NFL Playoff Update: Home teams dominate in divisional rounds

The NFL playoffs has four teams remaining
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Fox Sports [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The NFL playoffs has four teams remaining https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/ea/NFL_on_Fox_2014.svg

Matthew Szymanowski, Deputy Sports Editor

Coming into Saturday, just eight teams remained in the NFL playoffs. Now, there are only four. The Chiefs, Rams, Patriots and Saints each won at home.

Saturday’s games kicked off with the No. 6 seed Indianapolis Colts at the No. 1 seed Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Divisional Round. From the start, it was all Chiefs. The first three drives for Kansas City ended in scores as they scored two touchdowns and a field goal to take a 17-0 lead. The Colts blocked a punt for a touchdown to make it 17-7, but the Chiefs weren’t rattled. They bounced back and took a 24-7 lead at the half. Following a fairly uneventful second half, the Chiefs finished off the Colts by a score of 31-13.

The next game took place later Saturday evening as the NFC side kicked off. The No. 2 Los Angeles Rams hosted the No. 4 Dallas Cowboys at the LA Memorial Coliseum. The Rams kicked field goals on their first two drives, but the Cowboys held the advantage 7-6 after a touchdown on their first drive. The Rams next two drives ended in touchdowns, putting them up 20-6 at the half. The Rams offense kept grinding out yards in the second half and the Cowboys defense had no answer. Though the Cowboys cut the Rams lead to 8 in the 4th quarter, they could never get back in it. The Rams defended home turf and defeated the Cowboys 30-22.

Sunday started in the early afternoon with the other AFC game. The No. 2 New England Patriots kicked off against the No. 5 Los Angeles Chargers in Foxborough, MA. Defense was hard to come by in this game. Tom Brady led the Patriots to touchdowns on their first four drives and took a 28-7 lead in the first half. Following a muffed punt by the Chargers, Brady led the Patriots to another score and a 35-7 lead entering the half. The Chargers defense stepped up in the second half, but it was too little too late. The Chargers managed to score 3 times in the second half, but the Patriots rolled to a 41-28 victory.

The most exciting game of the divisional round was the last one on Sunday. The No. 1 seed in the NFC the New Orleans Saints hosted No. 6 Philadelphia Eagles. Drew Brees threw an interception on the first play from scrimmage and the Eagles capitalized. They marched right in for an early score in New Orleans. Their next drive went just as well and they took a 14-0 lead. The Saints bounced back, but the Eagles held a 14-10 lead at the half. Following a punt to start the second half by the Eagles, the Saints put up an unbelievably impressive drive. They went 92 yards in 18 plays and took 11:23 off the clock, wearing out the Eagles defense and taking a 17-14 lead. The Saints kicked a field goal on their next drive to take a 6 point lead. With time winding down in the game, they attempted another field goal to seal Philadelphia’s fate. The kick was missed, and the Eagles were put in a spot to take the road upset. Following the 2 minute warning, Nick Foles dropped back and found wide receiver Alshon Jeffrey wide open. The ball went right through his hands and into defender Marshon Lattimore’s hands for an interception. The Saints took a knee and finished off the defending Super Bowl champion Eagles, 20-14.

Following these games, the conference championships are this upcoming Sunday. The Los Angeles Rams will go to New Orleans to play the Saints at 3:05 p.m in the NFC Championship game. In Week 9, the Saints defeated the Rams, 45-35, in New Orleans. At 6:40 p.m, following the NFC Championship, the Chiefs will host the Patriots in Kansas City. In Week 6, the Chiefs lost to the Patriots in New England 43-40.

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