The NFL’s playoff field of 14 was trimmed down to eight following Wild-Card Weekend, which was chock-full of upsets. There are two Divisional Round games on Saturday this week and then two more on Sunday – one AFC and one NFC each day.
Josh Allen (Buffalo), Lamar Jackson (Baltimore) and Baker Mayfield (Browns) will all start in the Divisional Playoffs and they were 1st-round picks in the 2018 Draft. This will be the 2nd time that three 1st-round QBs from the same draft will start in the Divisional Round in the same year.
Super Bowl 55 Possible Matchups | 2021 NFL Expert AnalysisThe other was the 2008 Divisional Playoffs, when 2004 1st-round QBs Eli Manning, Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger all started. Allen, Jackson and Mayfield will be the first group to do it in the same conference.
The Browns were the biggest upset winners of the Wild Card Weekend, ending a 17-game losing streak in Pittsburgh with a 48-37 stunner. The game was over after the first quarter with the Browns leading 28-0.
Cleveland became the first team to score 28 points in the first quarter of a playoff game since the Raiders did against the Oilers in 1969. In addition, the Browns scored as many first-quarter points than they did in the first quarter of their previous 13 games combined in Pittsburgh. It was only the 2nd time in franchise history the Browns have scored 40+ in a playoff game.
Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski and several others missed the Steelers game in COVID protocols but most of them are expected back this week.
“I don’t plan on doing that again,” said Stefanski, who watched the game from his basement, isolated from his family with his phone off. “A very, very unique feeling not to be there with them, so there was a ton of nervous energy that usually doesn’t exist on the sideline for whatever reason.”
Here’s a look at potential Browns Super Bowl 55 matchups with the Browns and the exact matchup odds from Mybookie. Cleveland is one of four active franchises to never reach a Super Bowl.
Packers vs. Browns (+2800)
These teams didn’t play this season. They last did in Week 14 of the 2017 season in Cleveland and the Packers won 27-21 in overtime – that was the year the Browns were winless and the year before they drafted Mayfield No. 1 overall.
Brett Hundley threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Davante Adams in overtime as the Packers rallied from a two-touchdown deficit in the fourth quarter. Hundley threw for 265 yards and three scores in place of an injured Aaron Rodgers. Green Bay and Cleveland are scheduled to meet in the 2021 regular season.
Saints vs. Browns (+4300)
These teams didn’t play this season, either. If the Saints do make it here, this would be the last game in the Hall of Fame career of QB Drew Brees.
The most recent meeting between the Saints and Browns was Week 2 of the 2018 season with New Orleans winning 21-18 at home. Mayfield wasn’t even Cleveland’s starting QB yet. Wil Lutz kicked a 44-yard field goal with 21 seconds left, while Cleveland kicker Zane Gonzalez pushed the second of his two missed field goals wide right in the final seconds. Gonzalez also missed two extra points.
Bucs vs. Browns (+5100)
Cleveland would be at a disadvantage here because the Super Bowl is in Tampa. While Cleveland hasn’t faced the Bucs in four years, the Browns did face Tom Brady with the Patriots last year in New England and lost 27-13. Brady threw for 259 yards and two touchdown passes to help Bill Belichick earn his 300th career victory in the Patriots’ win.
Rams vs. Browns (+10300)
This is the longest shot Super Bowl 55 matchup on the board by a wide margin. These teams didn’t play this season but did Week 3 last year in Cleveland and the Rams won 20-13. Safety John Johnson III intercepted Mayfield’s fourth-down pass with 27 seconds left. Cooper Kupp caught two touchdown passes from Jared Goff and the Rams stopped Mayfield on four straight plays from the 4-yard line in the final minute.
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