AFC Divisional Round Preview – Getting “That” Rematch

Eric Urbanowicz
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After an exciting Wild Card round, the AFC is set for a cornucopia of action as the march towards the Super Bowl continues. With the Baltimore Ravens, Los Angeles Chargers and Miami Dolphins now sitting at home, the question becomes who’s next to join them and who’s moving on?

Enough talk, let’s go into the AFC Divisional round!

 

Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Kansas City Chiefs – Saturday, 4:30 PM EST

In a battle between the new kids on the block and the seasoned veterans, the Jacksonville Jaguars will try to do something the 2020 Cleveland Browns and the the 2021 Buffalo Bills couldn’t do: knock off the Kansas City Chiefs. After completing one of the most incredible comebacks in NFL Postseason history, can Jacksonville continue to do the unlikely?

X-Factor:

Jacksonville: Christian Kirk – Wide Receiver 

Kansas City is a team that has struggled against the pass this year. They are 18th against the pass and recorded 11 interceptions (tied for 21st in the league). This will have to be a game where quarterback Trevor Lawrence leads the offense, and where he’ll have to go to his top receiver. If Kirk can get it going, the rest of the receiving corps should be able to open it up.

Kansas City: Juan Thornhill – Safety

Lawrence is getting ready to compete in his first divisional round, and as such, nerves should be high. Given that he threw four interceptions in the wild card game, watch for the secondary to try and take advantage of those nerves. Thornhill should play all over the field in this game.

Prediction: Kansas City wins, 34-17. No disrespect to Duval county but the Kansas City Chiefs aren’t the Los Angeles Chargers, especially once the playoffs start. Unless quarterback Patrick Mahomes gets hurt, this game may get ugly fast.

 

Cincinnati Bengals vs. Buffalo Bills – Sunday, 3:00 PM EST

In what may be the game of the week, Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills host Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals. After both teams survived a scare in their wild card games against back up quarterbacks, can they put on a show for the ages?

X Factor:

Cincinnati: Ted Karras – Center

Joe. Burrow. Still. Eats. Too. Many. Sacks! While he wasn’t sacked the most, he still was high up on the list, being sacked 41 times. Ted Karras is one of the offensive captains on the team and is seen as the captain of the offensive line. He needs to step up and get this unit going, or else this defensive front will eat up his quarterback.

Buffalo: Tre’Davious White – Cornerback

If the front seven can get penetration, Burrow may slip up and give some opportunities to this secondary. With White still fresh off of returning from a major injury, the question will become who he covers. Buffalo will need him to have any kind of chance to win.

Prediction: Buffalo wins, 20-17. The last time these two teams played, it looked like a defensive battle early on, and then Damar Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest on the field, ending the game abruptly. With the game being in Buffalo and Hamlin watching the game from home (unless he ultimately ends up attending), both teams will be playing with emotion. But in the end, Buffalo wins on a late field goal, capping off a story that Hollywood itself couldn’t write.

Eric Urbanowicz

Connecticut

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