NFL playoffs: 5 things to watch this weekendBy Matt Verderame
With the NFL Playoffs getting underway Saturday, we take a look at 5 points to keep an eye on.
5. Is this it for the Patriots?
This is a question that has gotten asked many times over the years, but this season it has more weight. Tom Brady is 41 years old and his play is beginning to show it. There’s a very good chance that both Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski won’t be back in New England for the 2019 campaign, with the latter a certainty. If the Patriots lose to the Chargers on Sunday afternoon, is this the end of them as we have come to see Bill Belichick’s team?
4. Another miracle in store for Nick Foles?
Foles has been nothing short of amazing for the Eagles. Since being signed as a backup to Carson Wentz prior to the 2017 season, Foles has started in four playoff games for Philadelphia. He’s won them all, including the Super Bowl last February. Now, Foles is coming off another victory — this time stunning the Chicago Bears as Soldier Field. Now, he is trying to take down the top-seeded New Orleans Saints. If Foles somehow finds a way to beat New Orleans, we’ve reached a real tipping point in whether the notion of trading Wentz is crazy or fair.
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3. Will Philip Rivers keep his championship dreams alive?
Rivers is 36 years old, and this might be the best chance he has at winning a Super Bowl. The Chargers are very talented on both sides of the ball, they’re relatively healthy, and the AFC doesn’t have a dominant team. If Rivers is going to cement himself as a surefire Hall of Famer, getting a ring would be the perfect way. With a win on Sunday, there’s a real chance the Chargers, despite being the fifth seed, will host the AFC Championship Game. Even if they don’t, they would be traveling to Arrowhead Stadium, a building where they won in epic fashion a month ago.
2. Does Sean McVay get his first playoff win?
This is going to become a major headline if the Rams lose on Saturday night. Look, Los Angeles was the odds-on favorite for the first two months of the season before other teams became the flavor of the week. If the Rams lose this weekend and go one-and-done for the second straight year — losing both games at home, no less — pundits are going to start talking in louder tones about whether McVay is overrated. It’s not fair, but it’s reality.
1. Can the Chiefs overcome their demons?
This is simple. The Chiefs have lost six straight home NFL playoffs games, most of them in agonizing fashion. They haven’t won a home postseason tilt since 1993. They haven’t reached the AFC Championship Game since that same season. Kansas City and Indianapolis have the same amount of playoff wins at Arrowhead Stadium. The list goes on and on. The Chiefs have to find a way to get the job done.