Super Wildcard weekend's all-star team

By Rhys Knott

Playwright David Mamet is credited with positing that “Old age and treachery will always beat youth and exuberance”. Although he could have been paraphrasing Italian cyclist (amongst other things) Fausto Coppi, who may have introduced amphetamine to cycling. Mamet will have had a nasty shock of he watched the Packers and Texans victories this week. But then again those sort of games haven’t been played very often in Mamet’s 76 years on this earth! 

All-Star Quarterback

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Dak Prescott might have thrown for the most yards this week, but his 2 interceptions were vital. And Baker Mayfield’s 3 touchdowns and passer rating of 119.8 gave him a real chance of being the All-Star QB again. But this week it’s a tie. Usually there’d be a tiny, insignificant reason to pick one ahead of the other, but their stats were so similar it’s impossible to split CJ Stroud and Jordan Love. For 2 players starting their first playoff games to absolutely shred defenses is seriously impressive. 

They both threw 21 passes and both of them completed 16 of them (Dak threw 60!). They both ended their games with 3 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. Neither of them was sacked and they had 157.2 passer ratings. A perfect passer rating is 158.3. It’s going to be fascinating to see how they both perform against defenses that have time to rest and prepare. 

All-Star Running Back

 Josh Allen was challenging for a spot as an All-Star running back this week, he ended the game in wintery Buffalo with an average of 9.3 yards per carry. But there was no TJ Watt in that Steelers defense, so it was really like taking candy from a baby. In actual fact the best running back by a country mile was Packer veteran Aaron Jones. 

Jones was the only running back over 100 yards this week. He racked up 118 yards on the ground from 21 carries and added 13 more with his one reception. He also scored 3 touchdowns! It’ll take a superhuman effort to put up similar numbers against the 49ers defense. But you know what? A healthy Jones could just do it. 

All-Star Wide Receivers

Puka Nacua has been amazing all season, so why wouldn’t he be exactly the same in the playoffs? Nacua’s 181 yards accounted for 49.3% of the Rams total receiving yards. He wasn’t as successful on the ground though with his only rushing attempt losing 2 yards. He did catch 1 of Matt Stafford’s 2 touchdown passes though. Not bad work for a 22-year-old. He ended his rookie year with an average of 13.8 yards per touch after racking up 1,754 yards in 18 games! 

It was a good week for young receivers as 23-year-old Packer Romeo Doubs joins Nacua in the receiving corps. The Packers’ receivers have been a nightmare for fantasy team owners this season. 5 different receivers have led them in receiving over the course of the season (and 2 tight ends and 2 running backs), so it must be impossible to gameplan against too. This week it was Doubs turn. 

He racked up 55.5% of the Packers receiving yards in his first playoff game. Doubs ended the game in Dallas with 151 yards on just 6 catches. That’s 25.2 yards per catch! He also caught a touchdown after being flagged for offensive pass interference in the endzone a few snaps earlier. When is a pick play a rub and not a pick? Yadda yadda yadda.  

DeVonta Smith (or skinny Batman as Pro Football Reference suggest his nickname is) is only 25 but he’s already played in 5 playoff games. Despite being on an Eagles team who went down without really swinging a punch in Tampa Bay Smith still racked up the yards. He ended the wildcard weekend with 148 yards on 8 catches, Without AJ Brown Smith had his most productive game since 2022. 

All-Star Tight End

Having said the Packers and Aaron Jones could give the 49ers some problems if George Kittle goes all Jake Ferguson this week, they’ve got a big problem. 

Ferguson hauled in 3 touchdowns as he caught 20 of his 12 targets. No other passer catcher more than 1 touchdown this week, so Ferguson is the clear choice here. Ferguson himself had never caught more than a single touchdown in a game before so the Packers defense need to get on that game tape ASAP! 

Super Wildcard Weekend's D/ST

If the Dolphins hadn’t folded like a pack of cards in the last fortnight the Chiefs defense would be in with a shout here. They did hold their opponents to just 7 points after all. But in weather more conducive to raising polar bears than playing football that wasn’t very difficult.  

Instead, it’s the Buccaneers. They held the Eagles offense to a measly 42 rushing yards and a single touchdown. Even though Jalen Hurts threw for 250 yards the Eagles offense struggled to move the ball so much that Jake Elliott only had one field goal attempt. Tampa Bay’s defense even sacked Hurts for a safety (that was technically an intentional grounding penalty, but it looked like a sack to me). The Buccaneers have got a whole different problem against the Lions offense this week, but it’ll be fun to watch. 



Rhys has been watching the NFL for 30 something years and still hasn’t managed to pick a team to support. When he’s not fixatED on pass rushers you can find him blithering on about most sports on Twitter @wrhys_writes