Wild, Wild Card Weekend Sets Up Incredible Divisional Round Matchups
By Liz Bhandari
The Wild Card Weekend didn't disappoint. There were upsets, incredible comebacks, excellent storylines and more as we tread into the next week of NFL playoff football. There's still a lot left to unpack before these Divisional games take off, so let's save time.
The first matchup will be between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Kansas City Chiefs on Saturday. The Jaguars, led by the young phenom Trevor Lawrence, got a little lucky last week. Lawrence threw four interceptions, but the team clawed back from a 27-point hole to beat the Los Angeles Chargers. Lawrence and the Jaguars will take their inexperience into Arrowhead to face the top-seeded Chiefs. Patrick Mahomes and company got a week off and should be more prepared than ever to take on the young Jaguars. Mahomes is also one of those quarterbacks that is nearly impossible for opposing teams to stop. He's going to rack up points, and the Jaguars must keep up. Turning the ball over like they just did will set them up for a playoff exit sooner rather than later.
The game following this is between divisional rivals. The New York Giants will be taking on the Philadelphia Eagles here. The Giants were expected to win around 2-5 games this season, yet here they are with a new head coach. A massive upset over the Minnesota Vikings on the road in the Wild Card should give them tremendous hope for what's to come as they get an Eagles team waiting. Philly has been playing their worst football lately. However, some was because Jalen Hurts was injured down the stretch. He's going to be fully healthy here. One concern for them is that the Giant's backups took their season finale against the Eagles down to the wire while Philadelphia played their starters all night to secure the top seed. New York could cause some havoc in the NFC; I'd pay attention to this matchup.
Then on Sunday, we kick the day off with the matchup between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Buffalo Bills. The last time these guys met was a few weeks ago, and Bills safety Damar Hamlin went down with a devastating injury on the field. The game was called off, and now the results will be felt. Buffalo gets a home-field advantage because of that cancellation, but even with that, it will be hard for both teams. Going out on the field again against one another after such a traumatic event a few weeks ago won't be easy. There'll be a lot of preparation and talk about this matchup leading up to the game. Not to mention that both teams are coming off close games that everybody expected them to dominate leading into the week.
Finally, we come to the Dallas Cowboys and the San Francisco 49ers. The Cowboys got five touchdowns out of Dak Prescott as they knocked Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers out of the postseason. Prescott might have a different type of performance again when going against the top-ranked defense in the league. We can't forget that the 49ers have seemingly scored nearly 40 points per game down the stretch of the season with Brock Purdy under centre with these weapons. This team has a lot of confidence and faith in their quarterback. Dallas will find this one challenging.
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