We are deep into the NFL post-season, where the battle for the ultimate Super Bowl title is narrowing with every passing weekend.
The divisional round playoffs went down on Saturday and Sunday, where two matches were played each day. Half of the teams advanced to the Conference Championships, while the others bid goodbye to the contest. A loss in a playoff game is a direct elimination.
The Jacksonville Jaguars @ Kansas City Chiefs opened the weekend on Saturday, followed by the Philadelphia Eagles @ New York Giants later in the day. On Sunday, we started with Buffalo Bills @ Cincinnati Bengals, and last, the Dallas Cowboys @ San Francisco 49ers completed the divisional round.
Divisional Round results
- Jacksonville Jaguars 20 @ 27 Kansas City Chiefs
- New York Giants 7 @ 38 Philadelphia Eagles
- Cincinnati Bengals 27 @ 10 Buffalo Bills
- Dallas Cowboys 12 @ 19 San Francisco 49ers
Let’s take a little look at each of the divisional round games in more detail:
Jaguars @ Chiefs
The Kansas City Chiefs advanced to the Conference Championships for the fifth successive season with a hard-fought victory against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the divisional round. The Chiefs join the Oakland Raiders (the 1970s) and the New England Patriots as the only teams that have made five straight championship games.
Many expected the Chiefs to have it easy. However, that was not the case, with Patrick Mahomes missing a significant part of the first half after suffering an ankle injury. He shook off the setback to return in the second half to guide his team to victory.
By doing so, Mahomes created history by becoming the first under-thirty quarterback to guide his team to five championship games. In this game, he registered 195 yards with two touchdowns. Chiefs’ receiver TE Travis Kelce threw 98 yards and two touchdowns, the highest among the receivers.
RB Isiah Pacheco also registered a touchdown, with backup quarterback Chad Henne playing crucial with 98 yards after the exit of Mahomes in the first half.
The Chiefs will battle out with the Bengals in the conference championship on Sunday.
Giants @ Eagles
The Eagles had a smooth ride in this divisional round game, dominating every match phase where they showed their winning intent from their first touchdown.
Quarterback Jalen Hurts was effective in this game, making plays when it mattered and finishing with 154 yards and two touchdowns. RB Kenneth Gainewell registered 112 yards and one touchdown; Miles Sunders had 90, Hurts 34, and Boston Scott 32.
The Francisco 49ers are the Eagles’ opponents in the Conference Championship stage.
Bengals @ Bills
The Bengals were the favourites in this divisional round game, and rightly so being in great form. But few thought they could win it in the manner that they did. They were the dominant team throughout the game, and once they took the initial lead, they didn’t look back.
Bengals’ QB Joe Burrow was unfazed by the Bills’ hostile crowd and snowfall. He registered 242 yards with two touchdowns and had a lot of help from running back Joe Mixon, who had 105 rushing yards and a touchdown. Wide receiver Ja’ Marr Chase led the receivers with 61 yards.
The Bengals’ defence dominated the Bills’ offence for most of the game. They contained Josh Allen in the game and limited Stefon Diggs to 35 yards.
The divisional round win earned the Bengals a visit to Kansas City to face the Chiefs in the upcoming AFC conference championship game.
Cowboys @ 49ers
This was the most contested game of the divisional round weekend, and in the end, the 49ers continued to defy the odds and advance to the NFC conference championship game.
49ers rookie quarterback Brock Purdy who registered 214 yards in this game, now has 7 – 0 in his last seven appearances – an excellent record for a rookie.
George Kittle finished with 95 yards, and RB Elijah Mitchel contributed 51 yards earning the 49ers a trip to the Eagles for the NFC conference championship match.
The 49ers’ defence was highly instrumental in the win forcing interceptions and limiting the Cowboys’ offence.
The NFL conference championship matchups look as follows:
49ers @ Eagles
This game will present top-notch talents against each other in the battle for the Super Bowl title. The Eagles’ offensive versatility can be vital to winning this game; however, they have the first to contain 49ers, Brock Purdy. Dallas somehow succeeded in pressuring Purdy though it was not enough.
Philadelphia will also depend on Quarterback Jalen Hurts to cause havoc on Francisco’s defence.
We have this as an Eagles win!
Bengals @ Chiefs
The Bengals will seek to continue with their excellent record against the Chiefs, whom they beat in their last three meetings. However, they cannot take chances and are wary of the Chiefs’ top form this season.
The Chiefs will be hoping for a fully fit Patrick Mahomes, who missed a significant part of the first half in their last match through a shoulder injury.
We think an upset could be on the cards and expect the Bengals to go all the way.
Both matches will be played on Sunday, January 29.
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