NFC Divisional Round Results By John Brecko

Image Credit: Fox Sports

 

The Divisional Round of the playoffs this season have officially come to a close. Four out of 32 teams remain with one more round of playoff games to go until Super Bowl 55, where two teams will face off. In the end, only one team full of players can put their fingerprints on the Lombardi trophy.

The first team to advance was the Green Bay Packers. The Los Angeles Rams did their best to pull off the upset, but could not walk out of Lambeau Field with a victory. The Packers prevailed by a score of 32-18.

The score was 19-10 going into halftime. Throughout the game, it felt like every time Aaron Rodgers tried to put the game out of reach, Jared Goff would lead his team down the field and score. Despite being sacked four times, Goff preformed admirably completing 21 of 27 passes for a touchdown despite being less than 100 percent. However, Aaron Rodgers just played too far above his competition for the Rams to overcome.

Aaron Donald did not play for close to half of the game because of his rib injury. Despite the convincing victory from the Packers, it is hard to believe the Packers would still have picked up nearly 500 total yards of offense in this game with Donald at his best.

The Packers will go on to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who prevailed in their Sunday night game against the New Orleans Saints by a score of 30-20.

With this game potentially being the last one of Drew Brees’s career, this may not be the finale he would have imagined. However, this was the most exciting game in this round of the playoffs, with the score 23-20 deep into the fourth quarter before Tom Brady could finally lead his team down the field and put the game out of reach for the 42 year old quarterback of the Saints.

The Bucs defense also came up big, shutting Michael Thomas out for the entire game and coming up with three interceptions. The young defense in Tampa Bay has shown that they have talent on both sides of the ball all year long and the defense will need to step up again against Aaron Rodgers next week.

Aaron Rodgers has only thrown for five interceptions in the entire regular season this year. Two of those interceptions were against the Bucs. That will not happen against the same team a second time in a row.

Tampa Bay has a chance to win in the NFC Championship Game and go to the Super Bowl from there. However, it will take everyone on Tampa’s team to step up, including Tom Brady.

Tom Brady threw for 199 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions, which are decent numbers, but even with his team’s defense playing well as of this past Sunday, that may not be enough against an Aaron Rodgers led team, especially if the Packer defense can get pressure on Brady the way they did on Jared Goff.

Tom Brady is capable of having a big game along with the rest of his team in the NFC Championship Game and history has shown that he can have a big game when he needs to, but the question still needs to be asked if he will or not before the game takes place.

In the end, Tom Brady will make plays when called upon to do so in this game and make sure this game is down to the wire, showing why he is the GOAT. However, Aaron Rodgers will also show everyone watching why he has been considered the most talented passer of his generation for years now. Aaron Rodgers will show everyone that it is not a fluke that he played his best season, throwing for 48 touchdowns while counting the picks he has thrown on one hand. Aaron Rodgers will win in his fifth NFC Championship game appearance and make it to his second Super Bowl (his first in ten seasons).

The most surprising defensive performance of this weekend is the Buffalo Bills holding the Baltimore Ravens to just three points all game. It’s less surprising that they won, but no defense did a better job at shutting down a team’s offense than the defense led by Leslie Frazier.

The Bills defense won by daring Lamar Jackson to throw the football and even though Lamar would make throws every now and then, he could not make enough of the throws he needed to make in this game.

Buffalo’s defense capped off their performance with a pick-six that was returned from their end zone to Baltimore’s end zone.

After only putting up three points in a postseason game, one has to wonder if Lamar Jackson has truly silenced his critics about being able to perform in important games.

When the Bills play next Sunday, they play against a team who is known to perform well under pressure. They also will not be playing on their home turf because the road to the Super Bowl is still through Kansas City.

Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs did what they seem to do in almost every game this season. Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs found a way to win yet another game, defeating the Cleveland Browns by a score of 22-17.

Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid has now helped take his team to a third straight AFC Championship home game. The last time a team did that was from 2002-2004. That team was the Philadelphia Eagles when their Head Coach was Andy Reid. Reid also won in his third straight NFC Championship home game and went to the Super Bowl that season. His team would ultimately fall to Brady, Belichick and the New England Patriots by a score of 24-21 in that game, but he also was not playing with Patrick Mahomes at the quarterback position.

Patrick Mahomes was taken out of the game due to an injury (possibly a concussion), but is expected to recover in about five to seven days. This means that he would likely miss practice all week, but he would also likely be back on the field next week.

As well as Josh Allen has played this year and the confidence his team clearly displays in him, with last week being a prime example with the first 15 plays being pass players in below freezing temperatures, the Chiefs may need Mahomes to pull out a win.

Patrick Mahomes’s health is more important than this upcoming game, but whether he plays or not may be the difference in this game.

Either way, the Chiefs will win against the Bills. Right now, each player and coach has an unshakeable confidence in their team as a whole. The Bills will be a tough matchup against the Chiefs in this year’s AFC Championship game, especially since the Bills are coming in with something to prove after losing to the Chiefs in week 6. However, the Chiefs, Andy Reid, Eric Bieniemy, Steve Spagnuolo, whoever is at quarterback at 6:40 p.m. on Sunday and every other player on offense or defense will find a way when it matters most.

The conference championship round of the playoffs in the NFL’s 2020 season should the two most exciting games that we have seen in the playoffs so far. The stories going in make it seem that way as well. Either way, only one team can call themselves “champion” after Super Bowl 55. After next week, there will be two.

 

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