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There are eight teams remaining in the NFL playoffs. Those that are playing their best football this time of year will advance. 

Here is one essential player who needs to step up in the divisional round:

Houston Texans: LB Christian Harris

Linebacker play has been an issue for Houston this season and the Ravens personnel is a bad matchup for them. Even though All-Pro tight end Mark Andrews is not expected to suit up, Baltimore still has one of the most efficient rushing attacks in football. The Ravens are going to test their limits. If they are as prepared and disciplined as they were last week, the Texans may have a shot to pull off the upset. 

Baltimore Ravens: CB Brandon Stephens

Marlon Humphrey has been ruled out for this weekend's game against the Texans, which places more stress on Stephens, as well as Ronald Darby and Rock Ya-Sin, to hold up against a Houston pass attack that carved apart the Browns last weekend. Rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud had five incompletions and three touchdowns against Cleveland's once feared defense. 

Stroud threw for 242 yards, zero touchdowns and zero interceptions against Baltimore in his first NFL regular-season start. 

Green Bay Packers: EDGE Rashan Gary

Gary has three pressures over the past two weeks, according to TruMedia. He has not had a sack since Week 13 against the Chiefs. Creating turnovers is the key for Green Bay to spring an upset over its NFC counterpart. They need San Francisco quarterback Brock Purdy to feel uncomfortable in the pocket and Gary needs to take residence in the backfield for that to become reality. 

San Francisco 49ers: QB Brock Purdy

San Francisco has few weaknesses as it approaches the divisional round of the playoffs. Turnovers are essentially all that could tank the 49ers' Super Bowl aspirations. Purdy threw at least one interception (nine total) in each of the team's four losses this season. He had just two total interceptions in the team's 12 wins. Short of giving the opposition extra opportunities, San Francisco is in a strong position to advance to the conference championship.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: S Antoine Winfield Jr.

Winfield Jr. has been sensational this season and is about to become a very rich man this offseason. Over the course of this season, he has allowed 382 yards and two touchdowns in coverage, according to TruMedia. The safety has allowed 226 of those yards and both touchdowns in the past four games. 

During the regular season, Detroit had the third-highest yards passing (394.8) per game so the Lions are comfortable pushing the ball downfield with wide receivers Jameson Williams and Amon-Ra St. Brown, as well as tight end Sam LaPorta

Detroit Lions: TE Sam LaPorta

LaPorta had a touchdown in the wild-card round against the Rams but he was confined for most of the game. Tampa Bay has one of the 10 worst EPA rates against opposing tight ends, according to TruMedia, this season. Sunday is an opportunity for the owner of the best rookie season ever by a tight end to announce his arrival on a national stage. When the two teams met earlier this season, the Iowa product was limited to 36 yards on four receptions. 

Kansas City Chiefs: OT Donovan Smith

After electing to part ways with starting left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. last offseason, Kansas City countered by signing Jaguars right tackle Jawaan Taylor. They eventually would sign Smith to start at left tackle, allowing Taylor to start at his most comfortable position. 

Smith has been beaten on 6.1% of pass-blocking snaps, according to TruMedia, which is one of the 20 worst rates in the league. Taylor has allowed 44 pressures this season but it is more understandable considering his 685 pass-blocking snaps this season. The Chiefs' pass protection blanked an injured Miami team in the wild-card round but had allowed 13 sacks in the five games prior. 

Buffalo Bills: QB Josh Allen

The Bills will only go as far as Allen takes them. He has the ability to carry them to victory but has also shown that he is not immune to making a critical error that determines the outcome of a game. Allen has thrown at least one interception in all but four of the team's games this season. They were double-digit winners in each of those four contests. If he can play his game and not get greedy, then the Bills hot streak -- winners of six straight -- should continue.