This 12 months’s NFL playoffs kick off with six wild-card round video games this weekend, and one among the prime Utah storylines to comply with is a matchup that entails gamers from BYU, Utah and Weber State, in addition to one other recreation the place a former Ute is getting back from retirement.
Las Vegas Raiders at Cincinnati Bengals
- Kickoff: 2:35 p.m. MST
- Venue: Paul Brown Stadium
- TV: NBC, Peacock, Universo
What to watch for: Cincinnati quarterback Joe Burrow is making his playoff debut after going No. 1 total to the Bengals in the 2020 NFL draft. The Raiders’ Derek Carr can also be making his postseason debut, although it’s coming in his eighth professional season. Both groups are looking out to break lengthy playoff droughts — the Raiders final gained in the 2002 playoffs, after they superior to the Super Bowl (and misplaced), whereas the Bengals haven’t gained a postseason recreation since 1990.
Utah influence: There aren’t seemingly to be Utah ties making a noticeably main influence on this recreation. Former Herriman High standout Andre James has began each recreation at heart for Las Vegas this season, and his rise from undrafted free agent to starter in his third season is spectacular. Former Utah and Brighton High deal with Jackson Barton gained a Super Bowl ring with Kansas City two years in the past however has been inactive on recreation day all however two video games for the Raiders.
Utah ties on Raiders roster
- Jackson Barton, OT, Utah and Brighton High
- Andre James, C, Herriman High
- Dallin Leavitt, S, Utah State and BYU
- Jeremiah Poutasi, OT, Utah (observe squad)
Utah ties on Bengals roster
- Jalen Davis, CB, Utah State
- Xavier Su’a-Filo, OG, Timpview High (reserve, designated to return)
New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills
- Kickoff: 6:15 p.m.
- Venue: Highmark Stadium
- TV: CBS, Paramount+
What to watch for: The AFC East rivals cut up their video games this season — New England went on the highway and beat Buffalo 14-10 on Dec. 6, whereas the Bills exacted some revenge with a 33-21 victory in Massachusetts three weeks later. The recreation may come down to if Buffalo can get to Patriots rookie quarterback Mac Jones. Jones had 9 video games with a 70% completion proportion or greater, tied with Dak Prescott with the most in NFL historical past amongst rookies. The Bills’ protection, in the meantime, leads the league in whole protection (272.8 yards per recreation), move protection (163 ypg) and scoring protection (17 factors per recreation).
Utah influence: Former BYU linebacker Kyle Van Noy returned to New England this 12 months after one season in Miami and has been a gradual contributor for the Patriots. The trio of lively roster gamers with Utah ties on Buffalo’s staff is also in line to make massive performs. Former Weber State cornerback Taron Johnson had a choose six throughout the postseason final 12 months, and two former Utes — operating again Zack Moss and defensive deal with Star Lotulelei — are seemingly to see a gradual quantity of snaps.
Utah ties on Patriots roster
- Harvey Langi, LB, BYU, Utah and Bingham High (injured reserve)
- Kyle Van Noy, LB, BYU
Utah ties on Bills roster
- Taron Johnson, CB, Weber State
- Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah, Snow College and Bingham High
- Zack Moss, RB, Utah
Philadelphia Eagles at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Kickoff: 11:05 a.m.
- Venue: Raymond James Stadium
- TV: Fox, Fox Deportes
What to watch for: The Eagles draw the quick straw of the wild-card weekend by enjoying the defending Super Bowl champs. Philadelphia, although, has gained six of its previous eight video games and is available in wanting aggressive after some early season troubles. The Buccaneers beat the Eagles 28-22 of their Week 6 regular-season matchup, although it was performed in Philadelphia. Tom Brady — the NFL’s all-time playoff chief in wins (34) — is attempting to win his eighth Super Bowl title, whereas Philadelphia will counter with the NFL’s prime dashing assault (159.7 yards per recreation).
Utah influence: Former Weber State and Stansbury High guard Sua Opeta is the solely Utah tie on an lively roster right here, and he’s sometimes been restricted in his variety of snaps every recreation.
Utah ties on Eagles roster
- Sua Opeta, OG, Weber State and Stansbury High
- Noah Togiai, TE, Hunter High (observe squad)
Utah ties on Buccaneers roster
- Troy Warner, S, BYU (observe squad)
San Francisco 49ers at Dallas Cowboys
- Kickoff: 2:40 p.m.
