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Divisional games this late in the NFL season have so much gravity on them as far as how they impact standings for the playoffs. Not just on whether a team will make the playoffs, but how they break ties and which teams host games in January. This is also the time of year when we start to see rematches as well. This week on the Student of the Game’s Matchup Mania, we rally to rematches as the games most likely to be worthy of your attention with the 2022 season coming down to the home stretch.
San Francisco 49ers vs. Seattle Seahawks
Round one of this pairing was months ago now back in Week 2 where San Francisco dominated Seattle, 27-7 in a game that had us briefly doubting quarterback Geno Smith as the hands down Comeback Player of the Year candidate for 2022. Since then, the Niners have had two quarterbacks hand in their applications for a shot at 2023’s comeback player of the year with both Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo now out due to injury.
The final pick of the 2022 NFL Draft is now under center for the Niners. This means that Iowa State draftee Brock Purdy is arguably the most relevant Mr. Irrelevant in the game’s history. Or at least he’s on the road to becoming that should he and his offense win the day against what might be the best Seahawks defense since the Legion of Boom took the field and a Super Bowl Championship.
Miami Dolphins vs. Buffalo Bills
When these teams last met, Miami had shown the world they weren’t afraid of the big game by beating the Bills in Week 3 at home. Since then, Bills’ quarterback Josh Allen has fallen out of the graces of the mainstream media as well as the MVP talk that one had come to expect when his name falls out of someone’s mouth. Suddenly, Allen and his team are nothing but a harbinger of disappointment and broken tailgating tables coming from upstate New York. That all being said, just two short weeks after having the worst divisional record in the AFC East, the Bills are 10-3 on a clear track to the postseason.
That’s not to say that the AFC East is all but decided. Student of the Game MVP candidate Tyreek Hill is turning in a heck of a year and represents a clear chance for Miami to gain ground in the division for an opportunity to host a playoff game despite being two back from their upcoming opponent. The ‘Phins need this one badly if they hope to have a postseason game in South Beach.
New York Giants vs. Washington Commanders
It was just two short weeks ago in East Rutherford, New Jersey where New York hosted Washington in a draw. The Giants opened the year strong, even having some out there clamoring for Brian Daboll as a Coach of the Year candidate. Somehow, the league at large has figured out that the Student of the Game Midseason MVP Saquon Barkley is the key to their offensive success.
Meanwhile, it appears that Taylor Heinicke has taken command to keep his squad in the NFC playoff hunt. While we certainly won’t be seeing a postseason game played in D.C., suddenly this game’s outcome could put the Commanders team on the warpath in the standings.