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

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

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

Before we glance too far forward to the matchups, the divisional spherical offered loads of overreactions that must be addressed this week. Which ones are overreactions and that are reality checks?

The Bengals saved the convention championship weekend

Overreaction or reality: Reality

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

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

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

Overreaction or reality: 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 managed to guide the Cowboys to a convention championship sport.

This efficiency cannot be all on Prescott, because the Cowboys had simply 76 dashing yards and three.5 yards per carry. Once 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.

At the tip of the day, the Cowboys shall be caught with Prescott’s contract. Prescott nonetheless provides them their finest probability to win, as proprietor/common 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 finish outcome may be the identical anyway.

Brock Purdy will wrestle in opposition to the Eagles go rush

Overreaction or reality: Reality

Purdy was not nice when going through stress in Sunday’s win, going simply 3 of 11 for 24 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 simply 19 factors (averaged 34.8 factors per sport within the six earlier video games with Purdy).

Purdy deserves a number 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 go 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 will not matter as a lot.

Regardless, the Eagles go rush would be the finest go rush Purdy has confronted all 12 months — and he confronted a very good one Sunday.

Joe Burrow is the most effective quarterback within the AFC

Overreaction or reality: Overreaction

This might simply be a reality, particularly since Burrow continues to show his mastery of the Chiefs and Bills. Burrow led the Bengals into Buffalo — within the snow — and dominated the Bills, 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 over the past two years, and he is solely in his third season within the league.

So why is not Burrow the most effective quarterback? He’s 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 Game in Kansas City final 12 months. Burrow has crushed Josh Allen on the highway within the playoffs together with Mahomes. He’s by no means misplaced an AFC playoff sport.

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

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

Losing Von Miller was the dying blow for the Bills season

Overreaction or reality: Reality

The Bills 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 Super Bowl. Miller by no means received a possibility to play within the postseason (torn ACL), and the Bills’ go rush suffered.

Buffalo wasn’t good at attending to the quarterback down the stretch and that confirmed in Sunday’s divisional spherical loss to Cincinnati. The Bills 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 Bills 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 Bills 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 many considerations with this Bills group, however this group wanted Miller to make a deep postseason run. The go rush was just about nonexistent since Miller was misplaced for the 12 months.

Lane Johnson is the true key to the Eagles Super Bowl hopes

Overreaction or reality: Reality

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. Hurt’s 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 to the Eagles profitable the Super Bowl. Electing to not have surgical procedure and enjoying via 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 fee of 0.0%. Kayvon Thibodeaux didn’t have a single stress going through Johnson.

When Johnson does not play, the correct facet of the Eagles offensive line is uncovered. Jack Driscoll does a stable job, however he isn’t a future Hall of Fame proper sort out. Johnson has been the most effective proper sort out in soccer for a number of years now — and his influence is felt on the sphere.

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

The Giants offensive line is what wants rebuilding on the roster

Overreaction or reality: Reality

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 fee).

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

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

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

Overreaction or reality: Overreaction

This is all going to rely on how critical Mahomes and his ankle harm is, particularly in opposition to a Bengals go rush that is aware of find out how to get to the quarterback and power him out of the pocket. Mahomes may have eight days to relaxation his excessive ankle sprain, but it is a concern how Mahomes shall 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 underneath Mahomes, shedding all three matchups over the past two years. Mahomes has performed nicely in opposition to the Bengals in these matchups, but the questions will stay how wholesome he’ll be all week.

As lengthy as Mahomes is on the sphere and Andy Reid is the pinnacle coach, the Chiefs will at all times have an opportunity at a Super Bowl. Can Mahomes pull off one other gutsy efficiency and add to his legacy? Hard to doubt Mahomes based mostly on his resume, however the AFC Championship Game may have loads of drama within the days main as much as the showdown.

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