The dream of becoming an NFL champion is common for young athletes. Since the beginning of training, children learn consistency, determination, and persistence. Years of practice assist athletes as they hone their skills – strengthening the odds of hoisting hardware.
Four NFL franchises are now a step closer to making that dream come true for their players. An impressive divisional weekend kept fans on the edge of their seats. Losers were eliminated from the playoff bracket – sent home to watch the remaining games. A matchup between the Chiefs and Jaguars headlined an intense weekend, followed by an intense NFC East rivalry.
More NFL action continued on Sunday to conclude the divisional round. Joe Burrow and Josh Allen faced off in a highly anticipated matchup to advance. In the evening, Brock Purdy and the 49ers hosted the Cowboys in a defensive chess match.
While analysts anticipate this weekend’s results, what can we expect to see during an important weekend of football?
NFL Playoffs: What can we expect to see in the AFC Championship?
A long weekend provided answers for analysts who entered the post-season with unanswered questions. An impressive 27-20 win against Jacksonville convinced spectators that the Chiefs will be an issue for any opponent. They learned to score points without Tyreek Hill throughout the season – ranking fifth (27.0) in average points per game.
Mahomes still relies on Travis Kelce to make big plays. No.87 was too much for Jacksonville’s defense – recording two touchdowns and fourteen receptions. Achieving a win this weekend will require Kelce to have a repeat performance.
Lou Anarumo’s group performed well against Josh Allen and the Bills. Cincinnati’s defense held the Bills to 10 points and will need a great showing against arguably the best quarterback in the league. Postseason adjustments were made, and the Bengals protected the end zone well. Cincinnati’s next matchup will require the secondary to remain consistent. Patrick Mahomes is performing at an MVP level and is hungry for a Super Bowl appearance.
At the end of the season, the Bengals ranked 23rd in passing yards allowed per game (229.1). Cornerbacks Eli Apple and Mike Hilton will have their hands full with an impressive receiving core led by a talented tight end.
NFL Playoffs: What Can we expect to see in the NFC Championship?
Defensive preparations are essential this week, especially for Nick Sirianni’s squad. Philadelphia proved its defensive prowess throughout the regular season. Jonathan Gannon’s unit ranked eighth in points allowed per game (20.2) and first in average passing yards allowed (179.8). Defeating an inexperienced quarterback will send the birds to the big dance, but are the Eagles equipped to face San Francisco’s loaded roster?
Leadership in the playoffs unveils character, and Brock Purdy is the latest example. He’s started two post-season games without committing a turnover – a continuation of an impressive regular season. San Francisco relied on their seventh-round draft pick to replace Jimmy Garoppolo and Trey Lance while they nursed season-ending injuries. The odds of clinching a playoff berth behind a rookie were dismal, but assistance from role players made the task easier to accomplish.
Franchises fear Mike McDaniel’s offense for the right reasons. His scheme places athletes in space – resulting in easy points for an explosive offense. Four 49ers average more than 15 yards per reception this post-season. Deebo Samuel and George Kittle remain the primary options, creating mismatches weekly.
A trade with the Carolina Panthers added another weapon to McDaniel’s arsenal. Christian McCaffery became an additional target – accumulating 811 yards from scrimmage.
The opportunity to keep a dream alive still exists for players competing this weekend. In the AFC, Joe Burrow and the Bengals will take on the Chiefs. In Philadelphia, Jalen Hurts and the Eagles will host the San Francisco 49ers. The victor from each game will advance to Super Bowl LVII and play for a chance to make a childhood dream reality.