The NFL Playoffs are here! With the Chiefs and Packers bye, 12 teams are set to square off this weekend in the wild card round, with 3 games on Saturday and 3 on Sunday. As a result of the many changes in this historic 2020 season, 14 teams will compete in the playoffs instead of 12. The NFL playoffs have featured 12 teams since 1990, but now more teams will have a shot at proving themselves to be the best in the league.
The Colts travel to Buffalo to face off with the Bills on Saturday. The Rams will probably be forced to play their backup quarterback in Seattle, as Jared Goff has been ruled out with an injured thumb. The last game on Saturday has the Buccaneers facing the Washington Football Team, a game that will either be really close or will be a blowout. On Sunday, the Ravens make their way to Tennessee to take on Derrick Henry’s Titans. The Bears travel south to take on the Saints, and the Browns face division rival Steelers in the last game of the Wild Card round.
Two notable Australians will be featured in this year’s playoffs: Jordan Berry of the Steelers and Michael Dickson of the Seahawks. Both are punters for their respective teams and considered among the best in the league. With Australian punters on the rise in college football, Dickson and Berry set a good example of what Australians in the NFL seek to do in upcoming years.
Michael Dickson was selected by the Seahawks in the 5th round of the 2018 NFL Draft with the 149th overall pick. It was a pick that the Seahawks had acquired from a trade with the Denver Broncos. Dickson is a one-time pro bowler and one-time all pro teamer, receiving both accolades in his first year in the league. Even on a high-powered Seahawks offense, he punted 61 times, 12th most in the league. However, he averaged 49.6 yards per punt, 3rd most in the league. His longest punt of 67 yards was tied for the 6th highest among punters, and he also led the league in punts pinned inside the 20-yard line, according to PFF. Another solid year for Dickson, and expect to see him on Saturday as he faces off against one of the toughest defenses in the NFL.
Jordan Berry went undrafted in the 2014 NFL draft and was signed by the Steelers in 2015. Berry took over the starting role after incumbent punter Brad Wing was traded to the Giants. Berry had been signing extensions to the team until in September 2020, when he was released by the Steelers. Berry was re-signed a little over a month later, and has been starting for the Steelers since. It’s safe to say the Steelers didn’t need Berry too much, as their monstrous defense left the other team punting from inside their own end zone, putting the Steelers in field goal range after just a few first downs. Berry’s punt total rose towards the end of the regular season, however, allowing him to finish 15th in punts, 17th in yards per punt, and 12th in punts inside the 20. Even though Berry is 17th in yards per punt, that number was also heavily affected by the Steelers punting with already good field position, meaning a lot of the time Berry wasn’t trying to punt as far as he could. Another solid piece on the team for the Steelers. Up in the air as to how much he’ll be used on Sunday, viewers will just have to tune in themselves to find out.