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NFL playoffs: Super Wild Card Weekend tips, Brock Purdy brilliance, terrific Tom Brady and rooting for the Buffalo Bills | NFL News

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What drama will the NFL playoffs deliver this year? Watch all 13 postseason games live on Sky Sports

What drama will the NFL playoffs deliver this year? Watch all 13 postseason games live on Sky Sports

Sky Sports’ Hannah Wilkes previews the opening round of the NFL playoffs, talking up the hopes of the San Francisco 49ers, the inevitability of a Tom Brady run, the desire for the Buffalo Bills to do well… while she also dishes out her handy tips to surviving Super Wild Card Weekend!

I joke quite frequently (too frequently, if you listen to the Her Huddle podcast), “What even is time?!”

And as we gear up for the first round of the playoffs this weekend I have to ask, quite seriously, where on earth have the last 18 weeks gone?!

When the season kicks off in September, the five glorious months of football stretch out on the calendar before us, but now – in many ways, having barely established who the contenders are and pretenders are – we’re in the playoffs. We’ve blinked and we’re in the tournament: 14 teams and 13 games remain.

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Super Wild Card Weekend looms. It’s an absurdly big and brilliant weekend of football and there’s plenty to sink our teeth into. All six matchups are repeats of clashes we witnessed in the 2022 regular season, with some teams meeting for a third time even. But the form guide, to an extent, goes out the window when it’s knockout football. Let the wildness commence!

It’s a Brock Purdy party (and we’re all invited)

If Brock Purdy, the third-string quarterback who has led the San Francisco 49ers to the playoffs, wins a Super Bowl, is he the next Tom Brady? Maybe.

Could San Francisco 49ers rookie quarterback Brock Purdy take them all the way to the Super Bowl in Arizona? Could San Francisco 49ers rookie quarterback Brock Purdy take them all the way to the Super Bowl in Arizona?

Could San Francisco 49ers rookie quarterback Brock Purdy take them all the way to the Super Bowl in Arizona?

It certainly should guarantee that the awful ‘Mr. Irrelevant’ tag be consigned to the bin for all future NFL drafts.

Purdy has averaged at least eight yards per pass attempt in winning his first five career starts as the Niners ride a 10-game win streak into the playoffs as the number two seed in the NFC.

Kyle Shanahan’s team continue to look like the most complete outfit in the NFL. Considering the changes at QB and the injuries the squad as a whole has dealt with, they shouldn’t be this good – and the fact that they are speaks to the depth of talent and brilliant coaching they have.

Neil Reynolds and Jeff Reinebold discuss the streaking San Francisco 49ers as they head into the playoffs as the form team in the NFL, with 10-straight wins

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Neil Reynolds and Jeff Reinebold discuss the streaking San Francisco 49ers as they head into the playoffs as the form team in the NFL, with 10-straight wins

Neil Reynolds and Jeff Reinebold discuss the streaking San Francisco 49ers as they head into the playoffs as the form team in the NFL, with 10-straight wins

They’re my champion pick from the NFC and it would take something immense from Geno Smith, Pete Carroll and co for the Seattle Seahawks to put a dent in their run.

Tom Brady

Another year in the NFL, yet another playoff season for Tom Brady

But with a losing regular-season record. That certainly is new territory for Brady as he enters the 20th postseason of his storied career.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady is back in the NFL playoffs, albeit with a losing record for the first time Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady is back in the NFL playoffs, albeit with a losing record for the first time

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady is back in the NFL playoffs, albeit with a losing record for the first time

Despite a few short weeks ago labelling them as “Super Bowl contenders”, the wheels have come off the Dallas Cowboys offense with characteristically sublime timing and Brady is 7-0 against Dallas in his career.

There are so many reasons why Tampa shouldn’t make it to the Divisional Round, but wouldn’t it just be classic Brady to get there?

The AFC is ridiculous!

I need a three-sided coin. Because, when it comes to which team out of the Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals will emerge from the AFC’s top three seeds and head to the big dance in Phoenix, I truly believe it will come down to the finest of margins.

