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

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 in the NFC Championship Game and the Kansas City Chiefs internet hosting the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Championship Game.

The NFL has the two finest groups in the NFC all season lengthy for the proper to go to the Super Bowl and a rematch of final yr’s AFC title sport between two of the convention’s finest quarterbacks as a nightcap. Next Sunday might be the NFL at its best.

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

The Bengals saved convention championship weekend

Overreaction or reality: Reality

Let’s be sincere. The NFL was salivating at the prospect of a neutral-site championship sport between the Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills. Having 50,000 bought tickets for Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta filled with Chiefs and Bills followers may 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, because of 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 appear 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 has but to steer the Cowboys to a convention championship sport.

This efficiency cannot be all on Prescott, as 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 in 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 in the playoffs, not what Dallas is paying him $40 million a yr for.

At the finish of the day, the Cowboys might be caught with Prescott’s contract. Prescott nonetheless offers them their finest likelihood to win, as proprietor/common supervisor Jerry Jones will attempt to tinker the salary-inflated roster or discover a new coach to get the most out of Prescott (though Jones says McCarthy’s job is secure).

The finish consequence 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 in a position to 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 in the six earlier 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 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 might be the finest go rush Purdy has confronted all yr — and he confronted a great one Sunday.

Joe Burrow is the finest quarterback in the AFC

Overreaction or reality: Overreaction

This may simply be a reality, particularly since Burrow continues to reveal his mastery of the Chiefs and Bills. Burrow led the Bengals into Buffalo — in 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 some other quarterback in the NFL over the final two years, and he is solely in his third season in the league.

So why is not Burrow the finest quarterback? He’s 3-0 in opposition to Patrick Mahomes in his profession and has by no means misplaced to the Chiefs, beating them in the AFC Championship Game in Kansas City final yr. Burrow has crushed Josh Allen on the street in the playoffs together with Mahomes. He’s by no means misplaced an AFC playoff sport.

Mahomes is ready 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 first 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 option to legendary standing regardless.

Losing Von Miller was the loss of life 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 might ship Buffalo to the Super Bowl. Miller by no means bought a possibility to play in 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 in the sport (simply thrice) and had a comparatively simple day in the pocket. The Bills weren’t even attending to Burrow most of the afternoon, permitting him to dictate the sport and join on a number of huge 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 nearly nonexistent since Miller was misplaced for the yr.

Lane Johnson is the actual 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 in the league. Hurt’s shoulder was “adequate” that it wasn’t even a priority heading into the Eagles’ first playoff sport as the No.1 seed. The Eagles are a wonderful group with a wholesome Hurts.

Johnson is the key to the Eagles profitable the Super Bowl. Electing to not have surgical procedure and taking part in 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 would not play, the proper 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 finest proper sort out in soccer for a number of years now — and his affect is felt on the discipline.

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

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 in 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 splendid marks in opposition to a line of defense that had 70 sacks in the common season. The offensive line compelled Jones to move 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 Super Bowls, the offensive line must develop Neal and rebuild the inside. That ought to be precedence No. 1 this offseason.

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

Overreaction or reality: Overreaction

This is all going to rely on how severe Mahomes and his ankle harm is, particularly in opposition to a Bengals go rush that is aware of easy methods 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 might be if he would 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 final 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.

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

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