sportroom.co.uk

We bring to you the latest sport news and updates

The NFC postseason is brimming with possibilities for reunions and opportunities for redemption

Jan 12, 2024 #NFC playoffs

Four years ago, the San Francisco 49ers were on the verge of winning their first Super Bowl in 25 years when Patrick Mahomes led Kansas City to three touchdowns in the final six-plus minutes and the Chiefs won 31-1.20.

Over the past two years, the Niners (12-5) have taken a step back from returning to big games to try to rebound, losing to the Rams and Eagles in the NFC Championship Game.

This time we are in a better position.
“We’re where we want to be,” Niners left tackle Trent Williams said. “We are the number one seed.”

That way, they can enjoy Wild Card Weekend like everyone else and advance to the conference championship game on January 1 with one win out of the playoffs. 28 for the chance to reach Super Bowl 58 in Las Vegas next month.

A caveat: the 49ers went 5-3 at home this season, including a 33-19 loss to Baltimore, the AFC’s top seed on Christmas Day.

Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys (12-5) surged past the slumping Philadelphia Eagles to win the NFC East and earn the NFC’s No. 2 seed, edging No. 3 Detroit 20-19 in Week 17 in part because of a controversial call that negated the Lions’ go-ahead 2-point conversion with 23 seconds left.

banner

On Monday night, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-8), led by Tom Brady’s successor, Baker Mayfield, host defending NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles (11-6), who stumbled into the playoffs with five losses in six games.

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (12-5)

Five Lombardi trophies in seven Super Bowl appearances: beat Bengals 26-21 in Super Bowl 16, beat Dolphins 38-16 in Super Bowl 19, beat Bengals 20-16 in Super Bowl 23, beat Broncos 55-10 in Super Bowl 24, beat Chargers 49-26 in Super Bowl 29, lost to Ravens 34-31 in Super Bowl 47, lost to Chiefs 31-20 in Super Bowl 54. Last year: 13-4, No. 2 seed, beat Seahawks 41-23 in wild-card round, beat Dallas 19-12 in divisional round, lost to Eagles 31-7 in NFC championship.

Plan the parade: San Francisco might have the league’s most difficult offense to defend with playmakers such as NFL leading rusher Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk and George Kittle, and a quarterback in Brock Purdy able to get them the ball.

The defense is almost as good with stars on every level, starting with DE Nick Bosa, do-everything LB Fred Warner and star CB Charvarius Ward. When everyone is healthy, there might not be a team as deep or as balanced.

Hold the confetti: The Niners have a few holes on the roster with the right side of the offensive line struggling in pass protection this season and subpar special teams.

The biggest knock against San Francisco during coach Kyle Shanahan’s run has been their ability to play from behind.

The Niners are 0-38 under Shanahan when falling behind by at least eight points in the fourth quarter and Purdy struggled in his few chances this season to lead a game-tying or game-winning drive.

“We’re here right back where you want to be with an opportunity to go do something special with the right type of guys.”- Warner.

Dallas Cowboys (12-5)

Five Lombardi Trophies in eight Super Bowl appearances: 16-13 loss to the Colts in Super Bowl 5, 24-3 loss to the Dolphins in Super Bowl 6, 21-17 loss to the Steelers in Super Bowl 10, and 27 to the Broncos. -10 lost to the Steelers 35-31 in Super Bowl 12, beat the Bills 52-17 in Super Bowl 13, beat the Bills 30-13 in Super Bowl 28, and beat the Steelers 27-17 in Super Bowl 30.

Last year: 12-5, no 0.5 seed, beat the Buccaneers 31-14 in the wild card round, then lost 19-12 to the 49ers in the divisional round.

Parade Plan: If Dak Prescott and CeeDee Lamb can keep their QB-WR connection at the same level it was before midseason, even a little help in the run game would go a long way for Dallas’ offense.

Turnovers and sacks have always been important to Dan Quinn’s defense. The Cowboys just need to avoid lulls in the area. The biggest boost is a second-place finish, which likely means two or three playoff games for a team riding a 16-game winning streak at AT&T Stadium.

