The NFL divisional round concluded Sunday after two days of highly anticipated matchups, and four teams are one step closer to advancing to Super Bowl LVII in Arizona (Sunday, Feb. 12 at 6:30 p.m. ET on FOX and the FOX Sports App).
The AFC’s top-seeded Kansas City Chiefs outlasted the fourth-seeded Jacksonville Jaguars 27-20, while the third-seed Cincinnati Bengals took down the second-seed Buffalo Bills by double digits, 27-10.
Let’s get to it!
Key stat: A hobbled Patrick Mahomes played the entire second half after injuring his ankle and finished 22-for-30 for 195 passing yards and two touchdowns, including a score midway through the fourth quarter that proved to be the difference.
Cowherd’s thoughts: “Off a bye, they looked very good early. They looked prepared. They also went heavy into Travis Kelce, so they obviously saw something on film. … Mahomes [is] 5-0 in the divisional round. … They caught the Jags a little off guard. … I think they got a pretty consistent pass-rush.”
Key stat: The Jaguars clawed back within three points early in the fourth quarter, but any chance at a comeback was squashed by two consecutive turnovers. Jamal Agnew fumbled near the goal line, followed by a Trevor Lawrence pick.
Cowherd’s thoughts: “I still think they’re in a rebuild. I think their offensive line needs help. They won a playoff game after having a lousy record the last two years. … Relative to their roster, I thought it was a pretty darn good effort.”
Key stat: Despite dealing with a steady stream of snow flurries in frigid conditions, third-year quarterback Joe Burrow carved up the Buffalo defense, completing 23 of 36 passes for 242 passing yards and two touchdowns. What’s more, Burrow targeted eight different receivers to complement a dominant rushing attack (34 rushes for 172 yards and one score).
Cowherd’s thoughts: “I thought it was the best game plan of the weekend. I thought it was everything. Precise passing — all three touchdown drives were over 70 yards. [They] outrushed Buffalo 172-63. Burrow [was] sacked only once. I mean, it was really a masterclass in coaching, and it was the way they did it. To have that kind of rushing performance with three backup offensive lineman — that was a really impressive [performance].”
Key stat: Josh Allen was 25-for-42 for 265 yards, no touchdowns and one interception, which didn’t come until the 59th minute. However, at that point, the Bills’ fate was already sealed.
Cowherd’s thoughts: “First series — three-and-out. [They] never adjusted. Josh Allen led the NFL in picks and giveaways this season, including the playoffs. Here’s another number that’s a little scary if you’re a Bills fan: Josh Allen had the most games — eight — with a completion percentage under 60% this season, including the playoffs. … There are guys doing 68%. … The regression for Josh Allen, that’s on his coaching staff.”
Key stat: The Eagles rushed for 268 yards on 44 carries, with 202 yards coming from the dynamic running back duo of Kenneth Gainwell and Miles Sanders. What’s more, Philly’s dominant offensive line — Jordan Mailata, Landon Dickerson, Jason Kelce, Isaac Seumalo and Lane Johnson — knocked around the Giants’ frontline from start to finish.
Cowherd’s thoughts: “They had a plan, and they executed it perfectly. They have 270 rushing yards. Four different players had a sack. … It was very obvious very early what they planned to do, and they executed it.”
Key stat: Daniel Jones threw for just 135 yards, zero touchdowns and one interception. The Giants had fewer total yards on offense (253) than the Eagles had just on the ground (268 rushing yards).
Cowherd’s thoughts: “I thought they quit. Daniel Jones is 1-10 in his career in the primetime — more interceptions than touchdowns. That’s who he is. If he was on the market, he [would] have no takers. So, congrats Giants [on] having what nobody else wants. Also, against playoff teams, Daniel Jones is 7-19, and the few wins have mostly been narrow.”
Key stat: Rookie quarterback Brock Purdy went 19-for-29 for 214 yards. The Niners had 327 yards of total offense compared to the Cowboys’ 282 and Purdy had no turnovers, compared to Dak Prescott‘s two.
Cowherd’s thoughts: “They’re 10-1 at home. [The] Chiefs [were] the last team to beat them. I didn’t think against Seattle early [that] they were great — little tentative. I will say, in both games, excellent halftime adjustments, but I thought in both games it was a little rocky early.
Key stat: Prescott connected on 23 of 37 passes for 206 passing yards with one score and two interceptions, which resulted in six points for the Niners.
Cowherd’s thoughts: “I didn’t think they were terrible. I thought Dak struggled. I thought they played a very good first half. Dak had 17 picks this year — he led the NFL. I thought it was a Dak issue. … Everyone is gonna point to the last play where [Ezekiel Elliott] gets trucked. That’s a flag football play. … The bottom line is — for most of the game — they had no Tony Pollard, a field goal kicker they didn’t trust, Dak was struggling, and they made it a very competitive game.”
Top stories from FOX Sports:
Get more from National Football League Follow your favorites to get information about games, news and more