Nov 5, 2023; Frankfurt, Germany; A general overall view as Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) throws the ball against the Miami Dolphins in the second half during an NFL International Series game at Deutsche Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

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NFL Playoff capsules: Saturday wild-card games

NFL Wild Card Saturday capsules

Cleveland Browns at Houston Texans: Rookie head coach DeMeco Ryans and No. 2 pick C.J. Stroud led the Texans to the AFC South title as Houston returns to the postseason for the first time since 2019. They are on home turf for a rematch of their 36-22 Christmas Eve loss to the Browns, who rode a December surge on the arm of revived QB Joe Flacco to an 11-win season and wild-card berth. Stroud didn’t play in the first meeting and makes his postseason debut against Flacco. Flacco isn’t just seasoned. He’s tied with Tom Brady as the most successful quarterback in playoff road games with seven wins, a mark he can break Saturday. Flacco is starting in the playoffs for the 17th time and will be the same age as Ryans when he turns 39 next week. Cleveland gets significant juice from its defense under first-year coordinator Jim Schwartz. A crucial matchup on the edge pits Browns DE Myles Garrett against Texans LT Laremy Tunsil, one of three players remaining on the roster from the 2019 postseason. A matchup Ryans is fretting is Browns WR Amari Cooper against Houston’s hyperaggressive secondary. Cooper caught 11 passes for 265 yards and two touchdowns and was subbed out midway through the fourth quarter in the teams’ December meeting.

Miami Dolphins at Kansas City Chiefs: Frigid temps await the Dolphins in Kansas City with the possibility of a dangerous a real-feel mercury reading near 30-below, according to the Weather Channel. That’s a stark contrast to the 75-degree temperatures the Dolphins experienced for their outdoor practice to start the week. But Chiefs head coach Andy Reid warns not to assume weather is an advantage for anyone, quipping “we aren’t having a snowball fight.” The Chiefs beat the Dolphins 21-14 in their International Series game in Germany on Nov. 5 and feature the No. 2 defense in the NFL. Miami is No. 1 in total offense, but throwing the ball in gusting winds and wintry conditions might require modification from head coach Mike McDaniel. Including the Miami win, the Chiefs surrendered 20 points or fewer in 13 of 17 games this season. The Dolphins aren’t certain what they’ll get from RB Raheem Mostert, who shared the NFL lead with Christian McCaffrey with 21 total touchdowns this season. Mostert has an ankle injury, and WR Tyreek Hill is also hobbled in his first game in Kansas City since he was traded to the Dolphins prior to the 2022 season. Miami beat Kansas City in three previous playoff matchups in 1994, 1991 and 1971. The win in ’71 has held up as the longest game in NFL history, a double-overtime game in the divisional round.

–Field Level Media

Field Level Media
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