17 Jan The Divisional Round Is Upon Us
We’ve just made it through a wildly hectic weekend of playoff football, and there were some surprises to be had throughout Wild Card Weekend. Now, we look ahead towards the Divisional Round of the postseason to try and figure out which four teams will advance into the Conference Championships.
Let’s start by looking at the AFC, beginning with the Jacksonville Jaguars travelling to play the Kansas City Chiefs. Trying to beat the Chiefs in Arrowhead is undoubtedly one of the most challenging things you can do now. Jacksonville is coming off a 27-point comeback against the Los Angeles Chargers in their first playoff game despite four interceptions from Trevor Lawrence. It was an excellent come-from-behind win for a team that nobody expected to see in the playoffs. However, seeing them taking down the Chiefs on the road is tough. Patrick Mahomes and company just got a lovely week to rest and come in with a whole bag of tricks against a young and inexperienced team while playing at home. That statement gives you the best preview of what’s coming here.
The next AFC game is between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Buffalo Bills. Who would have thought? A few weeks ago, Damar Hamlin suffered a horrible injury that resulted in both teams agreeing to cancel their matchup against one another. A cancellation that gives Buffalo home field here. There’s no doubt that emotions from that previous game against one another will be coming out in this playoff matchup, and it might be weird for some of these guys to hit the field here, given what happened last time. Buffalo might be fueled if Hamlin can cheer them on from his home or the sideline in this game, and the Bengals will have to overcome that ferocious crowd. Not to mention that neither team played well in their Wild Card game, meaning that they must clean some stuff up moving forward.
Flipping to the NFC now, we have the New York Giants and the Philadelphia Eagles. Once again, nobody expected to see the Giants in the postseason at the beginning of the season. Now, look at them. They are in the postseason Divisional Round after a massive upset win against the Minnesota Vikings on the road. A game that saw Daniel Jones throw for over 300 yards and rush for just under 100. This is the best matchup for them, getting their divisional rivals, the Eagles. Philadelphia got the past week off due to obtaining the top seed and should have most of their injured players back from injury. You never know how these divisional games can go, which again gives the Giants upset potential. They don’t have much to lose against the one-seeded Eagles.
Then finally, we have the Dallas Cowboys taking on the San Francisco 49ers. The Cowboys looked phenomenal in their Wild Card game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The defense held up their end of the bargain against Tom Brady while Dak Prescott threw for five touchdowns in what turned into a rout. This week might be different, though, facing the best defense in the league and a blazing-hot offense led by rookie Brock Purdy. San Francisco stuffed the Seattle Seahawks in the second half, giving us yet another glimpse of how scary they can be when they turn it up a notch. It looks like a bad matchup for the Cowboys, but certainly one of the most exciting matchups of the week, without a doubt.