The road to the Super Bowl has turned another decisive and dramatic corner, the Divisional Round.
This is the weekend where the top teams (Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles) finally make their way into the NFL Playoff competition.
You could say they’ve turned up at just the right time.
Last weekend’s Wildcard Round was exciting to say the least. Jacksonville Jaguars came back from a 27-point deficit to clinch a win over the Los Angeles Chargers, by just ONE POINT!
The Jags literally made history by becoming the third team in NHL history to come back from a considerable point deficit.
Then on Monday night Tampa Bay Buccaneer fans were tearing their metaphorical hair out as the Dallas Cowboys kicked into gear and knocked Brady and the bunch out of the competition.
Immediately after the game, wild speculations began to swirl about the future of Tom Brady’s tenure as the big-cheese Quarterback of the Bucs.
These are only two of the important games which decided who’ll be in the Divisional Round this weekend but it sets up a lot of interesting matchups in the Playoffs, some long-standing feuds and a whole lot of drama to come.
Kansas City Chiefs vs Jacksonville Jaguars
The first game of the Divisional Round is going to be a particularly interesting one. These teams have faced each other only 14 times in the Regular Season of which Chiefs own eight of the games and Jags managed to win six.
As for the Playoffs, it’s going to be their first time facing off. Exciting stuff huh? Chiefs will of course deliver a spectacle of a game and they will make the Jags work hard if they’re to score points or even win.
A former Super Bowl team with Quarterback Patrick Mahomes and led by Andy Reid, this is going to be a fun matchup and a highly dangerous cocktail for Jags.
They are the team with the best stats going, with the top scoring offence and top offence in yards. These have improved greatly over the past nine weeks of the season.
Likewise in defence, the Chiefs have recorded 55 sacks and are ranked 11th for the number of defence points this season.
As the AFC South Champs, they weren’t expected to be at this stage of the competition over a month ago. They got through on the slimmest of fortunes given their 4 – 8 record and the efforts of Trevor Lawrence preventing the Jags losing further.
At the heart of this is Doug Pederson. He’s made a monumental difference on the team’s performance. He’s also going to be playing against his former coach Andy Reid on Saturday.
It’s the Jag’s first Divisional Round appearance since 2017. They have recorded 23.8 points and 357.4 yards per game in offence while only conceding 13 points in the last four games.
Philadelphia Eagles vs New York Giants
Here’s a game that pits a very well rounded team versus a scrappy underdog.
The Philadelphia Eagles have shown tremendous promise throughout the Regular Season. They earned their No.1 seed position in the NFC with 14 wins with Jalen Hurts at Quarterback.
Thanks to having the wins on their side, they could use the first-round bye to rest and recharge.
Going into Saturday, the Eagles have some impressive rankings.
They are ranked 3rd in points per game (28.1) along with yards per game (389.1) along with having a top-five rushing offence and top position for rushing touchdowns. Their possession stats are also in the top five.
Defensively, the Eagles have some impressive stats on pass defence (179.8 YPG) and 70 sacks this season.
They are a team that’s very well-rounded and they have a very good chance of going all the way.
The underdog. The New York Giants might not bring a wealth of impressive stats to the field but they do have it where it counts.
It’s offense has only two games in which it scored 30 or more points in the season and gathered an average of 21.5 points and 333.9 yards per game. Likewise, defensively, the team gave 21.8 points and 358.2 yards per game.
What’s keeping the Giants going is Daniel Jones and the coaching staff. Jones has been able to help deliver the Giants to the Divisional Round and Brian Dadoll has been tweaking the team to focus on taking down stronger opponents.
The Eagles may land but not on their feet.
Buffalo Bills vs Cincinnati Bengals
This will be a game of how quickly each team’s offence can inflict the most damage in the shortest amount of time.
The Buffalo Bills have all the makings of a Super Bowl winner and they’ve been a favorite ever since the season started.
The team has some impressive rankings for offense and yards per game; 28.8 and 399.1 respectively and a surprisingly strong point score for rushing yards (137.6) and yards per carry of 5.2.
Defensively, while their pass defence is not as strong as past seasons, they have created 27 turnovers and a top five run defence of 100.9 yards per game and 10 rushing touchdowns per game.
The Cincinnati Bengals have shown themselves to be formidable in the Regular Season and even more so now. They beat the Chiefs and Baltimore Ravens twice and it’s thanks to the likes of Joe Burrows and his playmakers Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins.
They are far from a perfect team though. They lack good run offense and pass defence. They are 6th in the league for scoring defence but they give up yards too easily.
Injuries are also an issue. Alex Cappa is a week-to-week problem and they also have the absence of La’El Collins and Jonah Williams to contend with.
San Francisco 49ers vs Dallas Cowboys
Both teams are quite evenly matched in terms of capabilities but perhaps their early success could be their biggest downfall. This will be a game to watch closely.
San Francisco 49ers are a team which can deliver per game, but the question is whether they have what it takes to be in the final?
The stepping up and success of Brock Purdy as First-String Quarterback has been astounding. Just over half of the 49ers’ wins have been with ‘Mr Irrelevant’ leading from the back and it’s resulted in 26.8 points and 365.6 yards per game.
On top of that, they’ve also averaged 175.3 rushing yards in the last six games.
Their passing defence (223.2) is lacking in comparison to their defence points and yards; 16.3 and 300.6 respectively. However, they have the capability to swipe the ball back and that’s clear from the 20 they’ve recorded throughout the season.
Could they be Super Bowl champs? Potentially is as far as we can authoritatively say.
When Dak Prescott isn’t turning the ball over or the offence isn’t struggling to find a flow with the ball, Dallas Cowboys look worthy of going further.
They have a very dangerous run game from Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard despite only having 4.3 yards per carry and middle of the road yards per possession. They have 275 offensive points and 354.9 yards per game.
They have managed a staggering 24 rushing touchdowns and their redzone scoring is 71.4, the best in the NFL currently.
Their run defence is a weakness though. They’ve only managed 96.8 yards per game in the last four, something critical when Cowboys have a problem tackling.
The question is now if their problems will result in their exit.
What happens next?
Let’s catch all of the action that the NFL Divisional Round has to offer and we’ll be keeping you up to date on how it goes.