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Expand chart
Logos: Sports-Logos.Net; Chart: Axios Visuals

It's been seven years since a wild-card weekend team won the Super Bowl.

Why it matters: The momentum being carried over from last week by teams like the Titans, the demise of home-field advantage and the lack of experienced quarterbacks in the field suggest that this could be the year of the underdog.

Vikings at 49ers
  • Kickoff: Saturday, 4:35pm ET (NBC)
  • Weather: 56°F, Partly cloudy
  • Announcers: Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya
  • Spread: SF -7
  • O/U: 44.5

How the underdog can win: By grabbing an early lead. Minnesota's offense is built around a power rushing attack led by Dalvin Cook and the play-action looks they get off that (Kirk Cousins excels in play-action). When they're rolling, the Vikings have one of the most efficient passing games in football, so a fast start would be huge.

Titans at Ravens
  • Kickoff: Saturday, 8:15pm ET (CBS)
  • Weather: 59°F, Overcast
  • Announcers: Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts, Evan Washburn
  • Spread: BAL -10
  • O/U: 47

How the underdog can win: By feeding the rookie. Tennessee squeaked out a 20-13 win over New England despite their passing offense hitting a wall. That can't happen against the high-powered Ravens (NFL-best 33.4 ppg), so Ryan Tannehill must target rookie WR A.J. Brown early and often and hope he can beat Marcus Peters, Marlon Humphrey and Baltimore's excellent man coverage.

Texans at Chiefs
  • Kickoff: Sunday, 3:05pm ET (CBS)
  • Weather: 32°F, Partly cloudy
  • Announcers: Jim Nantz, Tony Romo, Tracy Wolfson, Jay Feely
  • Spread: KC -9
  • O/U: 51

How the underdog can win: Run it back. The Texans narrowly beat the Chiefs in Week 6 by committing to the run (Deshaun Watson, Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson combined for 192 yards) which, in turn, limited Kansas City to just 47 offensive plays (vs. 83 for Houston). Perhaps they can execute that game plan once again in a cold weather game that might demand it.

Seahawks at Packers
  • Kickoff: Sunday, 6:30pm ET (FOX)
  • Weather: 22°F, Overcast (snow expected Saturday)
  • Announcers: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews, Chris Myers
  • Spread: GB -4.5
  • O/U: 46.5

How the underdog can win: Jadeveon Clowney. Seattle was 16th in pass rush win rate this year (D-line beat 43% of blocks), while Green Bay ranked first in pass block win rate (O-line held 72% of blocks). So the Seahawks will need their best athlete to step up and bother Aaron Rodgers, who completes 69% of non-pressured passes (vs. 45% under pressure).

Go deeper: Running the ball is back in the NFL

Go deeper

Scoop: Border officials project 13,000 child migrants in May

The "El Chaparral" border crossing at Tijuana. Photo: Stringer/Picture Alliance via Getty Images

A Customs and Border Protection staffer told top administration officials Thursday the agency is projecting a peak of 13,000 unaccompanied children crossing the border in May, sources directly familiar with the discussion told Axios.

Why it matters: That projection would exceed the height of the 2019 crisis, which led to the infamous "kids-in-cages" disaster. It also underscores a rapidly escalating crisis for the Biden administration.

4 hours ago - World

U.S. strikes Iran-backed militia facilities in Syria

President Biden at the Pentagon on Feb. 10. Photo: Alex Brandon - Pool/Getty Images

The United States on Thursday carried out an airstrike against facilities in Syria linked to an Iran-backed militia group, the Pentagon announced.

The state of play: The strike, approved by President Biden, comes "in response to recent attacks against American and Coalition personnel in Iraq, and to ongoing threats to those personnel," Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said in a statement.

Senate parliamentarian rules $15 minimum wage cannot be included in relief package

Photo: Al Drago/Getty Images

The Senate parliamentarian ruled Thursday that the provision to increase the minimum wage to $15/hour cannot be included in the broader $1.9 trillion COVID relief package.

Why it matters: It's now very likely that any increase in the minimum wage will need bipartisan support, as the provision cannot be passed with the simple Senate majority that Democrats are aiming to use for President Biden's rescue bill.