2024 NFL Wild-Card Recap: It’ll Be Bills-Chiefs In the Playoffs Again

Two of the NFL’s best quarterbacks—Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes—will square off next Sunday in the divisional round after Buffalo’s win over Pittsburgh.

 

In western New York, the Buffalo Bills hammered the overwhelmed Pittsburgh Steelers, taking advantage of two first-half turnovers to pull away, winning 31–17. As usual, it was Josh Allen setting the tone, an effort punctuated by a 52-yard rushing touchdown in the second quarter.

 

The AFC divisional round is set, with the top–seeded Baltimore Ravens hosting the fourth–seeded Houston Texans at 4:30 p.m. ET Saturday (ESPN/ABC/ESPN+), while the second–seeded Bills will host the third–seeded Kansas City Chiefs at 6:30 p.m. ET (CBS) Sunday.

 

The NFC divisional round will also be set after Monday’s other wild-card game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 8:15 p.m. ET.

 

One matchup already determined is the top–seeded San Francisco 49ers hosting the seventh–seeded Green Bay Packers at 8:15 p.m. ET Saturday.

 

What it means for Bills: Buffalo showed why it’s such a terrifying team in an easy win over the Steelers. Josh Allen combined for 277 yards and four touchdowns. Additionally, the defense created two turnovers after leading the league in takeaways during the regular season. With their sixth consecutive win, the Bills now square off with the Chiefs at Orchard Park, with the previous two postseason engagements with Patrick Mahomes in Kansas City. This is the moment Buffalo has been waiting for. Now it has to make it happen.What it means for Steelers: Pittsburgh can’t allow a playoff berth to fool it about the future. The Steelers should move on from Kenny Pickett as their starting quarterback, either by bringing in a veteran such as Russell Wilson, or by spending another high draft pick. Pittsburgh also needs to revamp the secondary around Minkah Fitzpatrick and Joey Porter Jr., with the unit finishing 30th in yards per completion allowed. Mike Tomlin deserves credit for keeping the Steelers in the race every year, but they’re an easy out come the postseason.

 

What it means for Lions: Detroit is finally back. After 65 years of complete ineptitude, a span in which the Lions won a grand total of one playoff game, the Lions are a factor in the NFC. After not hosting a postseason game for 30 years, Detroit finally did so and won Sunday night, and will do so again next weekend against either the Eagles or Buccaneers. Detroit isn’t just a feel-good story. The Lions are a really good team that will be favored to reach the NFC championship game, a place they haven’t been since 1991.What it means for Rams: It was a solid season for Los Angeles, which was not expected to make the playoffs during what appeared to be a soft rebuild. However, the Rams now must build up the secondary this offseason if they’re going to take the next step in 2024. Ultimately, Los Angeles has a quartet of fantastic offensive pillars in Matthew Stafford, Puka Nacua, Cooper Kupp and Kyren Williams. They need to find players of a similar caliber to match with Aaron Donald and Kobie Turner.

 

What it means for Cowboys: Could this be the end for Mike McCarthy in Dallas? The Cowboys have reached the playoffs each of the past three years under the former Packers coach, and they’ve won a grand total of one postseason game. This year’s showing was the worst, with Dallas getting blown out at AT&T Stadium to become the first No. 2 seed to ever lose in the wild-card round. If owner Jerry Jones decides to make a move, perhaps he considers a record-setting check for Bill Belichick. Additionally, the Cowboys have to consider a litany of offseason questions now, including whether to retain Tony Pollard, Tyron Smith, Stephon Gilmore, Jayron Kearse, Jourdan Lewis and others. The upcoming months won’t be quiet in Dallas.What it means for Packers: For Green Bay, this season has been a wild success based on reaching the playoffs, and the production of Jordan Love. Now, it’s a fever dream. The Packers went into Dallas, where the Cowboys had won 16 consecutive games, and dominated throughout. Love was spectacular with 272 passing yards and three touchdowns, while the defense picked off Dak Prescott twice, including a pick-six from Darnell Savage. The long-term takeaway is Green Bay has a phenomenal pairing of Matt LaFleur and Love for the next decade. The short-term story line is the Packers are playing without pressure and a team enjoying the moment, leading to terrific results.

 

 

Gideon Canice

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