Hold on to the confetti. If the offense lags like it did in the last two postseason losses to San Francisco.

The first was a wild card game at home and the second was a division loss to the Niners on the road. Without sacks and turnovers, the defense struggles to make an impact at times.

Two late-season examples were a late-game loss in Miami and a loss in Detroit. The Cowboys beat the Lions because a controversial penalty negated a two-point conversion that gave the Lions a one-point lead with 23 seconds left.

“This is about the great opportunity we have put ourselves in and put ourselves in this position. “We deserve it, we deserve it, and more importantly, we will take advantage of it.” – Coach Mike McCarthy.

Detroit Lions (12-5)

One of four teams that did not advance to the Super Bowl. Last year: 9-8. They have lost their last nine playoff games, most recently a 26-6 loss to Seattle in the wild-card round in January. July 7, 2017

Parade plans: Detroit broke the NFL’s single-season records for rushing and passing touchdowns in 15 games and tied the league record with 325-plus net offensive yards and rushing touchdowns in 16 games.

Jared Goff, who led the Rams to a Super Bowl appearance in his third season, ranks second in the NFL with 4,575 passing yards, fourth with 30 touchdown passes and has no interceptions in nine games. David Montgomery and rookie Jameer Gibbs might be the best running back combination in the league.

Amon-Ra St. Brown led the NFL with nine 100-yard receiving games and 677 yards after the catch. Catch the confetti: The Lions don’t have a championship-caliber defense, ranking 27th in passing offense and 23rd in points allowed.

They allowed Minnesota quarterback Nate Mullens to throw for more than 800 yards combined in Weeks 16 and 18.

Rookie Sam LaPorta, who set an NFL rookie record for a tight end with 86 catches, and Kalif Raymond, a return specialist and speedy receiver, suffered knee injuries in Week 18 and will be difficult to replace in the playoffs.

“We won 12 games for a reason. We’re in this position for a reason. Let’s do it again,” coach Dan Campbell said.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-8)

Earned two Lombardi trophies in two Super Bowl trips: a 48-21 win over the Raiders in Super Bowl 37 and a 31-9 win over the Chiefs in Super Bowl 55. Last year: 8-9, fourth seed, loss to Cowboys » 31 – 14 in Wild. Card round.

Parade plans: The Bucs bounced back from a 5-1 loss for the sixth of seven games as QB Baker Mayfield made the most of the opportunity to begin his career on a one-year, $4 million contract.

They defeated New Orleans and Atlanta to win the division. Mayfield has thrown for career highs of 4,044 yards and 28 touchdowns while cutting down on critical mistakes that undermined him in previous stints with the Browns, Panthers and Rams.

The defense regained its swagger in the final month, too, and enters the postseason coming off Tampa Bay’s first shutout since 2010.

Hold the confetti: While coach Todd Bowles feels good about the overall progress of the offense, the Bucs sputtered the past two games while scoring 13 in a 10-point loss to the Saints and just nine in the shutout win over the last-place Panthers that clinched a playoff berth.

Mayfield (ribs, ankle) played through injuries against Carolina, however the passing attack suffered because of his lack of mobility. The Bucs were last in rushing for the second straight season, averaging just under 89 yards per game.

If you can’t handle the ball effectively in the playoffs, your chances of success will be greatly reduced.
“We have a locker room full of guys that count comfortably. “That’s when we feel most comfortable.” – Mayfield.

Philadelphia Eagles (11-6)

One Lombardi in four Super Bowl appearances: lost to Raiders 27-10 in Super Bowl 15, lost to Patriots 24-21 in Super Bowl 39, beat Patriots 41-33 in Super Bowl 52, lost to Chiefs 38-35 in Super Bowl 57. Last year: 16-4, No. 1 seed, beat Giants 38-7 in divisional round, beat 49ers 31-7 in NFC championship.

