The NFL Divisional round occurred this past weekend and there were some really great games. The conference championship round is set for January 19th:
1. Tennessee Titans @ Kansas City Chiefs, 3:05 EST
2. Green Bay Packers @ San Francisco 49ers, 6:40 EST
This may be different than what you expected to see. Maybe you expected the Ravens, or maybe you hoped for a Seahawks upset. We’ll break down the Saturday games with quick reactions and what it means going forwards.
- Minnesota Vikings, 10 @ San Francisco 49ers, 27
The Vikings, coming off of a last-minute upset of the Saints, headed to San Francisco with the hopes of keeping their magical playoff run going. The 49ers were coming off a bye week as the #1 seed in the NFC. The Vikings struggled on offense all-day while the 49ers ran the ball efficiently to a 27-10 win. For the Vikings, you have to be concerned going forwards. While Kirk Cousins made a positive step with a playoff win, I have doubts about what his ceiling is going forwards. Is he the QB to get you to the Super Bowl? I don’t believe so, and how do they get the QB to get them there? On the 49ers side, the team looked prepared. The defense was finally healthy getting four starters back with the help of the bye week. This team is scary with their ability to grind the clock, as they had the ball for nearly 39 minutes. Jimmy Garoppolo looked fine in his first start with one big interception. The 49ers play the Packers at home next week, with a great shot to get to the Super Bowl. Their hopes ride on Jimmy G’s ability to make plays, and if he can make the key throws when the game is on the line.
- Tennesse Titans 28, @ Baltimore Ravens, 12
This was the big upset of the weekend. The Ravens hadn’t lost since September and had won 12 games in a row. Lamar Jackson looked unstoppable and the defense had been playing much improved. However, the Ravens ran into the unstoppable RB Derrick Henry. He became the first player in NFL history to run for 180+ yards in three straight games – regular season or playoffs. That is a remarkable feat. There was a lot of discussion among my friends about whether Henry is a top RB. It is extremely challenging to rank RBs, as they rely on many different factors: o-line, scheme, etc, but with that said I’m not sure there’s a RB that would be harder to tackle in the NFL today. Henry is climbing the ranks on the league’s top backs, regardless of where he sat before this run. On the flip side, future league MVP Lamar Jackson had a tough day. He falls to 0-2 in the playoffs in his career with the loss. He became the first player with over 300+ pass yards and 100+ rush yards in a playoff game. The yards were there, but he had three turnovers that really hurt the team. He was void of help from his WRs, who had six drops tonight. I must question the play calling tonight. Lamar threw the ball 59 times in this game, and while I get they were down, Lamar hadn’t thrown more than 33 passes in a game since September 29th – their last loss. The Ravens were down early and forgot the running game that got them to 14-2. Sometimes I wish coaches would take a deep breath and realize how much time was left in the game, and continue with the game plan. Harbaugh got scared and changed everything after the team fell down 14-3. They take a tough loss on their home turf, 28-12.