Now that four out of eight teams have survived the NFL Wild Card weekend, the next elimination round in the postseason demolition derby begins on Saturday.
With the Tennessee Titans upsetting the Kansas City Chiefs (yet another Andy Reid debacle) and the seasoned Atlanta Falcons dispatching the surprising Los Angeles Rams last Saturday, Sunday’s games filled out the slate for the divisional round.
The early game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and Buffalo Bills saw two teams make their returns to the postseason after long absences – in Buffalo’s case, it was 17 years.
Jaguars hold on against the Bills, giving Jacksonville its first playoff win in a decade. pic.twitter.com/c1QOE7D1eL
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 7, 2018
Some games end up on highlight reels forever, this one won’t be one of them. The 10-3 Jaguars win set offensive football back decades, but it really doesn’t matter because they won’t be long for the playoffs because 10 points aren’t going to cut it against a rested and motivated Pittsburgh Steelers team on the road.
In a weekend of surprisingly good contests, it was the game between the New Orleans Saints and the Carolina Panthers that had a lot of captivating storylines and actually lived up to its billing with a high-scoring affair that went down to the end.
Both quarterbacks – Cam Newton and Drew Brees – threw for over 300 yards and while the defenses were shredded through the air, both managed to keep the others’ running game in check. The Panthers were nails in holding the Saints’ dynamic duo of Mark Ingram and rookie Alvin Kamara to a meager 41 yards. Not good news for New Orleans with the defensive powerhouse Minnesota Vikings next up.
The Saints were pretty much in control of the game before a frantic fourth-quarter comeback by Carolina fell short.
A rare brain fart by Brees with a late interception gave the Panthers life with under two minutes to go but the defense harassed Newton into a bad intentional grounding penalty and then sacked him to suck the life out of the spirited Panthers.
A season sweep!
The Saints beat the Panthers to advance to the NFC divisional round vs. the Vikings. pic.twitter.com/3pnaKmdf2v
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 8, 2018
The final score was 31-26.