May 28, 2024

As the NFL playoffs kick off, Michigan’s football program continues to be well-represented in the postseason. A total of 15 former Wolverines find themselves on active rosters as the playoffs commence, with eight out of the 14 playoff teams featuring at least one player from Michigan.

Detroit Lions vs. Minnesota Vikings — Jan. 7, 2024

In the NFC, the Lions, seeded No. 3, are hosting a playoff game for the first time since 1994, with Hutchinson playing a pivotal role in their success. The 2022 No. 2 overall pick has shown no signs of a sophomore slump, earning a Pro Bowl selection after an impressive season that includes 51 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, 11 ½ sacks, three forced fumbles, seven pass breakups, and an interception.

Meanwhile, Glasgow, an eighth-year veteran, has been a consistent starter, participating in 15 of the 17 games this season. Peoples-Jones, acquired in a mid-season trade with the Cleveland Browns, has contributed modestly, catching five passes for 58 yards in eight games for the Lions, who will be hosting a game on Sunday night.

Dallas Cowboys: 3

Cornerback Jourdan Lewis, tight end Luke Schoonmaker, defensive tackle Mazi Smith

Smith and Schoonmaker, chosen as Dallas’ first two picks in last year’s draft, have yet to make a significant impact for the Cowboys, who enter the playoffs as the No. 2 seed in the NFC and will host the Packers on Sunday. Smith has seen action in 28% of defensive snaps, contributing 13 tackles and one sack.

On the offensive side, Schoonmaker has been involved in 31% of offensive plays, securing eight receptions for 65 yards and two touchdowns.

In contrast, Lewis, a third-round pick in 2017, remains a key figure in the Cowboys’ defensive lineup. He has been on the field for an impressive 73% of snaps, concluding the regular season with notable stats, including 52 tackles, five pass breakups, three forced fumbles, and an interception.

It’s worth noting that former Michigan tight end Sean McKeon is currently on the injured reserve list for the Cowboys.

San Francisco 49ers: 3

Outside linebacker Rashan Gary, offensive guard Jon Runyan Jr.

Both players have become integral parts of the Packers’ lineup. Gary, a former first-round pick, solidified his presence by signing a significant extension in October. Despite recovering from a torn ACL in 2022, he has showcased resilience by participating in all 17 games during the 2023 season. Gary’s contributions include 44 tackles, nine sacks, and two fumble recoveries.

Runyan, now in his third season as a starter, continues to play a key role for the Packers, further establishing himself as a reliable asset on the team.

Houston Texans: 1

Receiver Nico Collins

Collins has truly come into his own as one of the premier receivers in the league this season, playing a pivotal role for the AFC South-winning Houston Texans, who secured the No. 4 seed in the playoffs. As a 2021 third-round pick, Collins finished the regular season ranking eighth in the league with an impressive 1,297 receiving yards and tied for eighth with eight receiving touchdowns. His standout performance in the Week 18 victory over the Indianapolis Colts, where he notched a career-high nine catches for 195 yards and a touchdown, garnered recognition from head coach Jim Harbaugh. Harbaugh even acknowledged Collins during Michigan’s national championship news conference.

The Texans, led by Collins, are set to host the Cleveland Browns on Saturday. It’s worth noting that former Michigan defensive tackle Maurice Hurst Jr. is currently on injured reserve for the Cleveland Browns.

Kansas City Chiefs: 1

Defensive end Mike Danna

The player selected in the fifth round of the 2020 draft delivered a standout performance this year for the AFC’s No. 3 seed, the Kansas City Chiefs. Having a career-best season, he accumulated 50 tackles, with seven tackles for loss, 6 ½ sacks, and three pass breakups. As the Chiefs gear up to host Miami on Saturday night, they’ll face challenging weather conditions, with windchills anticipated to be well below 0 degrees.

Pittsburgh Steelers: 1

Center Mason Cole

The player chosen in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft is now on his third NFL team. Notably, he secured a starting position in all 17 games for the Pittsburgh Steelers, marking his second consecutive year of doing so. The Steelers, positioned as the No. 7 seed in the AFC, are set to take on the Buffalo Bills in a matchup scheduled for Monday.

Philadelphia Eagles: 1

Defensive end Brandon Graham

Despite a dip in production during 2023 following a career-high 11 sacks in the previous year, the 35-year-old remains a valuable and effective player coming off the bench for the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles, positioned as the No. 5 seed in the NFC, are gearing up to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday.

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