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Overreactions, actuality checks for NFL divisional spherical: Bengals save NFL? Cowboys transfer on from Dak Prescott?


An thrilling weekend of divisional playoff soccer has come to an in depth, with the Philadelphia Eagles squaring off in opposition to the San Francisco 49ers within the NFC Championship Sport and the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs internet hosting the Cincinnati Bengals within the AFC Championship Sport.

The NFL has the 2 greatest groups within the NFC all season lengthy for the appropriate to go to the Tremendous Bowl and a rematch of final 12 months’s AFC title sport between two of the convention’s greatest quarterbacks as a nightcap. Subsequent Sunday would be the NFL at its best.

Earlier than we glance too far forward to the matchups, the divisional spherical offered loads of overreactions that have to be addressed this week. Which of them are overreactions and that are actuality checks?

The Bengals saved convention championship weekend

Overreaction or actuality: actuality

Let’s be sincere. The NFL was salivating on the prospect of a neutral-site championship sport between the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs and Buffalo Payments. Having 50,000 bought tickets for Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta filled with Chiefs and Payments followers may have set the stage for future neutral-site convention championship video games, which might have occurred if the Payments beat the Bengals.

The NFL won’t ever get the beta take a look at they wished, due to Cincinnati trouncing Buffalo in Orchard Park. If the NFL ever goes to neutral-site convention championship video games, the league could have no visible proof of an precise sport to make it occur.

Thank the Bengals for making {that a} actuality. The world won’t ever know what a neutral-site championship sport will appear like.

Overreaction or actuality: Overreaction

Prescott wasn’t good in Sunday’s loss to the 49ers, finishing 23 of 37 passes for 206 yards with one landing to 2 interceptions (63.6 score). This was simply one other poor divisional spherical efficiency from Prescott, who nonetheless has but to steer the Cowboys to a convention championship sport.

This efficiency cannot be all on Prescott, because the Cowboys had simply 76 speeding yards and three.5 yards per carry. As soon as Dallas misplaced Tony Pollard with a excessive ankle sprain, the offense scored simply six factors on six second half possessions together with 146 yards on 33 performs (4.4 yards per play).

Prescott wasn’t nice within the second half both, going 11 of 21 for 125 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions (70.5 score). He did not do something to will the Cowboys to victory within the playoffs, not what Dallas is paying him $40 million a 12 months for.

On the finish of the day, the Cowboys can be caught with Prescott’s contract. Prescott nonetheless provides them their greatest probability to win, as proprietor/normal supervisor Jerry Jones will attempt to tinker the salary-inflated roster or discover a new coach to get essentially the most out of Prescott (though Jones says McCarthy’s job is protected).

The tip outcome could be the identical anyway.

Brock Purdy will battle in opposition to Eagles move rush

Overreaction or actuality: actuality

Purdy was not nice when going through stress in Sunday’s win, going simply 3 of 11 for twenty-four yards with a 39.6 passer score. When Purdy was blitzed, he completed 3 of 6 for 38 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions and a 70.1 passer score.

The Cowboys had been capable of get stress on Purdy all through the sport, regardless of solely having two sacks and 4 quarterback hits. That was sufficient to rattle Purdy and get him off his spot, limiting the 49ers offense to only 19 factors (averaged 34.8 factors per sport within the six prior video games with Purdy).

Purdy deserves quite a lot of credit score for not making the essential mistake Prescott made, which is why the 49ers are advancing. He’ll be going through the Eagles move rush subsequent week, the one with 75 sacks this season (together with postseason). If Purdy continues the turnover-free soccer, his numbers in opposition to stress wo n’t matter as a lot.

Regardless, the Eagles move rush would be the greatest move rush Purdy has confronted all 12 months — and he confronted one Sunday.

Joe Burrow is the very best quarterback within the AFC

Overreaction or actuality: Overreaction

This might simply be a actuality, particularly since Burrow continues to exhibit his mastery of the Chiefs and Payments. Burrow led the Bengals into Buffalo — within the snow — and dominated the Payments, finishing 23 of 36 passes for 242 yards with two touchdowns and 0 interceptions (101.9 score). Burrow has extra playoff wins (5) than every other quarterback within the NFL during the last two years, and he is solely in his third season within the league.

So why is not Burrow the very best quarterback? He is 3-0 in opposition to Patrick Mahomes in his profession and has by no means misplaced to the Chiefs, beating them within the AFC Championship Sport in Kansas Metropolis final 12 months. Burrow has crushed Josh Allen on the street within the playoffs together with Mahomes. He is by no means misplaced an AFC playoff sport.

Mahomes is ready to win his second league MVP, has a Tremendous Bowl title, and has led Kansas Metropolis to the convention championship sport in 5 consecutive seasons — all at dwelling. He’ll be the primary quarterback to win two MVPs and win a Tremendous Bowl title earlier than turning 30.

