fan that was excited about having him under center. When they were going through their growing pains, they wanted Goff gone from Detroit. Now all of a sudden, they want to forget that Stafford is one of the best quarterbacks statistically in Lions history?! Make it make sense Detroit. 

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