The NFL Playoffs began on Saturday with Super Wildcard Weekend producing some close games along with a couple of blowouts. A look at the key games from Saturday and Sunday's action sets the stage for what's coming next.
Weekend Action Seals the Deal
The Buffalo Bills made easy work of the New England Patriots in this matchup of division rivals. The Bills scored touchdowns on their first seven possessions in their 47-17 win over the Pats. Buffalo will now travel to Kansas City to face the Chiefs in a rematch of last year's AFC Championship game. San Francisco dominated the Cowboys for three quarters but had to hold off a fourth-quarter rally to get the upset 23-17 win in Dallas. San Francisco must now travel to Green Bay and try to do something no other team has done this season, win at Lambeau Field.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 31-15 in Sunday's Wild Card game in Tampa. The Bucs led the game 31-0 after three quarters with QB Tom Brady throwing for 271 yards and two touchdowns.
Ben Roethlisberger lost in the final game of his storied NFL career by a score of 42-21 against the Kansas City Chiefs. After leading the game 7-0 on a TJ Watt fumble return for a touchdown, the Steelers were thoroughly dominated for the remainder of this game.
The Cincinnati Bengals defeated the Las Vegas Raiders 26-19 and advance to round two of the playoffs for only the second time since 1990. The Houston Oilers were the last team the Bengals beat during the playoffs.
Cardinals Face the Rams
The first-ever Monday night playoff game of NFL history is tonight. The Los Angeles Rams take on the Arizona Cardinals, concluding Wildcard Weekend. Last week, the Rams (12-5) lost in overtime to the San Francisco 49ers. However, they won their third NFC West title in five seasons under Sean McVay. The Cardinals (11-6) had a chance at winning the division but were defeated by the Seattle Seahawks during their regular-season finale. This may have been a good thing, as the Cards are now 3-5 at home and 8-1 on the road.
The Cardinals will get some defensive reinforcements back. They will likely have Wilson back in their secondary and Phillips and DE J.J. Watt activated from injured reserve on the interior. Phillips and Watt are the Cardinals' best interior rushers.
The Rams linebacking and secondary corps are shorthanded, so the Cardinals will be able attack the middle of the field and press the LA defense. This makes backing the underdog enticing, especially at longer-than-expected odds.
In the divisional round playoffs, the Bengals will face the Tennessee Titans on Saturday. Joe Burrow, who threw for 525 yards and 446 yards in his last two regular-season games, both wins over Baltimore and Kansas City. He followed that with the win against the Raiders in the playoff contest. The Bengals are worth some attention after that performance. This week, watch the line movements.
The Green Bay Packers are now 5.5-point favorites to beat the San Francisco 49ers. After a bye week, the Packers had one of the best record against spreads in the NFL's regular season. Their current record of 12-5 (71%) is behind the Cowboys' for the league lead. They would tie Dallas' 2021 record if Green Bay covers San Francisco.