‘Boys v Brady Headlines NFL Wild Card Weekend

Tom Brady’s quest for a record 11th Super Bowl appearance faces a tough challenge from the Dallas Cowboys in the NFL Wild Card Playoff highlight game of the weekend.

Brady led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to Super Bowl glory in 2020, a record seventh title for the quarterback, but last year’s attempt to repeat it ended with a loss to the Los Angeles Rams in the divisional round.

The former New England Patriot then retired before changing his mind and returning for another title shot.

The 45-year-old’s future plans remain uncertain, but what is clear is that he remains hungry for success.

The Bucs were 6-8 after a loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on December 18, but Brady led them to an overtime win over the Arizona Cardinals before clinching a playoff spot with a 30-24 comeback. about the Carolina Panthers.

Brady passed for 432 yards, three touchdown passes, and a rushing touchdown in that game.

The Bucs enter the postseason as the sixth team to do so with a losing regular-season record (8-9) since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger, but coach Todd Bowles believes Brady and the team have shown courage to overcome a difficult campaign.

“Tom is tough. He’s been around a long time. There’s not a lot he hasn’t seen or been through. I don’t think every day of his career has been good. He’s had some tough days here and there.” , but he works through them, he’s tough,” he said.

“There are a lot of guys who dealt with things every day that didn’t come to light. But overall, we stuck together and got through it.”

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To pass the next test, Tampa will have to deal with a Cowboys team that is determined to end its franchise’s 27-year wait for a Super Bowl appearance.

The Cowboys finished with a 12-5 record but were below par in their Week 18 loss to Washington and quarterback Dak Prescott has had a season full of turnovers: his total of 15 is a joint league record even though he missed five games.

However, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is adamant Prescott will avoid costly turnovers in Tampa.

“It’s in Dak’s DNA not to turn the ball over. I have all the confidence in the world that he will find the right balance between being aggressive and not generating turnovers. He understands turnovers more than all of us put together,” he said.

The Cowboys have an explosive offense with running back Tony Pollard rushing for a career-high 1,007 return yards this season and wide receiver CeeDee Lamb racking up 1,359 yards on 107 receptions.

Brady has a 7-0 career record against the Cowboys, including a 19-3 win at Dallas in week one of this season.

– Jaguars look to repeat –

The six games in the wild-card round involve teams that met in the regular season and begin Saturday with the Seattle Seahawks at the San Francisco 49ers.

Seattle snuck into the playoffs after the Green Bay Packers lost their last game to Detroit and will have their work cut out against the strong defense of the NFC South divisional rivals who beat them twice this season.

The Jacksonville Jaguars hope to repeat their 38-10 Week Three victory against the Los Angeles Chargers, in which quarterback Trevor Lawrence threw three touchdowns.

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On Sunday, there’s a divisional rematch featuring the heavily favored Buffalo Bills against the Miami Dolphins who, with Tua Tagovailoa still in concussion protocol, may again be forced to start third-choice quarterback rookie Skyler Thompson.

Fans will be in luck if the New York Giants and Minnesota can replicate the drama of their Christmas Eve clash that the Vikings won 27-24 on a last-gasp 61-yard field goal.

The top two teams in the AFC North will meet in the final game on Sunday with Baltimore traveling to Cincinnati.

The Ravens could again be without quarterback Lamar Jackson, who hasn’t appeared since hurting his knee in a Dec. 4 game against Denver.

The Bengals, though favorites, will be weakened by the loss of guard Alex Cappa (ankle) and tackle La’el Collins (knee).

serious/jc

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