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The NFL‘s Super Wild Card Weekend has nearly reached its conclusion. Five games are over, with one Monday night matchup remaining. This means that we’re much closer to knowing what the divisional round is going to look like.
Sunday’s action began much like Saturday’s activity ended. Like the Buffalo Bills, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won in blowout fashion. The Philadelphia Eagles couldn’t get their vaunted ground game going, and the Super Bowl champions wasted little time in pulling away.
The Dallas Cowboys vs. San Francisco 49ers matchup was far more entertaining, at least late. San Francisco physically dominated through the first three quarters, but late mistakes allowed the Cowboys to climb back into it.
Dallas had one last opportunity for a go-ahead touchdown but mismanaged the final push, never getting a chance for a Hail Mary attempt.
San Francisco pulled off the weekend’s first upset and will move on to face the Green Bay Packers in the divisional round.
There was no upset in the night game. As many might have expected, the Kansas City Chiefs handled the Pittsburgh Steelers with relative ease—though it did take Kansas City time to get into a rhythm.
The AFC divisional-round field is now set, while only one game is left to settle things in the NFC.
Sunday Results and Recap
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31, Philadelphia Eagles 15
The Buccaneers didn’t dominate the Eagles quite like the Bills did the New England Patriots, but it was still a one-sided contest that only appears closer thanks to a pair of fourth-quarter Philadelphia touchdowns.
Tampa was able to take the Eagles out of their game plan by limiting the run early. Philadelphia finished with 95 rushing yards, but much of that came after the game was well in hand.
With Leonard Fournette out, the Bucs relied heavily on running backs Ke’Shawn Vaughn and Giovani Bernard. Unsurprisingly, though, it was quarterback Tom Brady who set the tone during his record-extending playoff win.
Michael David Smith @MichaelDavSmith
The gap between Tom Brady and No. 2 in the NFL playoff record book is crazy. This is going to be Brady’s 35th postseason win as starting QB. No. 2 is Joe Montana with 16. Similar gaps exist between Tom Brady and No. 2 in postseason attempts, completions, yards, touchdowns, etc.
The 44-year-old finished 29-of-37 for 271 yards and two touchdowns. Wideout Mike Evans caught nine passes for 117 yards and a touchdown. Bernard chipped in five catches and 39 yards, while Rob Gronkowski caught five for 31 and a score.
The absences of receivers Chris Godwin (torn ACL) and Antonio Brown (released) didn’t loom large against the Eagles. We’ll have to wait to see if they do in the next round.
San Francisco 49ers 23, Dallas Cowboys 17
The late-afternoon game will likely leave a lingering bad taste for Cowboys fans. With Dallas in striking distance, a Dak Prescott keeper nearly set up a reasonable Hail Mary shot.
However, the quarterback failed to hand the football to the official, it took an extra second to set the ball, and the Dallas star was unable to clock it in time.
This was far from the early miscue to cost the Cowboys. Dallas was penalized a whopping 14 times for 89 yards.
It was a 49ers mistake that allowed the Cowboys back into the game. San Francisco carried a 23-7 lead into the final quarter, but a Jimmy Garoppolo interception helped Dallas score 10 points in a matter of minutes to make it a one-score game.
While Prescott and the Cowboys offense came alive late, there were simply too many mistakes and not enough clock to overcome.
Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy was not pleased with how the game was officiated.
“I thought they would let these teams play today,” he told reporters.
Dallas became the first home team to lose this postseason.
Kansas City Chiefs 42, Pittsburgh Steelers 21
The Chiefs did not get off to a hot start Sunday. Pittsburgh’s defense held strong in the early goings, and a T.J. Watt defensive touchdown actually gave the Steelers an early lead.
Once Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce and the Kansas City offense got rolling, though, it was like opening the floodgates. The Chiefs ripped off three quick touchdowns late in the second quarter to take a 31-7 lead at halftime.
By the end of the third quarter, Kansas City was up 38-14.
Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers offense did enough late to make the final score respectable, but in the second and third quarter, it was virtually all Chiefs.
Mahomes finished 30-of-39 for 404 yards, five touchdowns and an interception. Kelce also tossed a touchdown pass, while five different Chiefs players caught touchdown passes, including guard Nick Allegretti on a nifty lineman-eligible play.
Roethlisberger, in what might be his final NFL game, finished 28-of-43 for 204 yards and two touchdowns.
Playoff Picture and Updated Super Bowl Odds
The divisional-round matchups are set for the AFC. With no upsets in the conference, the fourth-seeded Cincinnati Bengals will face the top-seeded Tennessee Titans. The Bills, meanwhile, will visit the Chiefs for a rematch.
In Week 5, Buffalo beat Kansas City 38-20.
Things are nearly set in the NFC, and the picture is relatively easy to discern. As the No. 6 seed, the 49ers are set to take on the top-seeded Packers.
The No. 2 seed Tampa Bay Buccaneers will host the winner of Monday night’s matchup between the Arizona Cardinals and Los Angeles Rams.
Updated Super Bowl Odds
Green Bay Packers 19-5
Kansas City Chiefs 4-1
Buffalo Bills 5-1
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 5-1
Tennessee Titans 17-2
Los Angeles Rams 10-1
San Francisco 49ers 11-1
Cincinnati Bengals 13-1
Arizona Cardinals 25-1
Remaining Playoff Schedule
Monday, January 17
8:15 p.m. ET: Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Rams on ESPN, ABC, ESPN 2, ESPN+
Saturday, January 22
4:30 p.m. ET: Cincinnati Bengals at Tennessee Titans on CBS, Paramount+
8:15 p.m. ET: San Francisco 49ers at Green Bay Packers on Fox
Sunday, January 23
3 p.m. ET: Rams/Cardinals at Tampa Bay Buccaneers on NBC, Peacock
6:30 p.m. ET: Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs on CBS, Paramount+
Sunday, January 30
3 p.m. ET: AFC on CBS, Paramount+
6:30 p.m. ET: NFC on Fox, Fox Sports app
Super Bowl LVI
Sunday, February 13
6:30 p.m. ET on NBC, Peacock
Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook
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