NFL Playoffs: Meet the Two Teams Looking to End Decades of Playoffs Misery This Season

The NFL playoffs are here, and as usual, there are a few teams that stand out as favorites to win it all. The San Francisco 49ers are the short-priced +200 favorites and with an attacking arsenal featuring former Mr. Irrelevant Brock Purdy and running supremo Christian McCaffrey, they'll take some stopping. 

They're expected to face stiff competition from the top seed in the AFC, the Baltimore Ravens, who have been installed as +300 second favorites primarily thanks to quarterback Lamar Jackson. The 27-year-old has returned to the kind of form that saw him become the second player in history to win the MVP award unanimously back in 2020. 

But this year, two teams are looking to end decades of playoff misery. The Cleveland Browns and the Detroit Lions have both already made history this season. Now, they'll be hoping that their fairytales transform into a deep postseason run. 

Cleveland Browns

The Browns have been the laughingstock of the NFL for years. Last year was the fourth time in the last three decades in which they've qualified for the playoffs. However, this season, they've turned things around and headed into the postseason as genuine contenders. They finished the regular season with an 11-6 record, which is their best finish since 1994 and the Super Bowl betting odds have acknowledged that, listing them as +2500  contenders. 

They've been through five quarterbacks this season but iconic veteran Joe Flacco has come into his own in recent weeks. The 38-year-old has been given odds of +1200 by NFL betting sites to complete the most passing yards throughout the playoffs. He's thrown for over 1,600 yards in the five games he's played to bring the curtain down on the Browns' season, having completed a mighty 13 touchdowns already during that time frame. He'll be aiming to add a second Super Bowl ring to the one he won with the Ravens back in 2013. 

The Ohio outfit hadn't won a playoff game since 1994 up until they claimed a shock victory against the Pittsburgh Steelers three years ago, and are competing in the playoffs for just the second time in the last 20 years. But this year, things are different.

As well as the maverick Flacco, The Browns have one of the best running backs in the league in Kareem Hunt, who has been running over defenses all season long. The Browns also have one of the best wide receivers in the league in Jarvis Landry, who has been a reliable target for his veteran QB in recent weeks.

Detroit Lions

The Detroit Lions, meanwhile, have been even worse than the Browns. They've never won a Super Bowl, and have only won one playoff game since 1957, and even that came way back in 1992. They've lost in their opening game of the playoffs in each of their last nine attempts but this year, head coach Dan Campbell's hard work during his three years in charge is finally coming to fruition. Talented quarterback Jared Goff has been in scintillating form all year long, helping himself to 4,575 throwing yards, the second-highest in the entire league. 

The Lions finished the regular season with the same record as the first and second seeds, namely the 49ers and the Dallas Cowboys. As such, they'll have to navigate a tricky route if they're to reach the Super Bowl, but they're already history-makers after winning the NFC North for the first time in their history. Will that culminate in a first-ever Big Game appearance? 

Cover Credits: Unsplash

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