If Burrow beats Mahomes subsequent week, he’ll have the title of the AFC’s greatest quarterback for a very long time. He is already on his strategy to legendary standing regardless.

Shedding Von Miller was the demise blow for the Payments season

Overreaction or actuality: actuality

The Payments introduced in Miller for these key postseason moments, getting the essential stress on a Patrick Mahomes and Joe Burrow that would ship Buffalo to the Tremendous Bowl. Miller by no means received a possibility to play within the postseason (torn ACL), and the Payments’ move rush suffered.

Buffalo wasn’t good at getting the quarterback down the stretch and that confirmed in Sunday’s divisional spherical loss to Cincinnati. The Payments had simply 12 pressures and a sack on Burrow, which is not good contemplating the Bengals began two backup tackles and a backup proper guard (3/5 of their offensive line had been reserves).

Burrow was barely hit within the sport (simply 3 times) and had a comparatively straightforward day within the pocket. The Payments weren’t even attending to Burrow many of the afternoon, permitting him to dictate the sport and join on a number of large performs. Even worse, the Payments had been dominated in run protection by that makeshift line as Cincinnati rushed for 172 yards and averaged 5.1 yards per carry.

There are lots of considerations with this Payments group, however this group wanted Miller to make a deep postseason run. The move rush was nearly nonexistent since Miller was misplaced for the 12 months.

Lane Johnson is the actual key to the Eagles Tremendous Bowl hopes

Overreaction or actuality: actuality

This is not near a slight on Jalen Hurts, who’s 15-1 in his final 16 video games and a top-five quarterback within the league. Hurts shoulder was “ok” that it wasn’t even a priority heading into the Eagles’ first playoff sport because the No.1 seed. The Eagles are a superb group with a wholesome Hurts.

Johnson is the important thing in the direction of the Eagles profitable the Tremendous Bowl. Electing to not have surgical procedure and enjoying by way of the postseason with a torn adductor in his groin, Johnson confronted 26 pass-rushing snaps in Saturday’s win over the Giants. Johnson allowed no pressures, no sacks, no quarterback hits, and a stress charge of 0.0%. Kayvon Thibodeaux did not have a single stress going through Johnson.

When Johnson does not play, the appropriate facet of the Eagles offensive line is uncovered. Jack Driscoll does a strong job, however he is not a future Corridor of Fame proper sort out. Johnson has been the very best proper sort out in soccer for a number of years now – and his influence from him is felt on the sphere.

The Eagles can win video games with out Johnson, however they want him on the sphere to win the Tremendous Bowl. They’re dominant when Johnson and Hurts are each on the sphere.

The Giants offensive line is what wants rebuilding on the roster

Overreaction or actuality: actuality

Daniel Jones wasn’t good in Saturday’s loss to the Eagles (15 of 27 for 135 yards with no touchdowns and an interception for a 53.8 score), however the Giants quarterback was considerably let down by his offensive line. The Eagles had 26 pressures and 5 sacks in opposition to the Giants within the divisional spherical victory, 5 hurries had been allowed by Evan Neal (who had an 8.6% stress charge).

Jon Feliciano additionally allowed an 8.6% stress charge whereas Nick Gates was at 7.7%, lower than very best marks in opposition to a defensive position that had 70 sacks within the common season. The offensive line pressured Jones to maneuver off his spots and make errors all through the night time, as Jones had little time to make performs with an already restricted offense.

If the Giants need to compete for Tremendous Bowls, the offensive line must develop Neal and rebuild the inside. That needs to be precedence No. 1 this offseason.

Chiefs can win AFC so long as Patrick Mahomes is on the sphere

Overreaction or actuality: Overreaction

That is all going to rely on how critical Mahomes and his ankle damage is, particularly in opposition to a Bengals move rush that is aware of how one can get to the quarterback and pressure him out of the pocket. Mahomes could have eight days to relaxation his excessive ankle sprain, but it is a concern how Mahomes can be if he does not have that improvisation to increase the play and get the ball to his receivers.

Then there’s going through a Joe Burrow-led Bengals group the Chiefs have by no means crushed beneath Mahomes, shedding all three matchups during the last two years. Mahomes has performed properly in opposition to the Bengals in these matchups, but the questions will stay how wholesome he’ll be all week.

So long as Mahomes is on the sphere and Andy Reid is the top coach, the Chiefs will all the time have an opportunity at a Tremendous Bowl. Can Mahomes pull off one other gutsy efficiency and add to his legacy? Exhausting to doubt Mahomes based mostly on his resume, however the AFC Championship Sport could have loads of drama within the days main as much as the showdown.

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