Which franchises have an advantage during wild card weekend?

Philadelphia Eagles v New York Giants
Philadelphia Eagles v New York Giants / Cooper Neill/GettyImages
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The most exciting phase of the NFL season begins on Saturday afternoon. Fourteen franchises will start their journey to Super Bowl LVIII. Determination and attention to detail will lead one of these teams to the Vince Lombardi trophy. Seeding advantages are an asset but do not guarantee an easy road.

Which franchises have the upper hand heading into their wild-card matchup?

NFL Playoff Franchise #3 Cleveland Browns
Opponent: (4) Houston Texans

The fifth seed in the AFC playoff bracket belongs to Kevin Stefanski’s unit. Wins against the Baltimore Ravens, San Francisco 49ers, and Houston Texans helped erase a negative connotation surrounding the franchise. A four-game win streak propelled the Cleveland Browns into the playoffs with a week to spare. They finished with the second-best record In the AFC North and stockpiled enough momentum to become a threat in the extended campaign.

Stout defensive performances kept the Browns above water this season. Jim Schwartz’s defense (84.4) thrived against noteworthy opponents. They finished the season ranked first in pass rush (91.3) and fifth in coverage (90.8). Issues against prominent run offenses have caused problems for Cleveland this year. Schwartz’s group ranks 29th in run defense (57.9) entering wild card weekend.

The Houston Texans are a dangerous team but lack experience in playoff situations. An efficient pass rush will present issues for Houston’s shaky offensive line (64.0). Pressure in the pocket will force Bobby Slowik to restore balance in his offensive scheme. Houston ranks 26th in run offense and will face an elite front seven Saturday afternoon.’