Road to the Super Bowl

An analysis of the Playoffs

Alex Kern

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Another entertaining year of the NFL Playoffs is in progress. Although this season’s playoffs has been eventful, it has also been pretty predictable. All teams that received a first-round loss advanced to their conference championship, which means there were no upsets this year in the Divisional rounds. Nonetheless, most of the games were very competitive and some came down to the very last minute.

If the current trend continues, the Super Bowl is shaping up to be a matchup between the Rams and the Chiefs, which has already been played this season and is regarded as one of the best regular season NFL games of all time. However, these teams definitely have work to do to get in the biggest game in the US.

The NFC Wildcard games did not disappoint at all, as the two Wildcard games were decided by a combined three points. The Cowboys were able to beat the Seahawks 24-22 to give Dak Prescott his first playoff win. The game was mainly decided by Prescott’s tough first down run on 3rd and 14 in the final minutes.

“Those two runs Dak made to the goal line were sensational. I think he’s a winner and just a mentally tough guy,” said Calvin Hill, former Cowboys star.

However, Dallas couldn’t outlast the 13 and 3 Rams in the Divisional round, losing 30-22. The Rams have been one of the favorites to win the Super Bowl since the start of the season. They will play the equally powerful Saints in the NFC Championship. But perhaps the best game in the NFC was the Wildcard game between the Eagles and the Bears. With the Bears down by one with 10 seconds left, Bears kicker Cody Parkey missed the 43-yard field goal that would have won the game. The kick bounced off the upright and the goalpost before finally bouncing out.

The AFC has not had as many close games as the NFC but has still had its fair share of moments. It started with the red hot Colts upsetting the Texans, shutting them out for three quarters in the 21-7 win. The Colts moved on to face the top-seeded Kansas City Chiefs. Kansas City is historically known for losing big playoff games, as they were 1-10 in their last 11 playoff games according to Sports Reference. They didn’t disappoint this time, winning 31-13 and advancing to their first AFC Championship since 1993. Unfortunately for the Chiefs, they will face Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.

The Pats dominated the very strong LA Chargers and are playing in their seventh straight AFC Championship according to NFL.com. They have also played in three of the last four Super Bowls. CBS commentator Jim Nantz framed the Chiefs-Pats matchup as “the legend vs the phenom,” referring to 41-year-old Patriots QB Tom Brady as the “legend” and 23-year-old Chiefs Quarterback Patrick Mahomes as the “phenom.” The Patriots won the regular season matchup with the Chiefs 43-40 in the final seconds.

“They gave us everything we could handle in October. They’re well coached with a good offense and their defense played well against the Colts. It’s going to be fun to play them in the championship game,” Brady said. The line has the Chiefs by three to advance to the Super Bowl.

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