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NFL The Final Word: Detroit Lions in playoff dreamland, while Jordan Love and CJ Stroud announce themselves on the biggest stage

Sky Sports' Neil Reynolds has the final word on Super Wild Card Weekend in the NFL, picking out his takeaways for each game as well as his Player of the Week; watch every game of the Divisional Round live on Sky Sports, including the Kansas City Chiefs against Buffalo Bills

Image: Jared Goff led the Lions to a historic playoff win over the Rams

The first round of the NFL playoffs is in the books and as expected Wild Card Weekend produced lots of storylines and lots of headlines...

1) Stroud's rise to stardom

CJ Stroud had already arrived as a regular season star, and announced himself as one of the players to watch in the NFL for the next decade by shining on the playoff stage. He went 16 of 21, 274 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions and almost perfect in the 45-14 win over the Cleveland Browns. He went up against the No 1 defense in the NFL and did not bat an eyelid, didn't blink.

This stage was not too big for CJ Stroud. He has something special brewing with the Houston Texans and his career will be fascinating to watch for the next 15 years.

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Highlights of the Houston Texans against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 18 of the NFL season

2) Question marks for Tua and Miami?

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Highlights of the Miami Dolphins against the Kansas City Chiefs on the Super Wild Card Weeken

I think Kansas City's win over Miami took on a familiar theme that we have seen this season. Good defense, reliable kicker from Harrison Butker and just enough from Patrick Mahomes and, in particular, wide receiver Rashee Rice.

There were some drops for the Chiefs, they stuttered a little bit and had just two offensive touchdowns, but they can win that way and live this way with their defense being as good as they are. They held Miami to 264 total yards, when the Dolphins had been averaging more than 400 as the No 1 offense in the NFL.

There are some questions for Mike McDaniel and quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, with Miami scoring just seven points on the biggest stage.

3) Despair in Dallas

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Highlights from the Green Bay Packers against the Dallas Cowboys on Super Wild Card Weekend

What I said about CJ Stroud could probably be said about Jordan Love, who went 16 of 21 for 272 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions and the same quarterback rating at 157.2. Aaron Jones also rushed for over 100 yards and three touchdowns, Romeo Doubs had over 150 receiving yards with a touchdown.

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Jordan Love was in control from start to finish in a 48-32 win that was nowhere near as close as the scoreline suggested.

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NFL pundit Peter King believes Bill Belichick could replace Mike McCarthy as Dallas head coach after the Cowboys were dumped out of the playoffs by the Green Bay Packers

This has raised serious questions about the Dallas Cowboys and heaped huge pressure on quarterback Dak Prescott and under-fire head coach Mike McCarthy.

This is the most brutal and disappointing of all loses for the Cowboys, who had won 16 games in a row at home. You have to wonder whether heads will roll.

4) The Lions end playoff drought

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Highlights from the Los Angeles Rams against the Detroit Lions on Super Wild Card Weekend

The best game of the weekend was in Detroit, where the Lions won a playoff game for the first time in 32 years.
This was a sensational atmosphere, absolutely electric as Dan Campbell's team march onto the next round.

Both quarterbacks were the headlines and the story, they lived up to the billing in the first half. Jared Goff got the win with efficient play, 272 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. Matthew Stafford went down fighting, swinging and scrapping as he threw for 367 yards, two touchdowns and no picks.

There's no shame in the way the Rams went out; the Lions got some good play from their defense in the second half, meaning they only added three points after the break and still got the win. The Rams have plenty to build on with Stafford throwing passes to Puka Nacua.

5) Allen inspires the Bills again

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Highlights from the Pittsburgh Steelers against the Buffalo Bills in the NFL's Wild Card Round

For the most part when you're trying to break down an NFL game, take a look at which quarterback played better.
That is where you will get the win, with the exception probably being Stafford and Goff.

Generally this weekend the better quarterback was on the winning side, and in Buffalo the better quarterback was Josh Allen as he threw for 203 yards, three touchdowns and was tidy with no interceptions, while also adding 74 yards on the ground.

It was not perfect from start to finish with the Bills, and actually leave a bit too much to chance, but they managed to pull away in the end.

6) Eagles slump to crushing defeat

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Baker Mayfield's phenomenal 3-TD game helped the Tampa Bay Buccaneers steamroll the Philadelphia Eagles in NFL's Wild Card Round

The final game of Wild Card Weekend saw the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the Philadelphia Eagles, which given the recent form of Nick Sirianni's team should not be a massive surprise.

But the scoreline was shocking, 32-9 with the Eagles barely putting up a fight as they whimper out into the offseason. They lost six of their last seven down the stretch, raising serious questions about a disconnect in this team and how fast they fell as NFC champions last year.

Baker Mayfield was excellent with 337 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions, but to me the story was the glaring deficiencies for the Eagles, including the inability to stop big plays in the passing game and failing to make tackle after tackle.

Player of the Week - Stroud.. and Love!

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CJ Stroud's fabulous pass saw Dalton Schultz run into the end zone unopposed as Houston extended their lead over Cleveland

I'm going to split this between CJ Stroud and Jordan Love, because they had almost identical numbers. They were both playing on the big playoff stage for the first time and they stared down high-profile opponents. Stroud took apart Cleveland's No 1-ranked defense, and Love destroyed a Dallas Cowboys team that had been dominant at home all season long and that were no match for his skills. These two young quarterbacks announce themselves as NFL stars on Wild Card Weekend.

Play of the Week - Josh Allen's 52-yard TD run

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Josh Allen somehow evaded the Pittsburgh defense, sprinting clear for the 52-yard touchdown as Buffalo continued to dominate the first half

It was a play that spoke to the greatness of Josh Allen. A moment on third down when his team needed a big play, it was a clever run, it was a powerful run and when he was level with some defenders he ran away from them. It was just a reminder of how important Allen is to these Bills.

Coach of the Week - Matt LaFleur, Green Bay Packers

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Jason Bell struggled to contain his emotions as Dallas, who had won their last 16 games at home in the NFL, continued to get pummeled by Green Bay in the Wild Card Round

I'm going to go with Matt LaFleur of the Green Bay Packers. I thought the game-plan he dialled up completely out-matched that of Mike McCarthy.

Time and time again receivers ran open for Jordan Love to take advantage of, the ground game was there as well, there was balance and the only mistake he made was pulling his starters a tiny bit early in the fourth quarter as 48-16 became 48-32 a little too quickly, flattering the Cowboys towards the end.

An outstanding display from LaFleur, who has turned this team around quickly and kept them competitive in the first season without Aaron Rodgers.

On my radar... Louis Rees-Zammit!!

Image: Louis Rees-Zammit is targeting a career in the NFL

As I'm writing this column, my phone keeps pinging with message after message after message because Louis Rees-Zammit has announced he is stepping away from rugby to join the International Player Pathway Program.

This is an incredible development for American Football in the UK and globally, this is an elite rugby player at the top of his game, a British & Irish Lion, a star of Wales rugby on the eve of the Six Nations, deciding to step away from all of that assured success he has to pursue an NFL dream.

He is electric, he is exciting, he is on my radar. I can't wait to see what happens with him.

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