Plan the parade: Somewhere inside Philadelphia’s locker room is a team that went to the Super Bowl a year ago and opened this season 10-1. It does look bleak for the Eagles after one of the greatest collapses in Philly sports history.

But if coach Nick Sirianni and QB Jalen Hurts can rekindle the greatness that seemingly had them on course for a repeat run to the Super Bowl, the Eagles could emerge as a surprise out of the NFC. Holding Confetti: Uh-huh.

The Eagles went 1-5. Sick wide receivers Brown and DeVonta Smith are out with injuries. The Eagles are outscored 182-123 in their last six games.

Only five teams have won three playoff games en route to the Super Bowl. The last team to do this was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2020.

“We have to find a way to be more consistent and play at a high level more often. This is what it takes to win a championship. In the end, it’s all about how you react, and we have to react too.” – It hurts.

LOS ANGELES RAMS (10-7)

Two Lombardi trophies in five Super Bowl appearances: lost to Steelers 31-19 in Super Bowl 14, beat Titans 23-16 in Super Bowl 34, lost to Patriots 20-17 in Super Bowl 36, lost to Patriots 13-3 in Super Bowl 53, beat Bengals 23-20 in Super Bowl 56. Last year: 5-12.

Plan the parade: Not many teams have more momentum than the Rams, who rolled into the postseason with seven wins in eight games while losing only on the road to Baltimore in overtime.

Matthew Stafford has put together a Pro Bowl season, throwing to Super Bowl 56 MVP Cooper Kupp behind an improved offensive line, while record-setting rookie receiver Puka Nacua and 1,100-yard rusher Kyren Williams have established themselves as elite playmakers.

Coordinator Raheem Morris’ defense has been better than anyone imagined after an offseason talent purge, putting the Rams in position to surprise opponents just two years after they won it all.

Hold the confetti: The Rams just don’t have the man-for-man talent of most playoff rosters, and their playoff berth is a credit to their coaching staff and top playmakers.

The defense is resourceful but lacks consistent pass-rushing pressure to help out a largely unimpressive secondary that could be carved up by an elite quarterback.

Their special teams also have been among the worst in the NFL, with returning kicker Brett Maher looking just as shaky as he did before LA cut him earlier in the season. The Rams are ahead of schedule, and this precocity will be difficult to maintain against their archrivals.

“This journey this team has been on and all the different things they’ve been through has definitely been rewarding to be a part of and I want to continue that for as long as I can.” – Rams coach Sean McVay.

Green Bay Packers (9-8)

Four Lombardi trophies in five Super Bowl trips: 35-10 win over the Chiefs in Super Bowl 1, 33-14 win over the Raiders in Super Bowl 2, 35-21 win over the Patriots in Super Bowl 31, and 35-21 win over the Broncos. lost 31-1. #24 in Super Bowl 32 and a 31-25 win over the Steelers in Super Bowl 45. Last year: 8-9.

Parade plans: QB Jordan Love threw 18 touchdowns and just one interception in his final eight games, capping the regular season with three straight wins. Love ranks second in the NFL with 32 passing yards.

WR Jayden Reed and Romeo Dubs each had eight touchdown catches. RB Aaron Jones has rushed for at least 112 yards in each of his last three games. The defense has allowed just one TD over its past two games. That defense includes three players with at least 7½ sacks in Rashan Gary (9), Preston Smith (8) and Kenny Clark (7½).

Hold the confetti: Green Bay didn’t have a single player selected to the Pro Bowl. The Packers have the NFL’s youngest roster. Although the defense stepped up in its past two games, that followed a brutal three-game stretch in which it allowed 29.3 points per game.

That period included a 33-30 win over the Carolina Panthers on Christmas Eve, and he did not score a point the rest of the season.

Anders Carlson had a shaky rookie season, making 7 of 13 field goals from 40 yards or more and missing five extra points.

“People were criticizing us before the season even started. We are resilient. We don’t back down from anyone. We won’t stop fighting. We have a pack of dogs in our locker room. – Jones.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *