By: Alyssa Britton-Harr
After last week’s Super Wild Card weekend, the playoffs took an unexpected turn. Let’s recap the first couple of games.
The San Francisco 49ers were favored over the Seattle Seahawks last Saturday, January 14th. Brock Purdy, formerly known as (Mr. Irrelevant) showed out in his first-ever playoff game. The 49ers defeated the Seahawks 41-23 Saturday and advanced to the divisional round, where they will play the Dallas Cowboys Sunday, January 22nd. The Cowboys advanced after Dak Prescott dominated over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31-14 Monday night. Tom Brady’s press conference after the game seemed unclear if he would retire, stay another year with the Bucs or go to a different team. This could have been his last ever playoff game, but fans think this is not the season record that the GOAT would retire on.
What can we expect for Sunday? Well, the 49ers have the best defense in the league this season and have one of the best running game offenses. We can expect the Cowboys to put up a heavy fight as they have earned their spot in the playoffs and played well enough to advance for the first time since the 1992 season. The Cowboys will fight hard for this win but have to make severe cuts and plays that will allow them to get around the 49ers defense to put up the points.
The Jacksonville Jaguars advanced in their divisional round after Riley Pattersons winning field kick that left the score 31-30. The Jaguars will take on the Kansas City Chiefs on Saturday, January 21st. The Jaguars had an uplifting season, as they had a 3-14 record in the previous 2021-2022 season and have now advanced into the second round of the playoffs. After the Jags won, fans noted that QB Trevor Lawrence has never lost a Saturday game, even during his Clemon days. We will see if this statistic will advance the Jags into the AFC Championship, but first, they must defeat Patrick Mahomes, who had a bye week during the first round.
The Bills will see the Bengals again Sunday for the ultimate matchup, and between two well-skilled quarterbacks, it will be an intense game. The Bengals were favored over the Ravens with a remarkable end play by Sam Hubbard, where he recovered a fumble and ran it in for a touchdown that brought home the win for the Bengals. The Bills dominated the Dolphins during their first-round playoff game 34-31, which was a closer called game than fans had expected.
The Vikings, who had the most remarkable comeback in franchise history a few weeks back, lost to the Giants in the first-round playoff game 31-24. This game was a tough loss for Vikings fans as this was their first loss in 12 games this season. The Giants advanced to play the No. 1 seed NFC East divisional round, the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles have good coverage on the field with players like DeVonta Smith, who will be right where Hurts needs him to get the ball.
Jalen Hurts was not on the Tuesday injury report for the Eagles, so it is uncertain what his throwing game will look like Saturday. The Giants have one of the best left tackles in the league, Andrew Thomas giving them great potential for Saturday, but there are also concerning holes when it comes to other defensive tackle players like Evan Neal and Nick Gates. The Eagles have had 70 sacks for the season, meaning that if New York wants to win, they will have to fight to protect Jones at all costs.
Heading into the second round of the playoffs, football fans are excited to see what is to come for many of these teams, who haven’t been in the playoffs for years. If during the second round of the playoffs, the Chiefs and the Bills both win, it is projected that the game will be held in Atlanta.
Jaguars vs. Chiefs
SAT 01/21-4:30 NBC
Giants vs. Eagles
SAT 01/21-8:15 FOX
Bengals vs. Bills
SUN 01/22- 3:00 CBS
49ers vs. Cowboys
SUN 01/22-6:30 FOX