It’s down to the final eight when it comes to deciding which two teams will square off in Super Bowl LVII at Glendale, Arizona.
The four-club field in the AFC has the top four seeds still in the running and all come into the weekend riding substantial winning streaks. Meanwhile, the other conference features the San Francisco 49ers and three-quarters of the NFC East.
A year ago, the Tennessee Titans and Green Bay Packers were the AFC’s and NFC’s top playoff seeds, respectively. Both clubs lost in the first round.
NOTE: Win-loss records include playoffs
Saturday, Jan. 21
Jacksonville (10-8) at Kansas City (14-3): These teams met in Week 10 at Arrowhead Stadium and the Chiefs escaped with a 27-17 victory. Andy Reid’s team opened up a 20-0 second-quarter lead and quarterback Patrick Mahomes finished the game with 331 yards through the air and four touchdowns. While the Chiefs rolled up 486 total yards, they also turned over the football three times. It’s safe to say that Doug Pederson is more than familiar with Reid and vice versa, and the Jaguars actually gave up fewer points than the AFC West champion Chiefs.
N.Y. Giants (10-7-1) at Philadelphia (14-3): When was the last time a team defeated another team three times in a season? Last Saturday, the San Francisco 49ers completed the hat trick of the Seattle Seahawks. For much of the season, the Philadelphia Eagles had done an excellent job of taking care of the football. Nick Sirianni’s squad turned over the ball 16 times in their final nine games after giving up the ball just three times during its 8-0 start. The Giants gave up the ball an NFL-high 30 turnovers in 2021 to just 16 turnovers in 18 overall contests this year.
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Cincinnati (13-4) at Buffalo (14-3): Talk about two hot football teams? The Bengals made it nine straight wins last week in edging out the rival Ravens. Sean McDermott’s AFC East champions played sloppy football but won its eighth consecutive games in holding off the Dolphins. The key here could be the Cincinnati offense, which finished 29th in the league in rushing yards per game and will be down three starters on the offensive line. Quarterback Josh Allen had all three of Buffalo’s turnovers last week. The club has given up the football 30 times in 18 contests.
Dallas (12-5) at San Francisco (14-4): Dallas Cowboys’ quarterback Dak Prescott comes off a strong performance in the team’s wild card rout of the Buccaneers. Perhaps most significantly, Mike McCarthy’s club played turnover-free football at Tampa. Dan Quinn’s defensive unit held the Bucs to 52 yards on the ground, but keep in mind that Tampa Bay finished dead last in the league in rushing yards per game. Meanwhile, the 49ers finished eighth in the NFL with 138.8 yards per game on the ground and added 181 rushing yards in the wild card win over Seattle.