The NFC and AFC championship games are all set as just four teams remain following the NFL’s Divisional Round. What a weekend it was with four games, three walk-off field goals and three upsets. There was emotion, surprise, disappointment, controversy, excitement, lead changes, blown leads, you name it. This was an NFL weekend for the ages.
Bengals at Titans
NFL Divisional Round weekend’s first matchup featured the underdog Cincinnati Bengals and the AFC number one seed Tennessee Titans.
Led by 25-year-old quarterback Joe Burrow who finished with 348 yards on 28-37 passing, the Bengals jumped out to an early 6-0 lead in the first quarter thanks to a couple of field goals. That cushion would be enough to hold off the Tennessee for most of the game until a Ryan Tannehill-AJ Brown touchdown pass would tie things up at 16 heading into the fourth.
Ultimately Bengals kicker Evan McPherson would make no mistake on a walk-off field goal as time expired as the visitors stunned the Titans in front of their home crowd.
“He’s got ice in his veins,” Cincinnati coach Zac Taylor said of McPherson. “There’s not much more to be said. He’s just as cool as it gets.”
Cincinnati wins it, 19-16 the final, and advances to the NFL AFC Championship game. They are listed at 9.00 to win the Super Bowl.
49ers at Packers
Next up was the Green Bay Packers playing host to the San Francisco 49ers in ice-cold weather conditions.
The home Packers got on the board early with a 6-yard DJ Dillon touchdown run and maintained a seven-point lead late into the fourth quarter. However, a blocked-punt return touchdown inside five minutes remaining would stun the Lambeau crowd as the 49ers tied the game, just like that. Robbie Gould would drill the game-winner a few minutes later as the 49ers escaped with a shocking victory.
“I always trust Robbie. He’s as good as gold, man,” 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo said. “He always is.”
49ers take it, 13-10 the final, and advance to the NFL NFC Championship game. They are listed at 5.50 to be crowned Super Bowl champions.
Rams at Buccaneers
Sunday’s first matchup featured Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Los Angeles Rams.
The Rams would jump out to a massive 27-3 lead in this one before Brady went to work. The Bucs would score 24 unanswered thanks to a late forced-fumble by Ndamukong Suh, as this game looked destined for overtime. However, with less than a minute remaining, Matt Stafford would lead the Rams quickly down the field with just enough time to spare for Matt Gay to kick the weekend’s third-straight game-winning field goal.
“We knew it wasn’t going to be easy,” Stafford said. “I mean, we sure let ’em back in the game with a bunch of mistakes on offense. Our defense played outstanding. We’ve got to clean some stuff up, do a little better job in the turnover department. This is a tough team, man, this is what we’re all about. Just happy to get a win and keep on moving.”
Rams survive, 30-27 in Tampa Bay to advance to the NFL NFC Championship game. They are listed at 3.00 to win the Super Bowl.
Bills at Chiefs
Last, but CERTAINLY not least, was an instant classic between the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs.
A ridiculous 31 points were scored after the 1:54 mark in the fourth quarter in this one. A Josh Allen-Gabriel Davis connection on fourth and long, followed by a two-point conversion would turn a five-point Chiefs lead into a three-point Bills lead. Chiefs receiver Tyreek Hill would respond with a 64-yard catch and run on the following possession to give the Chiefs a four-point edge. Allen and Davis would then connect for another touchdown, their fourth of the night, to restore Buffalo’s three-point lead with just 13 seconds remaining. Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes would then find Hill and Travis Kelce for two quick plays to get Kansas City into field goal range before Harrison Butker would send this one into overtime.
The Chiefs would win the coin toss, setting up an 8-play, 75-yard touchdown drive capped off by a beautiful catch by Kelce along the sidelines. Chiefs win a thriller, 42-36 in overtime to move on to the NFL AFC championship game.
“It worked out well for us this time,” said Mahomes, speaking to the NFL’s overtime rules which were a hot topic of debate after that game. “When you have two teams going back and forth, it stinks when you don’t get to see the other guy go. But all you can do is play the rules the way the rules are explained, and that’s what we did.”
The Chiefs are listed as Super Bowl favorites at 2.20.
Next week’s NFL playoff action will get underway on Sunday at 3:00 pm ET when the Chiefs host the Bengals, followed by the 49ers at the Rams at 6:30 pm ET.
Spread: Bengals (+7) 1.90 | Chiefs (-7) 1.90
Money Line: Bengals 3.25 | Chiefs 1.29
Over/Under: Over (54.5) 1.90 | Under (54.5) 1.90
Spread: 49ers (+3.5) 1.86 | Rams (-3.5) 1.95
Money Line: 49ers 2.40 | Rams 1.52
Over/Under: Over (46.5) 1.95 | Under (46.5) 1.86