The NFL regular season is over, and the playoff field is set. It seems like the season just started and now here we are in January and the postseason begins this weekend with six matchups from Saturday through Monday. A lot of playoff spots came down to the last Sunday and for the Steelers, it came down to the last few seconds as they watched the end of the Chargers vs Raiders game. Let’s review the last week of the season and preview some of the matchups this weekend.
Colts vs Jaguars:
The Colts had everything laid out in front of them, if they had beaten the 2-14 Jaguars they would’ve been in the playoffs. Jacksonville has been a place where the Colts have historically struggled and unfortunately for the people in Indianapolis it continued. The Colts blew it, falling behind early and never being able to recover. Trevor Lawrence outplayed Carson Wentz and the Colts only fed Jonathan Taylor the rock 15 times. The Colts turned the ball over twice, while Jacksonville played a clean game with zero turnovers. The Colts gave up a lot for Wentz and he couldn’t deliver when they needed him the most…while Wentz’s former team, the Eagles, are in the playoffs and have three first round picks in the upcoming draft……ouch
Steelers vs Ravens:
Due to the Colts’ loss the Steelers and Ravens playoff window opened up with both teams needing some help to get in. The battle on the field between these two teams was typical for what you expect between the Steelers and Ravens – defense and toughness. In the end, Mike Tomlin’s Steelers were able to make a few more plays than the Ravens and won in overtime 16-13. The play of the game was Ben Roethlisberger finding Ray-Ray McCloud on 4th down to set up the game-winning field goal. Another key to this game was turnovers, as Baltimore would turn the ball over three times in this game. The Steelers were also more efficient on 3rd down, going 6-17, while the Ravens were only 3-14. With a win the Steelers needed the Chargers and Raiders game not to end in a tie and they would get in. That leads to the next game…….
Chargers vs Raiders:
The final game of the regular season came down to the last seconds. The Raiders were able to win on a last 47-yard field goal where they were also helped by the Chargers calling a timeout with 38 seconds left. If the game ended in a tie then both teams would’ve made the playoffs. Josh Jacobs ran for 132 yards and Derek Carr threw for two touchdowns. Justin Herbert did his best to get the Chargers in the playoffs, throwing for 383 yards and three touchdowns. Chargers coach Brandon Staley should catch a lot of heat. He went for it on 4th down on his own 17-yard line, then the timeout that led to the Raiders rushing for a 1st down to put them in field goal range in overtime. Staley said he wanted to put the right rush defense in the game and the Raiders were able to get the first down anyway. You must tip your hat off to the Raiders for making the playoffs and overcoming so much adversity this season.
49ers vs Rams:
The 49ers needed to win to get in and they were able to, beating the Rams for the 2nd time this year and 6th time in a row in a 27-24 in overtime victory. Deebo Samuel did a little bit of everything for the 49ers. Samuel had 95 yards receiving, 45 yards rushing and threw for 24 yards. For the Rams it was a disappointing end to the season, blowing a 17-0 lead. Their season fittingly ended on a Matt Stafford interception in overtime. Things with the Rams and Stafford started off well, but towards the end of the season Stafford has struggled and he is a question mark as the Rams enter the postseason. Jimmy Garroppolo made clutch plays on an 88 yard drive to tie the game and send it to overtime. The 49ers are a team that nobody wants to see in the postseason and their first opponent is the Dallas Cowboys.
Wild Card Weekend Matchups
- #5 Raiders vs #4 Bengals Saturday at 4:30 P.M.
- #6 New England vs #3Buffalo Saturday at 8:15 P.M.
- #7 Philadelphia vs #2 Tampa Bay Sunday at 1:00 P.M.
- #6 San Francisco vs #3 Dallas Sunday at 4:30 P.M.
- #7 Pittsburgh vs #2 Kansas City Sunday at 8:15 P.M.
- #5 Arizona vs #4 Los Angeles Rams Monday at 8:15 P.M.
- Bengals over Raiders
- Buffalo over New England
- Tampa over Philadelphia
- 49ers over Dallas
- Kansas City over Steelers
- Cardinals over Rams