The NFL is down to four teams, but regardless of who wins next week, Super Bowl LVII is already shaping up to be a beauty.
The Kansas City Chiefs, as expected, pushed past a valiant Jacksonville Jaguars side to reach their fifth consecutive AFC title game with a 27-20 win in the Divisional Round.
Patrick Mahomes became the first quarterback in NFL history to lead his team to five straight conference championship games before turning 30 years old. However, whether or not Mahomes is there to play it remains to be seen.
Chiefs’ QB Patrick Mahomes will undergo an MRI on Sunday to gain further clarity on the ankle injury he suffered during Saturday‘a Divisional Playoff win over the Jaguars, per source. Initial X-rays on Mahomes’ ankle were negative.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 22, 2023
Mahomes finished up with 195 yards and two touchdowns as he hobbled around the field after missing most of the second quarter with his 75-yard touchdown drive in the 4th quarter setting the table for the win. While the initial x-rays on his ankle were negative, expect the Chiefs to keep as quiet as they can about his injury throughout the week.
The Jaguars keeping it close isn’t a huge surprise for those following the trends. Doug Pederson is now 7-0 against the spread as an underdog in the playoffs. However, they weren’t much of a chance at winning straight up while losing the time of possession and turnover battle against the Chiefs of all teams. The encouraging result ended an impressive season for the Jaguars who will be looking for more when it all kicks off again for 2023-24.
It all came crashing down for the New York Giants in the Divisional Round. A large chunk of the fan base took pleasure in the doubters and welcomed the lack of faith in their team. However, the game played out as many expected it would with the Philadelphia Eagles doing it easily to win 38-7.
The win acted as a timely reminder for those that needed it that the Eagles are really, really good with Jalen Hurts on the field. They have played 16 games this season with their first-choice quarterback under centre. Philly has now won 15 of them…
Yeah like they were saying. Anybody would look great at QB for the Eagles.. yeah ooook. HATERS MAN!! Jalen Hurts is SPECIAL. 🤡’s
— LeBron James (@KingJames) January 22, 2023
Philadelphia cruised early in this one. Four of their first five drives of 75, 52, 63 and 72 yards ended with touchdowns. While we saw one of the great NFL comebacks by the Jaguars in the Wild Card Round, the Eagles never looked like they would let the Giants back into this one.
While Hurts’ performance under an injury cloud is the major focus post-game, the Eagles defence is what appeals most to their $3.75 to win the Super Bowl. They kept the Giants to just 64 yards and three first downs in the first half. and finished the job from there.
There is no clear favourite for Super Bowl LVII right now. Despite not being a huge part of the conversation before now, the Eagles are finally starting to make significant waves as contenders.
Burrow Bests Allan
The Cincinnati Bengals are back in the AFC Championship Game following a fairly comprehensive 27-10 win over the Buffalo Bills.
Joe Burrow threw two touchdown passes but it’s the Bengals defence that deserves the credit. They swarmed Josh Allen and barely gave him a chance to pass or run the Bills into the game.
You’d think the snow and home crowd advantage might make things difficult for the Bengals early on – not so.
Bengals' first 52 seasons: 5 playoff wins.
Bengals in Joe Burrow's first 3 years: 5 playoff wins.
Last year, Burrow told me over and over again that the old Bengals were dead and gone. He was right. This isn't some underdog story anymore.
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) January 22, 2023
Burrow connected with eight different receivers before halftime. He dominated from start to finish and the Bengals cruised through to another date with the Chiefs.
When asked about what the championship game might bring:
“Two of the top guys in the league and two of the top teams in the league.”
Chiefs (-1.5) v Bengals is going to be a good one.
A lot of low-scoring football games are covered as defensive battles but are more down to poor offences than anything else. This game wasn’t one of them. As Dak Prescott struggled and Brock Purdy finally started to show the odd trait of a rookie quarterback, the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys defences dominated.
They mentioned in the broadcast at halftime that we’d seen “the good Dak and the bad Dak”.
Against this San Francisco 49ers defence, the Dallas Cowboys couldn’t afford too many appearances from the Bad Dak if they were to cause an upset. Prescott threw two picks in the first half. However, the Cowboys defence pressured Brock Purdy 11 times (the most in his NFL career) to put a stop to the 49ers offence making the most of Prescott’s misses. We’d mentioned that the Cowboys couldn’t afford for Brett Maher to continue struggling, and when he missed his sixth PAT in his last seven attempts, things just didn’t seem to be going the right way for Dallas.
The second half played out similarly to the first. Defence dominated and Prescott struggled to have an impact. Handed what some considered a career-defining drive for Prescott in the dying stages, the Cowboys went three-and-out before punting the ball away just before the two-minute warning.
That's a terrible spot for the Cowboys to go for it, but it's the best of two terrible options. Do you really expect to stop this Niners team from getting first downs here?
— Daman Rangoola (@damanr) January 23, 2023
A poor decision from Elijah Mitchell and Arik Armstead’s refusal to smash Prescott late gave the Cowboys one last chance to win it. With Ezekiel Elliott at centre (potentially his last play as a Cowboy) and Mike McCarthy looking for a hail mary, the 49ers covered the last-gasp effort with embarrassing ease to secure the 19-12 win.
Notably, the 49ers are 10-2 against the spread throughout this 11-game winning streak.
They now prepare to face the Eagles as $2.12 and +2.5 underdogs.
Points At A Premium
“Everybody loves seeing the points pile up and we weren’t short of those either. Five of the six games finished Over the total this week.” – Wild Card Round In Review
It all changed this week, though…
Unders go 4-0 in the Divisional Round
— Ben Fawkes (@BFawkes22) January 23, 2023
As a result, this became the first divisional round where there wasn’t a single lead change in any game in 24 years.
NFL Super Bowl LVII Odds
We’re checking in on the changes in the Super Bowl LVII Odds from Wild Card Round to the Divisional Round.
And then there were four…
As the odds suggest, Super Bowl LVII is already looking like it will be a ripper regardless of which two teams advance next week.
Top 10 Odds
|TEAM||WILD CARD ROUND PRICE||DIVISIONAL ROUND PRICE|
|Kansas City Chiefs||$3.75||$3.50|
|San Francisco 49ers||$5.50||$4|