Watch Super Wild Card Weekend with six playoff games over three nights live on Sky Sports NFL, starting with the Las Vegas Raiders in the Cincinnati Bengals starting at 9:30 p.m. Saturday night.
The fantasy football season may be over, but Sky SportExpert Hannah Wilkes is still here to showcase the very best talent you can watch in the NFL Playoffs, starting with young stars looking to impress at Super Wild Card Weekend…
A “tournament” where seasons essentially begin and end, NFL legends are written, and hearts are inevitably broken for 13 teams that get close but not close enough. Three football nights begin on Super Wild Card Weekend and end with the first Monday Night playoff game in NFL history.
Nothing is easier than playoff football, and as we look at the games this weekend, one of the things that excites me the most is the breadth of NFL young talent on display.
Sure, Tom Brady is chasing his eighth championship and has more postseason starts than the other 11 quarterbacks playing Wild Card Weekend combined (45 for Tom, 44 for everyone else), and Ben Roethlisberger’s retirement tour is still underway, but through The draw is rookies, sophomores and young players ready to lead their teams (hopefully) to the big ball in LA in five weeks…
Saturday, Sky Sports NFL Live, 21:30.
In the second season Joe Burrow took Cincinnati from worst to first in the AFC North, missing the final six weeks of his rookie season with an ACL injury. He is approaching his playoff debut alongside Derek Carr for the Raiders, who has waited eight years as a starter to enter the tournament.
Burrow led the NFL in passing percentage and passing yards per attempt in 2021, with only Aaron Rodgers having a higher passer rating. I encourage you to read this again and make it clear. His success this year has a lot to do with the Bengals’ first-round pick in 2021; his former college teammate Ja’Marr Chase.
The rookie receiver amassed a terrific 1,455 receiving yards in 2021 (the most by a rookie in the Super Bowl era) in just 81 receptions that resulted in 13 touchdowns. The Burrow-Chase bond is nice to look at, but it’s by no means a two-piece band from Ohio. The Bengal trio of WR Chase, Ty Higgins and Tyler Boyd have over 800 receiving yards and five touchdowns through 2021, so if Raider protection successfully contains Chase, as in the week 11 match, Burrow still has air options.
The Raiders lack young stars in defense as well. Max Crosby won the Defender of the Week award for playing against the Chargers last Sunday. He finished the season with eight sacks, 13 loss tackles and 30 quarterback shots. The Bengals ‘notoriously flimsy offensive line will face a real challenge, protecting Burrow from Crosby and the Raiders’ pass-rush.