This year's NFL playoffs will feature all rematches from the 2022 regular season on Super Wild Card Weekend, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, marking the fifth time since 1970 that's happened in the opening round.
There's many lessons to be learned from the first matchups, and in some cases you can take the previous meetings with a grain of salt due to injuries. Let's get you caught up on how the regular-season matchups can influence the rematches.
Seahawks at 49ers (SF swept SEA 2-0)
What happened: The 49ers swept the Seahawks this season for the first time since 2011, outscoring them 48-20. The Seahawks had one offensive touchdown in those two games, and it was with Seattle down 15 with under four minutes left in the most recent matchup.
Lesson learned: The Seahawks need to find a way to get Geno Smith some looks down the field. The 49ers won't be giving up much on the ground, so Seattle needs big plays to D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett to pull off an upset. Smith led the NFL in touchdown passes thrown 15-plus yards downfield this season (15), but had none in two games against the 49ers. Just eight percent of his passes were thrown 15-plus yards downfield against San Francisco, compared with 20 percent against all other teams.
What's different: This is one of the few playoff rematches this weekend where injuries from the regular season weren't a major factor. The 49ers only had Brock Purdy and Christian McCaffrey for the second regular-season matchup against Seattle and both played well in San Francisco's win.
Chargers at Jaguars (JAC defeated LAC 38-10 in Week 3)
What happened: The Jaguars thumped the Chargers 38-10 in Week 3 at SoFi Stadium, Jacksonville's largest road win in 21 years. Trevor Lawrence faced little resistance, throwing three touchdown passes to three different receivers (Zay Jones, Christian Kirk and Marvin Jones Jr.), while the Chargers scored a season-low 10 points.
Lesson learned: Get Austin Ekeler the ball. Ekeler had a season low in touches (12), scrimmage yards (53), rush yards (5) and touchdowns (0) in the blowout loss. He took off after that game scoring 18 touchdowns, five more than anyone else in the NFL since Week 4. I would expect Ekeler to have more than five rush yards in the rematch.
What's different: The Chargers should have their full arsenal of offensive weapons in this game, as they didn't have Keenan Allen in Week 3 (hamstring), although Mike Williams is questionable after suffering a back contusion in Week 18. Having both available could make all the difference as Justin Herbert had a 106.4 passer rating this year with both on the field, and a 89.0 mark with at least one off the field. Joey Bosa also left the Week 3 defeat with a groin injury but has looked good in a limited role in the last two weeks, recording seven pressures on just 20 pass rushes.
Dolphins at Bills (split season series)
What happened: The teams split a tightly fought season series with the Dolphins winning 21-19 at home in Week 2, holding off a Bills' late charge, while Buffalo won 32-29 at home in Week 15. The Bills overcame an eight-point, fourth-quarter deficit in their win.
Lesson learned: Don't blitz Josh Allen. The Dolphins have the second-highest blitz rate in the NFL this year and Allen torched Miami when they sent extra pass rushers, going 22 of 29 for 264 yards, four touchdowns, no picks and a 142.8 passer rating. He totaled 704 pass yards and 124 rush yards in their two head-to-head matchups, the first player ever with 700 pass yards and 100 rush yards against a single team in a regular season. It'll be very hard for Miami to pull off an upset without Tua Tagovailoa, and blitzing Allen will not help its chances.
What's different: Miami won't have Tua Tagovailoa (concussion protocol), who played in both regular-season matchups, leaving them a massive underdog. The Dolphins will likely turn to Skylar Thompson at QB, who has the lowest passer rating in the NFL this season (minimum 100 attempts). Their only chance at an upset starts with a strong ground game, like the one Raheem Mostert anchored in Week 15 (17 carries for 136 yards). But Mostert may not play after breaking his thumb in Week 18.
Giants at Vikings (MIN defeated NYG 27-24 in Week 16)
What happened: The Vikings won a thrilling game against the Giants at home last month, needing a 61-yard field goal at the buzzer by Greg Joseph to win. There was little resistance from either defense, especially late in the game. The teams combined for 28 points in the fourth quarter, including three straight scoring drives to end the game. Daniel Jones threw for 334 yards and Saquon Barkley totaled 133 yards from scrimmage, while Justin Jefferson and T.J. Hockenson combined for 25 catches for 142 yards and three touchdowns.
