The 2023 NFL playoffs, as explained by Usher's catalog

ByKalan Hooks ESPN logo
Saturday, January 13, 2024

The NFL playoffs kick off this weekend as 14 teams embark on their journey to fulfill every squad's dream -- playing in the Super Bowl.

While the reigning Super Bowl champs, the Kansas City Chiefs, face another challenging voyage to reach the big game, Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens seem to be the favorites to win it all.

And all eyes will be glued to the screens of televisions during halftime of Super Bowl LVIII to watch award-winning singer Usher.

The R&B singer was announced as the headliner of the show, with announcements from different iconic figures such as Colorado Buffaloes coach Deion Sanders and Skims founder Kim Kardashian, with a reenactment of the conversation from his "Confessions" music video.

However, we have an entire playoff run to spectate before Usher takes the stage. Through his 516-song catalog -- nine of which were Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 singles -- each team can relate to Usher in some way. Here's the playlist, from ESPN Music, with full descriptions below.

Baltimore Ravens: 'Superstar'

The Ravens sit atop the NFL with a 13-4 record and are on track to stay in the spotlight. With Jackson's unfazed style of play, he was named the first-team All-Pro at quarterback. In the past 10 seasons, quarterbacks named first-team All-Pro have also won the NFL MVP, according to ESPN Stats & Infomation research.

Jackson is a superstar.

Buffalo Bills: 'Confessions'

Stefon Diggs' brother, Dallas Cowboys cornerback Trevon Diggs, was frustrated after the Bills lost to the Denver Broncos in November.

The cornerback went on X, formerly known as Twitter, stating, "Man 14 Gotta get up outta there," suggesting a change of scenery might benefit Stefon -- and leading to speculation the wide receiver was looking for a trade.

Trevon also tweeted, "Let's not forget, he didn't start going off till bro got there," referencing Bills quarterback Josh Allen.

Buffalo finished the regular season with an 11-6 record -- the best record in the AFC East.

Pittsburgh Steelers: 'Don't Waste My Time'

The Steelers are back in the playoffs after missing last year's postseason. In the past 10 years, Pittsburgh only has three playoff wins, its last being in 2017 against the Chiefs in the AFC divisional round. Since then, the Steelers have lost four playoff matches in a row.

Kansas City Chiefs: 'Seduction'

It was rumored before the season that Kansas City tight end Travis Kelce was in a relationship with Grammy Award-winning artist Taylor Swift. As the Chiefs' season progressed, Kelce and Swift's relationship began to capture a lot of the attention -- especially after the singer was spotted in a suite at Arrowhead Stadium beside Donna Kelce, Travis' mother.

This has been the Chiefs' worst season since 2017, when Kansas City finished 10-6 in the regular season before losing the wild-card game to the Tennessee Titans.

Did the Chiefs get seduced?

Miami Dolphins: 'Think of You'

Wide receiver Tyreek Hill will have a homecoming on Saturday against the Chiefs.

Seems like you've been here before, right?

In 2022, Kansas City traded Hill to Miami for five draft picks. However, since Hill has been with the Dolphins, he's built excellent chemistry with quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who leads the NFL with 4,624 passing yards and is an MVP candidate.

Houston Texans: 'Follow Me'

The Texans' playoff hopes have been up and down throughout the season. For Houston, it had to smile when it didn't feel like smiling. Through rookie quarterbackC.J. Stroud's impressive debut season -- he was considered an MVP candidate earlier this season and delivered one of the best rookie campaigns in history. Stroud told ESPN's Pat McAfee that the Texans are a Super Bowl team. We'll see .

Cleveland Browns: 'OMG'

The Browns have only two playoff wins in the past 30 years. Their last one was a wild-card victory against the Steelers in the 2020 season. Cleveland has endured a long playoff drought -- making it to the postseason twice since 1994 (2002 and 2020). Now the Browns have fans around the league saying, "OMG," they're back.

San Francisco 49ers: 'Yeah!'

With the second-best record, the 49ers are -130 to win the NFC, according to the odds by ESPN BET. San Francisco is the seventh team in the past 10 seasons to enter the playoffs as an odds-on favorite to win its conference. It makes you want to shout "Yeah," right?

Dallas Cowboys: 'Here I Stand'

No matter the circumstance, the Cowboys may have one of the most loyal fan bases in the NFL. But, just as much as they are loved, many also dislike them. Is that something quarterbackDak Prescottthinks about? Probably not.

Prescott has the second-highest QBR in the NFL at 72.6, just behind Brock Purdy's 72.8. In the words of ESPN's Stephen A. Smith, "Dak deserves that money."

So here they stand, the Cowboys.

Green Bay Packers: 'Can U Handle It?'

The Packers are 5-0 all time at AT&T Stadium, including their win in Super Bowl XLV, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

With the Packers traveling to hear the heckling fans of Dallas, can they handle it?

Detroit Lions: 'U-Turn'

The Lions have been to the playoffs 20 times in franchise history. However, Detroit only has seven playoff victories, with their last one being in 1991 against the Cowboys. Since then, the Lions have lost eight straight postseason contests.

This is also the Lions' first time in the playoffs since 2016 -- can they make a "U-Turn" of their postseason history with a win against the Rams?

Los Angeles Rams: 'U Remind Me'

After missing the playoffs last year, the Rams are looking to reclaim the Super Bowl title. The last time Los Angeles was in the playoffs was in 2021, when they hoisted the franchise's second trophy.

A successful playoff run could allow the Rams to enjoy the falling confetti again.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 'Burn'

It's going to burn for us to say this, Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers' playoff dreams were counted out after four consecutive losses after their bye week. But after going on a 5-1 push in their last six games of the regular season, Tampa Bay slipped into the playoffs.

Philadelphia Eagles: 'Truth Hurts'

The truth sometimes hurts. And no, we're not talking about quarterback Jalen Hurts. After making a trip to last season's Super Bowl and falling to Kansas City, the Eagles are looking to go on the same journey but with a different outcome this time.

But after going 1-5 in their last six games of the regular season, the Eagles tied for the worst record by a playoff team in their final six regular-season games, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. Other teams with the same finish as Philadelphia didn't advance past the divisional round.

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