2023 NFL Playoff Bracket: Picture, Schedule After Saturday’s Divisional Round |  News, Scores, Highlights, Stats, and Rumors

2023 NFL Playoff Bracket: Picture, Schedule After Saturday’s Divisional Round | News, Scores, Highlights, Stats, and Rumors

2023 NFL Playoff Bracket: Picture, Schedule After Saturday’s Divisional Round

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    Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes

    Chiefs QB Patrick MahomesDavid Eulitt/Getty Images

    The NFL divisional round got off to quite an interesting start on Saturday. The Kansas Chiefs swept the Jacksonville Jaguars, which is what many might have expected. However, the Jaguars made things uncomfortable for the top seed in the AFC.

    The Chiefs were forced to play much of the first half without quarterback Patrick Mahomes due to an ankle injury. Although he returned in the second half, his mobility was limited.

    However, thanks to some big plays from the Kansas City defense and strong help from backup Chad Henne, the Chiefs pulled through.

    Things were much less competitive in the nightcap, as the Philadelphia Eagles blew out the rival New York Giants 38-7. Philly jumped out to a 28-0 halftime lead and never looked back.

    This, of course, means that the top seed in each conference will advance to the next round. The unknown is who they will face on championship weekend. Below, you’ll find a quick recap of Saturday’s action and a look ahead to Sunday’s games and the remaining postseason schedule.

Chiefs 27, Jaguars 20

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    Leaders WR JuJu Smith-Schuster and RB Isiah Pacheco

    Leaders WR JuJu Smith-Schuster and RB Isiah PachecoScott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    The Chiefs have been a model of consistency in the AFC since Mahomes became the full-time starter in 2018, Kansas City hasn’t missed an AFC Championship Game appearance.

    That streak will continue this year, but for a while, it looked like the Jags might play the blame game.

    Mahomes suffered an ankle injury late in the first quarter. Although he ended the drive, Henne was in the middle to start the series after that. This was not a sight Chiefs fans were hoping to see, but they loved what came next.

    Henne capped a 98-yard drive with a one-yard strike to tight end Travis Kelce. That score was the difference in the game. The value of an experienced backup who knows the system was on full display.

    Charles Goldman @OrmctNFL

    #Chiefs TE Travis Kelce on how it was with Chad Henne in the game: “You take the game play by play and play by play… you just have to lock in and have urgency…”

    Mahomes returned in the second half and finished the game 22-of-30 for 195 yards and two touchdowns. Both he and Henne deserve a lot of credit, but the Chiefs probably wouldn’t have won the game without strong performances from Isiah Pacheco’s running back and defense.

    Pacheco rushed for 95 yards and 7.9 yards per carry. The defense limited Trevor Lawrence to a mediocre 24-of-39, 217-yard, one-touchdown, one-interception performance. Jaylon Watson’s interception of Lawrence with less than four minutes left ended the game.

    Jacksonville engineered one final field goal drive after the turnover, but the effort on the other end was unsuccessful.

    This was a complete performance by a Kansas City team headed for its fifth straight AFC title game. Of course, there will be a lot of eyes on Mahomes as his ankle goes into next Sunday.

    “Let’s just see how he goes here the next few days. He’s going to be sick, I know, but let’s see where he is,” said head coach Andy Reid, according to ESPN’s. Adam Teicher. “He’s had this before, and he was able to keep pushing through it.”

    The Chiefs are one game away from advancing to another Super Bowl.

Eagles 38, Giants 7

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    Eagles QB Jalen is injured

    Eagles QB Jalen is injuredRich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    While Mahomes’ injury will be a story for next weekend, Jalen Hurts’ shoulder injury has been a point of intrigue since he suffered it back in December. The Eagles’ Pro Bowl quarterback missed two games but returned for the final season against the Giants.

    However, Hurts didn’t appear anywhere close to 100 percent in that game, and his usual dual-threat highlights were nowhere to be found. No. 1 seed Philly’s bye week helped. 1 claim, but Hurts told Fox Sports’ Pam Oliver (a/t Alexis Chassen of SBNation) before Saturday’s game that he was still “close to 100 percent.”

    While Hurts may not have been fully healthy on Sunday, he was impressive. He finished 16-of-24 for 154 yards and two touchdowns while also rushing for 34 yards and another touchdown.

    The ranges designed for Injuries that were not present in Week 18 were there in the divisional round.

    Philadelphia Eagles @Eagle

    It hurts so good@JalenHurts | #NYGvsPHI | #FlyEaglesFly pic.twitter.com/YLr0CuunKL

    The Giants’ defense had no answer to the injury and the Eagles’ ground game – Miles Sanders and Kenneth Gainwell each topped 90 rushing yards – and their offense couldn’t dig out of the hole early.

    Things couldn’t have started better for Philadelphia, which scored touchdowns on its first two possessions and forced two turnovers (one interception, one on downs) in the first quarter.

    With Philadelphia going up big early, its defense was able to flee Daniel Jones and New York’s death attack. The Eagles’ inconsistent defense — which ranked 24th in yards per carry allowed in the regular season — essentially became a non-factor.

    That run defense could be more of an issue next week against the Dallas Cowboys or San Francisco 49ers – two teams that run the ball well. With Injuries getting closer to 100 percent, however, the Eagles will have a good chance against whatever team they face.

Updated Playoff Picture

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    Cowboys QB Dak Prescott

    Cowboys QB Dak PrescottCliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    We now have a six-team race for the Lombardi Trophy, and things are relatively straightforward in the NFC.

    If Philadelphia wins, it will host either the Cowboys or the 49ers in the NFC Championship Game. The separation game between those two on Sunday will be interesting, with both squads coming forward with the decisive winds of the wild cards.

    The Cowboys disrupted the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense as they seemingly moved the ball for stretches. The 49ers defense rallied in the second half of their win over the Seattle Seahawks. San Francisco rookie quarterback Brock Purdy led another strong offensive performance.

    Things are a little less clear in the AFC because neutral site conference championships are in place.

    The NFL decided on the possibility of a neutral position after choosing not to restart the Week 17 game between Buffalo and the Cincinnati Bengals – a game that was postponed after Bills safety Damar Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest on the field and needed to be resuscitated.

    If the Buffalo Bills win on Sunday, they will play the Chiefs at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. According to the NFL, more than 50,000 tickets already sold to the venue.

    If the Cincinnati Bengals beat Buffalo, Kansas City will host Cincinnati with real home field advantage.

    The Bengals will be without three of their starting offensive linemen – right tackle La’el Collins, left tackle Jonah Williams and right guard Alex Cappa. That could give the Bills a distinct advantage, but it would be foolish to write either team off.

    Buffalo has now won eight games in a row, and the Bengals have won nine games in a row. Both have regular season wins over the Chiefs this year.

The remaining game schedule

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    Bengals QB Joe Burrow

    Bengals QB Joe BurrowDylan Buell/Getty Images

    Sectional Round, Day 2

    Sunday, January 22

    3. Cincinnati Bengals at 2. Buffalo Bills on CBS

    5. Dallas Cowboys at 2. San Francisco 49ers on Fox

    Conference Championship Round

    Sunday, January 29

    NFC Championship: 3:05 pm ET on Fox

    AFC Championship: 6:40 pm ET on CBS

    Super Bowl LVII

    Sunday, February 12

    AFC vs NFC: 6:30 pm ET on Fox

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