Bengals and Rams finish strong in NFL Power Rankings
Evan McPherson’s 20-yard field goal against Kansas City secured a division title and a third seed in the AFC. Joe Burrow showed that Cincinnati is safe at quarterback for years to come. Ja’Marr Chase is clearly the offensive rookie of the year. Zac Taylor is no longer a hot-seat candidate, and everything feels good., despite losing to the Browns in the season finale.
But now they have to face a resilient Raiders team, who has overcome so much adversity this season. They have a magic carpet ride arriving in the jungle, which begs the question of just what will it take for Cincinnati to overcome their playoff demons.
Marvin Lewis has brought this franchise to the postseason several times but never won a game, so Taylor’s troops know what’s at stake. If they play as they did against Kansas City to win the division, this team has the potential to make noise in the playoffs.
Matthew Stafford struggled. The defense struggled. The home fans struggled. It was not the day for the Rams, but because the Cardinals lost, LA wins the NFC West and will host the birds at home in the playoffs. LA is looking to host the Super Bowl and play in it. But to do so, they will have to win a home playoff game and then go on the road for likely the rest of the way.
But they have Aaron Donald, and he needs no explanation as to who he is. Plus, Von Miller is getting up to speed. The loss of Jordan Fuller will hurt, but Raheem Morris’ players know what is expected of them.
The questions turn to whether or not Stafford can win a playoff game. Also, how effective will Odell Beckham Jr perform in the playoffs this time around? There’s no boat trip involved unless the Rams happen to hoist the Lombardi trophy and decide to host a boat parade themselves.