A look at some of the best plays from Patrick Mahomes this season, in his bid to grab a second league MVP award

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A look at some of the best plays from Patrick Mahomes this season, in his bid to grab a second league MVP award

A look at some of the best plays from Patrick Mahomes this season, in his bid to grab a second league MVP award

History says the Chiefs. Patrick Mahomes has had an MVP-worthy season, they got the number one seed and it’s basically been business as usual regardless of who he’s throwing to alongside of super tight end Travis Kelce.

Form says the Bengals. An eight-game win streak after a 4-4 start to the season has them getting hot at exactly the right time and the swag coming from Joe Burrow remains completely intact. They’re fun to watch, easy to root for, and well placed for an immediate return to the Super Bowl.

The Buffalo Bills family show support for Damar Hamlin ahead of their game against the New England Patriots at the weekend

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The Buffalo Bills family show support for Damar Hamlin ahead of their game against the New England Patriots at the weekend

The Buffalo Bills family show support for Damar Hamlin ahead of their game against the New England Patriots at the weekend

When it comes to the Bills though, is there a single NFL-loving heart who wouldn’t like to see them do it? Given the challenges that the city of Buffalo has faced over the last several months, and the terrifying scenes on the field with Damar Hamlin in Week 17 (thankfully, home and well on the way to recovery at the time of writing), this team is playing with a fire in their bellies that can’t be schemed against.

The Bills came close last year in the AFC Championship game, the rules have since changed, they’re well and truly in the Championship window and they really, really want it. If your squad isn’t in the playoffs, how can you not root for this team?

Brian Baldinger says Nyheim Hines' two kick-off return TDs in the Bills' first game back following Damar Hamlin's cardiac arrest was a

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Brian Baldinger says Nyheim Hines’ two kick-off return TDs in the Bills’ first game back following Damar Hamlin’s cardiac arrest was a “Hollywood story!”

Brian Baldinger says Nyheim Hines’ two kick-off return TDs in the Bills’ first game back following Damar Hamlin’s cardiac arrest was a “Hollywood story!”

Super Wild Card Weekend marathon tips!

Park yourself on the sofa Saturday evening, tell your friends and family you’re incommunicado until Tuesday afternoon (factoring in a recovery nap) and prepare yourself for a viewing experience that represents the truest test of stamina for any discerning NFL fan.

NFL Week 18 games live on Sky Sports

Saturday double-header NFC: Seattle Seahawks (7) @ San Francisco 49ers (2) Saturday, 9.30pm, Sky Sports NFL & Main Event
AFC: Los Angeles Chargers (5) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (4) Sunday, 1.15am, Sky Sports NFL & Main Event
Sunday triple-header AFC: Miami Dolphins (7) @ Buffalo Bills (2) Sunday, 6pm, Sky Sports NFL
NFC: New York Giants (6) @ Minnesota Vikings (3) Sunday, 9.30pm, Sky Sports NFL & Main Event
AFC: Baltimore Ravens (6) @ Cincinnati Bengals (3) Monday, 1.15am, Sky Sports NFL & Main Event
Monday Night Football NFC: Dallas Cowboys (5) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4) Tuesday, 1.15am, Sky Sports NFL & Main Event

It’s a mission not for the faint of heart and for which myself and the Her Huddle podcast gang have some tips:

1) Tactical naps are a must. We recommend mid-afternoon to ensure you’re wide awake and not in the post-nap grump come kick-off.

2) Caffeinate smartly. I like a 10pm coffee to see me through to the end of the late game.

3) Consider your snack choices. Crisps, sweets and some protein are all good. But stay away from anything too heavy (cheese and chorizo were both sighted as “risks”) as this may induce sleepiness.

4) Get off the sofa. Stand up, sit on the floor, basically make sure you’re not entirely comfortable as we head into the latter stages of the late games to prevent accidental dozing off. I’m also a fan of half-time yoga to get the blood flowing… I’m almost entirely alone in that, but don’t knock it until you’ve tree-posed it.

Watch Super Wild Card Weekend, with all six games from the opening round of the playoffs live on Sky Sports NFL across three days, starting with Seattle Seahawks @ San Francisco 49ers on Saturday night from 9.30pm

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