NFL fans were treated to what was appropriately named “Super Wild Card Weekend.” Hopefully, the NFL Divisional Round will be equally crazy.
It all began with the Seattle Seahawks appearing to possibly pull off a major upset against the San Francisco 49ers until the latter pulled away late. In the nightcap on Saturday, the Los Angeles Chargers blew a 27-point lead to lose to the Jacksonville Jaguars. It was a soul-crushing loss for Chargers fans with the loss coming in ways only the Chargers could.
On Sunday, the Miami Dolphins nearly did the unthinkable. They held a second-half lead and took the Buffalo Bills to the wire. Ultimately, they fell 34-31. The New York Giants were not going to blow their lead though. The G-Men pulled off the upset on the road and looked great doing it. Finally, the Cincinnati Bengals, thanks to Sam Hubbard and the longest fumble return in playoff history, beat the Baltimore Ravens to advance to the Divisional Round.
Shortly after the AFC North battle ended, the NFL revealed the Divisional Round schedule for next weekend, and the Dallas Cowboys locked in the final matchup by beating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday night.
AFC Divisional Round
(5) Jacksonville Jaguars at (1) Kansas City Chiefs
Saturday, Jan. 21, 4:30pm ET (NBC)
Following their unbelievable comeback, the Jaguars will look to slay the AFC’s top seed. Trevor Lawrence engineered the third largest playoff comeback in the history of the NFL on Saturday night. But that was against a team that has a history of finding ways to lose games.
This time, they will face a team that knows how to win games. These teams met earlier this season with the Chiefs winning, 27-17. Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes tossed four TD’s in the win that day. Can the Jags slow him down this time?
(3) Cincinnati Bengals at (2) Buffalo Bills
Sunday, Jan. 22, 3pm ET (CBS)
It may have taken a little over a month, but NFL fans are going to get a chance to see the Bills Bengals matchup. But it will be in the Divisional Round instead of the regular season.
Bengals fans are likely to be annoyed at the location of this game. Had Damar Hamlin’s unfortunate injury canceled that game, and the Bengals won, this game would be in Cincinnati. Instead, the Bengals head to Buffalo where the Bills are 13-1 at home in the playoffs all-time and 5-0 in the Divisional Round.
NFC Divisional Round
(6) New York Giants at (1) Philadelphia Eagles
Saturday, Jan. 21, 8:15pm ET (FOX)
The Giants are the lowest seed remaining after the opening weekend. They lost in Minneapolis four weeks ago in heartbreaking fashion. But that game clearly gave them confidence as they took it to the Vikings Sunday.
Now, they will face one of their biggest rivals, the Philadelphia Eagles. Philly will be coming off their first-round bye and will be rested. But if we have learned anything about the Giants, they will not be intimidated or scared heading on the road in this spot.
(5) Dallas Cowboys at (2) San Francisco 49ers
Sunday, Jan. 22, 6:30pm ET (FOX)
The Cowboys romped the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday night, leading to speculation about Tom Brady’s future. While Dak Prescott and the Cowboys looked great against the Buccaneers, the 49ers are a whole different animal.
People expecting Brock Purdy to show rookie jitters in his first playoff game were sorely mistaken. He once again played extremely well and is now 7-0 as a starter this season. The 49ers have a lethal running game and solid defense, making his life much easier.
All four of these games have the chance to provide fireworks. But it will be hard for the Divisional Round to top what we saw this weekend.