NFL Playoff Outlook
Wild Card Weekend
Raiders (5) at Bengals (4)
The Cincinnati Bengals bested the Raiders Saturday, winning 26-19. Wide receiver Jamarr Chase put the team on his back, posting 9 catches for 116 yards. The Bengals played a flawless game, having no turnovers, consistent defensive stops, and control over the game with their time of possession at 31 minutes. The Raiders on the other hand threw the ball 54 times to only complete 29 of them. Their biggest downfall was being unable to put points on the board. They had more total yards than the Bengals by 85 but still couldn’t manage to put up at least 20 points. Now, the Raiders look ahead to the offseason where they will reassess the team. The Bengals are now preparing for Derrick Henry and the Titans on Saturday.
Patriots (6) at Bills (3)
The Buffalo Bills beat the New England Patriots 47-17. The MVP of this game was easily QB Josh Allen. Allen put up 300 yards and 5 touchdowns while only missing 4 passes the entire game. 9 different people caught the ball this game for the Bills, showing their complete dominance over the Pats. The Patriots also turned the ball over two times, making it even easier for the Bills. This game was frankly embarrassing for the patriots, going from a potential one seed to getting blown out in the first round. The obvious priority for the Pats is addressing the holes in the defense. You won’t win games giving up 47 points while having a rookie QB, and the Patriots know that. Look for them to bolster their defense in the offseason. The Bills probably have the hardest matchup of the year this week, facing off against the Kansas City Chiefs. That is looking more and more like the game to watch this weekend.
Eagles (7) at Buccaneers (2)
This week shouldn’t have been a surprise to anyone. The Buccaneers beat the Eagles 31-15, but it felt like 60-0. The Buccaneers had the Eagles beat at everything. The Bucs caused three turnovers on defense, clamping Jalen Hurts until garbage time. Jalen Hurts was once again the Eagles leading rusher, and the second closest person only had one big run. Their starting running back Miles Sanders put up 16 yards on 7 rushes. Most of the Eagles struggles came from their playcalling, mostly running Rpos and screens. The Bucs on the other hand were just out there having fun. This week seemed like practice to them, now they prepare for the LA Rams in what should be a great game.
49ers (6) at Cowboys (3)
The Niners upset the Cowboys by a close score of 23-17. San Francisco dominated the majority of the game until Dak Prescott and the Cowboys rallied late in the 4th quarter. The controversial ending to the Cowboys’ season included Dak not giving the ball to the referee, resulting in a 6 second wait before the play resumes. By then, the time expired and the 49ers won. This marks another year of disappointment for hopeful Cowboys fans. With the Eagles and Giants having many-valued draft picks this year, their control over the division might start to slip. Now, San Francisco is preparing for another tough game against the #1 seed Green Bay Packers.
Steelers (7) at Chiefs (2)
Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 42-21 Sunday. The Steelers, who seemed to be struggling that game, looked a bit uncomfortable, especially with Ben Roethlisberger throwing many bad passes. On the contrary, the Chiefs looked solid on both defense and offense. Mahomes put up 404 passing yards, compared to Roethlisberger’s 215 yards. The Chiefs look to beat the Bills, who have been building momentum this whole season, just as they had done a year ago.
Cardinals (5) at Rams (4)
This was definitely the most unexpected outcome of the six games played this weekend. The Arizona Cardinals fell to the LA Rams 34-11. This was an all-around dumpster fire for the Cardinals. Quarterback Kyler Murray finished with a measly 137 passing yards, and nearly all of them came in garbage time. The Rams looked perfect, only allowing 11 points and scoring at will on offense. Odell looks like he found his role on this team, going for over 100 total yards. The Rams have a tough matchup next week, facing off against the Buccaneers. The Cardinals will go home and try to figure out what went so wrong.
Titans and Packers get bye (both 1 seed)