Lesson learned: Wink Martindale's aggressive defense may not be conducive to containing Justin Jefferson in his playoff debut. The Giants blitz at the highest rate in the league this year, and play man coverage at the highest mark, leaving Jefferson with plenty of one-on-one opportunities. He averaged 18.2 yards per catch against the blitz this year, compared with 12.3 when the defense does not blitz. It was a similar split when he faced man coverage vs zone (18.9 vs 12.3) this year. It'll be interesting to see if the Giants defensive coordinator alters his approach in the rematch.
What's different: The Giants are getting healthier but the Vikings aren't. The Giants will likely return two starters in their secondary, CB Adoree' Jackson and S Xavier McKinney, who did not play in Week 16, giving them more coverage options against Jefferson. Jackson and McKinney rank top two among Giants defensive backs in completion percentage allowed this season. Meanwhile, Minnesota will not have two starting offensive lineman from its Week 16 matchup. Both C Austin Schlottmann and RT Brian O'Neill were placed in IR recently.
Ravens at Bengals (split season series)
What happened: The Ravens won the first matchup in Baltimore, 19-17, on a Justin Tucker 43-yard field goal at the horn. The Bengals won 27-16 last week with the AFC North title already wrapped up, and undrafted rookie QB Anthony Brown making his first career start in place of Lamar Jackson.
Lesson learned: It's not going to be a cake walk for Cincinnati's offense, which destroyed a depleted Ravens defense last year, but was held to 22.0 points per game in two matchups in 2022. That's especially true with the addition of Roquan Smith, who has made Baltimore's defense one of the best in the NFL since the trade.
What's different: Lamar Jackson's chances of playing are not looking good, leaving Baltimore with only a glimmer of hope here, especially if backup Tyler Huntley (shoulder) is also unable to suit up. If that's the case and rookie Anthony Brown starts again, the Ravens' hope would rest on their defense playing its best game of the season. One thing going their way is the Bengals offensive line could be down two starters with RT La'el Collins out for the season and RG Alex Cappa likely out (ankle).
Cowboys at Buccaneers (TB defeated DAL 19-3 in Week 1)
What happened: The Buccaneers beat the Cowboys 19-3 in Week 1, their second-fewest points in any game with Dak Prescott since drafting him in 2016. Prescott had one of his worst games of the year and was replaced late after suffering a thumb injury. Tampa Bay had the worst rushing offense in the NFL this year, but Leonard Fournette carried it 21 times for 127 yards, his only game over 75 on the year. Dallas' top two offensive weapons -- CeeDee Lamb (two catches, 29 yards) and Tony Pollard (eight touches, 22 yards) -- were held to a combined 51 scrimmage yards.
Lesson learned: The Cowboys need to play Tony Pollard more over Ezekiel Elliott. They've been in a 50-50 timeshare all season but if Dallas wants to make sure it doesn't lay an egg like it did against Tampa Bay in Week 1 (and Washington in Week 18) and continue its playoff misery, it would feature Pollard more. Here's why:
The Cowboys average 5.7 yards per play with Pollard on the field this season and 5.0 with Elliott on the field, the difference between the ninth-best and 28th-ranked offense in the NFL.
Pollard (5.9) led all RBs in yards per touch this season while Elliott (3.9) ranked last (minimum 150 touches).
According to NFL Next Gen Stats, Pollard ranked third in rush yards above expected this season while Elliott ranked fourth worst.
Finally, in Pollard's three starts at RB this year he totaled 381 scrimmage yards and six touchdowns.
What's different: The biggest difference for Tampa Bay is it will not have Shaquil Barrett, who played in Week 1 but suffered a season-ending Achilles tear in October. The Buccaneers' blitz made life difficult for Prescott in the season opener but this pass rush isn't nearly as dangerous without Barrett, who was a game wrecker for Tampa Bay during the Super Bowl run in 2020. The Buccaneers' pass rush is 24th in pressure rate this year after ranking third from 2020-21. In Week 1, Dallas did not have WR Michael Gallup, who could take attention away from CeeDee Lamb, who caught just 2-of-11 targets in the opener.