NFL Playoffs begin

NFL Playoffs


As the historic 2021 NFL regular season comes to an end, we are now greeted with the long-awaited playoffs!

The first round of the playoffs starts this weekend to see who can move forward, eventually to Super Bowl LVI, which’ll be played at the new SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, CA on Sunday, February 3, 2022.

There’s some great competition this year and we’ll be taking a deeper dive into who’s playing and what is to be expected by each and every team that’s made it this far.

Now I wouldn’t be giving credit where its due if I didn’t start off with our hometown heroes, the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals have surpassed the odds this season after many people believed wouldn’t bounce back after their 4-11-1 record for the 2020 season. With Joe Burrow coming off ACL surgery during the off season, expectations seemed minimal.

During the offseason Burrow stated, “I expect to be better. I put in a lot of work this offseason that I’m excited to show off, as well as all of our guys have. We’re a much better football team that has prepared the way we need to and understands how to win games now, I think.”

With the start of the 2021 season Joe Burrow seemed healthy as ever and zoned in to give the AFC North a ‘run for their money’, although initially with a shaky start for the team losing 2 of their first 3 games.

Bouncing back the Bengals pulled off a 10-7 record for the season. Burrow found his new favorite target along the way, the star-studded rookie WR, Ja’Marr Chase.

With Chase’s amazing season having nearly 1,500 receiving yards and 13 TD’s, he is definitely in the conversation for Rookie of the Year.

On that note, the Bengals are scheduled to play the dangerous Las Vegas Raiders at Paul Brown Stadium this Saturday, January 15, at 4:30pm to see if they can finally break the curse of Bo Jackson.

The Raiders had a rough start to their season with head coach Jon Gruden being fired after controversial allegations surfaced in an old email. The organization worked with what they had and appointed assistant coach Rich Bisaccia to temporarily fill the shoes of Gruden for the remainder of the season.

Bouncing back, they finished with a 10-7 record similar to the Bengals and legendary Bill Belichick’s New England Patriots, who just always seem to pull something off.

With Belichick’s coaching for the Patriots, they were able to bounce back from a losing 7-9 season. Rookie QB, Mac Jones, took up his role in turning the Pats around, having a very solid rookie season. Mac Jones and Ja’Marr Chase are neck to neck in Rookie of the Year running, both over performing expectations.

The Patriots are scheduled to play the Buffalo Bills in Buffalo on Saturday, January 15 at 8:15pm. Buffalo will surely be a tough game for the Patriots.

The Bills ended the season with an 11-6 record, to add to their 3-year positive record streak with QB Josh Allen at the helm.   Though this year he reached a career high interception total with 15 on the season.

On Sunday, January 16 games start with the Philadelphia Eagles vs. the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 1:00pm.

Philadelphia Eagles QB Jalen Hurts led his team to a 9-8 season, yet with a slim chance for a Super Bowl run with playing the notorious Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the opener.

The powerhouse and reigning Super Bowl champs, Tampa Bay, led by legend, Tom Brady, walk with the swagger that they will surely breeze through the Eagles. The Bucs, with all their talent, ended the season with a 13-4 record and look to make their way to the Super Bowl once again.

Following this game on Sunday, January 16, the San Francisco 49ers play at AT&T Stadium against the Cowboys at 4:30pm.

Odds are stacked against San Francisco who have been deciding between starting either QB Jimmy Garoppolo or QB Trey Lance, giving the start to Garoppolo. The 49ers barely pulling off a 10-7 record under their young talented head coach Kyle Shanahan, son of the legendary Mike Shanahan.

Dallas, on the other hand, has had one of their most dominant seasons in the past few years with a 12-5 record. Dak Prescott has had a great impact on their success, coming off his gruesome ankle injury the season prior, having nearly 4,500 passing yards and 37 TDs. The Super Bowl is within reach to Cowboys fans and the teams attitude says so.

Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones believes its either Super Bowl or bust, “No in between.”

The Pittsburgh Steelers are scheduled to play at the insanely loud Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City against the Chiefs Sunday, January 16, at 8:15pm.

Steelers hanging onto the hopes of a playoff run by a thread, barely beating the Ravens week 18, 16-13 in overtime, ending the regular season with a 9-7-1 record.

QB Ben Roethlisberger continues his clutch streak when it matters, although having easily his least productive season in recent years. Throwing for his lowest total of 3,740 yards in his past eight healthy seasons, Steelers fans yet keeping the faith alive for Big Ben’s last hurrah.

Kansas City will surely be a tough matchup for the Steelers.

The Chiefs finished the regular season with a cool 12-5 record looking to make their way to the Super Bowl once again.

Head coach Andy Reid believes their playoff matchup is a good fit. “I think they’re playing well together,” Reid said. “I think they’re doing a nice job with that. Ben’s playing well. The runner’s running well. The offensive line’s doing a nice job, and Pittsburgh’s always good on that defensive side. They fly around. They’ve got some all-star players on that side of the ball that do really well. Their wide receivers are very good too on the offensive side. They’re a good football team. They’re well-coached and the organization with the Rooney family is strong. It’s been strong for so many years.”

Lastly, Monday, January 17, the Arizona Cardinals are scheduled to play the self-proclaimed Los Angeles Rams.

Cardinals have had a quite dominant season, ending with an 11-6 regular season record. A good bit of that was due to their third year QB Kyler Murray that led them to this spot in the playoffs.

Murray with his career high CMP% of 69.2 and a career INT low of 10 on the season. Murray’s brute leadership has helped the team stay focused and on task, leading up to what they’ve been working for, the playoffs.

The Rams on the other hand with their new addition at QB, Matthew Stafford.   They’ve become nothing short of outstanding, finishing the regular season with a well-deserved 12-5 record.

Head coach Sean McVay has structured the team’s offense to fit Stafford’s aggressive style and it has excelled greatly. Stafford ends third in the league for passing yards with 4,886 for the regular season and second in TDs with an outstanding 41.

Not only has Stafford blown away Rams fans and teammates, but McVay as well. “He has been better than I thought, and I thought he was going to be really good,” McVay said. “I’ve been really impressed with his body of work and his resume over the course of his career. I think he’s doing a great job. I think the best players elevate those around them. I think guys are playing better around him. I think he’s seeing the field really well.”

The remained of the post season will only be determined by the best of the best at what they do, to see who take a spot in the long awaited Super Bowl LVI.