- Venue: AT&T Stadium
- TV: CBS, Paramount+, Nickelodeon, Amazon Prime Video
What to watch for: This one looks like a playoff matchup from the Eighties or Nineties, when these two groups staged some traditional postseason matchups. San Francisco rallied their method into the playoffs — going 7-2 in the again half of the season — whereas 12-5 Dallas has been one among the extra regular groups in the league. While the QB matchup of the 49ers’ Jimmy Garoppolo and the Cowboys’ Dak Prescott will seize loads of consideration, there are star defensive gamers on either side as effectively, like San Francisco defensive finish Nick Bosa and Dallas linebacker Micah Parsons, two of the league’s finest defenders in tackles for loss with 21 and 20, respectively.
Utah influence: This may very well be the recreation to watch this weekend by way of gamers with Utah ties enjoying a significant function in the contest. Former BYU linebacker Fred Warner is a staff captain and chief on the defensive aspect of the ball for San Francisco, and he has the expertise of serving to the 49ers attain the Super Bowl two years in the past. Former Bingham High tight finish Dalton Schultz is having his finest professional season and is one among Dak Prescott’s favourite targets in the passing recreation.
Utah ties on 49ers roster
- Fred Warner, LB, BYU
- Mitch Wishnowsky, P, Utah
Utah ties on Cowboys roster
- Bradlee Anae, DE, Utah (observe squad)
- Francis Bernard, LB, Utah, BYU and Herriman High
- Simi Fehoko, WR, Brighton High
- Dalton Schultz, TE, Bingham High
Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City Chiefs
- Kickoff: 6:15 p.m.
- Venue: Arrowhead Stadium
- TV: NBC, Peacock, Telemundo
What to watch for: The Steelers wanted some assist in Week 18 to make the postseason and will likely be large underdogs in opposition to Kansas City, the AFC’s consultant in the previous two Super Bowls. This permits the 39-year-old Ben Roethlisberger, a two-time Super Bowl champion, one final probability at a playoff run earlier than he’s anticipated to retire. It will likely be a big problem: Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs blitzed the Steelers 36-10 throughout their regular-season matchup the day after Christmas, and whereas Kansas City had some early struggles, the Chiefs have appeared the a part of a Super Bowl contender as the season’s wore on.
Utah influence: Former BYU security Daniel Sorensen has had some struggles this season in his eighth 12 months with the Chiefs, however he has additionally created a little bit of a repute for making massive performs, significantly in the postseason in recent times. Outside of Sorensen, although, the Utah ties on lively rosters right here aren’t seemingly to make a big effect.
Utah ties on Steelers roster
- Miles Killebrew, S, Southern Utah
Utah ties on Chiefs roster
- Zayne Anderson, S, BYU and Stansbury High
- Matt Bushman, TE, BYU (observe squad)
- Marcus Kemp, WR, Layton High
- Daniel Sorensen, S, BYU
- Darwin Thompson, RB, Utah State (observe squad)
Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Rams
- Kickoff: 6:15 p.m.
- Venue: SoFi Stadium
- TV: ESPN/ABC, ESPN2, ESPN+, ESPN Deportes
What to watch for: The Cardinals are making their first playoff look since 2015, although Arizona has misplaced 4 of its previous 5 video games. That began with a 30-23 loss to the Rams in Week 14. Arizona, which is 8-1 on the highway this season, beat its NFC West rival 37-20 in Los Angeles in Week 4, snapping an eight-game dropping streak to the Rams. Both beginning quarterbacks will likely be in search of their first playoff win — the Cardinals’ Kyler Murray, the prime total choice in the 2019 draft, is making his playoff debut, whereas the Rams’ Matthew Stafford is 0-3 as a starter in the playoffs, all with Detroit.
Utah influence: While the 49ers-Cowboys recreation may very well be most impacted by Utah ties, this one could also be the most intriguing. Former Utah security Eric Weddle got here out of retirement this previous week after two years not enjoying the recreation, and he will likely be again attempting to assist a Rams secondary depleted by accidents. Pro Bowl kicker Matt Gay can also be the deciding issue, if it comes down to a subject objective in crunch time — he’s made 94.1% of his field-goal kicks this season.
Utah ties on Cardinals roster
- Kylie Fitts, OLB, Utah (injured reserve)
- Leki Fotu, DT, Utah and Herriman High
Utah ties on Rams roster
- Terrell Burgess, S, Utah
- Matt Gay, Okay, Utah and Orem High
- Eric Weddle, S, Utah (observe squad)
- Jonah Williams, DE, Weber State (observe squad)