Fraud or Fierce: Breaking Down Current NFL Wild Card Teams


Oct 25, 2023

We’re through seven weeks of NFL football, and the genuine contenders and pretenders are taking shape. It’s been pretty evident who the best teams in each conference are, with the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles sitting 6-1, but as we look down the standings to the playoff hopefuls slotted in the wild card spots, are they for real?

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  • Pittsburgh Steelers 

I cannot believe the Pittsburgh Steelers are 4-2. I’m floored. They scored two defensive touchdowns to beat the Cleveland Browns, beat a pathetic Las Vegas Raiders squad, and had come back fourth-quarter wins over the Baltimore Ravens and Los Angeles Rams en route to four wins. Still, the way they win is unsustainable in my eyes. Kenny Pickett and Matt Canada still look disastrous. Najee Harris might be the slowest running back in football, and their secondary is not good. With two of their next three games being against the Cincinnati Bengals, who are coming alive, and the surging Jacksonville Jaguars, I bet the Steelers will return to earth. 

Fraud or Fierce: Fraud

  • Cleveland Browns

Heading into Week 7, I lauded the Cleveland Browns’ defense as being the best unit in football, and I expected them to crush Gardner Minshew. I was completely wrong, but I still have faith in this defense. Myles Garrett has been playing like one of the best players in football. Their run defense is elite, and their secondary has been mostly on lockdown. Deshaun Watson still needs to find some consistency, but if he does, this offense has enough weapons to win a playoff game, assuming their defense plays to their ceiling.

Fraud or Fierce: Fierce

  • Buffalo Bills

I’m so sick of Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills. Every year, we do the same bit with them, as they can absolutely annihilate anyone in football but can lose to anyone as well. Allen can pull off magical plays but also make some of the dumbest decisions. The Bills will likely make the postseason, but having confidence in them finally figuring it out when it matters most would be a stretch.

Fraud or Fierce: Fierce

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  • Seattle Seahawks

The Seattle Seahawks are interesting, sitting 4-2 with an impressive win over the Detroit Lions. Their offense is full of weapons, and Geno Smith has played well, so their next two games against two stout defenses in the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens will tell us a lot about their potential ceiling. Their pass defense hasn’t performed as well as expected, but their offense can carry them.

Fraud or Fierce: Fierce

  • Dallas Cowboys

As much as I’d love to see the Dallas Cowboys collapse and become a laughingstock, they can win a game in the postseason. Getting embarrassed by the San Francisco 49ers did not help their candidacy. Still, their offense is excellent when clicking on all cylinders, with Dak Prescott protecting the football and a defense allowing the fourth-fewest points per game this season. Still, Dallas will find a new way to come up short in the postseason like usual, but since Detroit got flattened, they are the third-best team in the conference.

Fraud or Fierce: Fierce

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers

If two NFC South teams make the postseason, it’s a problem. Yes, some respect must be given to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense, which has played well. Still, I do not believe in this offense whatsoever, with Baker Mayfield and this nonexistent ground attack doing anything. An easy schedule could allow them to squeak their way into the playoffs if the chips fall right, but the Bucs have fraud written all over them.

Fraud or Fierce: Fierce

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Thumbnail photo via Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

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