One weekend of NFL postseason action is in the books, and we’re officially on to the divisional round. The last eight teams in contention for a Super Bowl face off with everything on the line this weekend, with two games set for Saturday and two more scheduled for Sunday. After wild-card weekend featured four one-score games, an epic comeback and plenty of scoring, this week’s action has a lot to live up to.
Here’s a look at the four games on the docket this week, along with ticket information from SI Tickets.
Dallas Cowboys at San Francisco 49ers, Jan. 22, 6:30 p.m. ET
After trailing at halftime, the 49ers scored the game’s following 25 points to pull away and cruise to a wild-card win over the Seahawks, extending San Francisco’s winning streak to 11. Now, with Brock Purdy’s postseason legs under him, the Niners host a Cowboys team that was impressive in its dismantling of the Buccaneers Monday night. A Dallas defense that had struggled late in the season didn’t give up a score until the final play of the third quarter, and the Cowboys offense moved the ball like a hot knife through butter, scoring on four straight possessions at one point. Dallas looked the part of a team that could win the NFC, showing off the star power and balance that has made them so dangerous this season.
Dallas has the more proven quarterback in this matchup with Dak Prescott, who is looking to finally break through and take the Cowboys to a Super Bowl. But Purdy has played steady football since being thrust into action, and his supporting cast is superb. Can Mr. Irrelevant sink the Cowboys’ hopes of returning to the NFC Championship Game for the first time since the 1995–96 season? If he does, the legend of Purdy will only keep growing.
New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles, Jan. 21, 8:15 p.m. ET
A dream season for the Giants has led to an in-division postseason showdown with the top-seeded Eagles. New York’s remarkable first-season turnaround under Brian Daboll was extended another week after an impressive win on the road against the Vikings, and now the Giants get their third crack at the NFC’s best team. They’ll do so with a confident quarterback: Daniel Jones proved the doubters wrong and had arguably the best game of his career on the biggest stage.
Giants DC Wink Martindale will have his hands full with an Eagles offense that torched them for 48 points in the teams’ first meeting of the season. With Jalen Hurts at QB and a talented group of receivers, the Eagles’ offense has been as hard to stop as any in the NFL. And while Martindale’s defense did look better in Week 18 against Hurts and the Eagles, this still will be an arduous task, especially on the road. Can Hurts once again outduel the Giants and push Philadelphia one step closer to a championship? The Eagles have lost just once all season with Hurts under center.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Kansas City Chiefs, Jan. 21, 4:30 p.m. ET
The Jaguars’ comeback from 27 down against the Chargers is one of the five largest in NFL history and arguably the most improbable, rallying after five turnovers in the first half to stun Justin Herbert and advance to the divisional round. After pulling off that shocker, going into Arrowhead Stadium and facing Patrick Mahomes doesn’t seem so bad!
When these teams met in November, Kansas City scored the game’s first 20 points, pulling away in the first half behind three early touchdown passes by Mahomes. Jacksonville can ill afford a similar start this week but does come in with the confidence off Saturday’s rally after scoring on the team’s final five possessions of the game. Still, taking down the Chiefs at home is a massive ask, especially for a quarterback as young as Lawrence. That said, if Joe Burrow could do it last year in the AFC Championship Game, why not Lawrence and the Jags?
Cincinnati Bengals at Buffalo Bills, Jan. 22, 3 p.m. ET
Joe Burrow vs. Josh Allen in front of a raucous crowd in Buffalo. What could be better?
These teams advanced after harder-than-expected tests from backup quarterbacks during wild card weekend to set up this clash of division winners. These teams’ regular season meeting was cut short after Bills safety Damar Hamlin went into cardiac arrest during the first quarter. Because that game wasn’t completed, these teams come in having won a combined 17 straight games, hitting their stride at the right time as they look to fulfill their Super Bowl aspirations.
The Bills easily outgained the Dolphins but had some surprising gaffes they won’t be able to afford against Burrow and the Bengals, giving up a strip-sack that turned into a touchdown, a long punt return that netted Miami three points and three total turnovers. Cincinnati’s offense never really got going against the Ravens, but its defense saved the day with Sam Hubbard’s 98-yard fumble return that turned the game on its head in the fourth quarter.