What we learned from the NFL’s playoff round, Day 1: From the Eagles running back to Patrick Mahomes’ injury

What we learned from the NFL's playoff round, Day 1: From the Eagles running back to Patrick Mahomes' injury

The next wave of NFL football playoffs is in full swing. The divisional round kicked off Saturday with a pair of regular-season games, and oh boy, do we have a lot of ground to cover in the aftermath of that event. the heads They return to the Asian Championships, thanks victory, 27-20 over conceited Jaguar. and the the Eagles It will host the NFC Championship for the second time in five years after defeating the Giants, 38-7.

Here are some immediate, big takeaways from the Divisional Opening Day:

Hurts and the Eagles are back

We say “back” because, honestly, it feels a lot like they’ve “left” over the past month. Since Jalen Hurts, once a virtual lock to compete with Patrick Mahomes for Player of the Year, went down with a shoulder injury, Philly has sort of settled down, if not slumped, on his way to the postseason. But on Saturday night against the Giants after an impressive upset in Minnesota, they looked peaky. Pain, it seemed, had no restraint, overtaking early as a passer-by, and perhaps more noticeably, on the ground. The defense led by Haason Reddick chased Daniel Jones & Co. all night, providing New York with what Brian Daboll later called a “crashing touchdown”. It’s time to look at the contenders for the real Birds title again.

Giants need more help than we thought

This year was still successful for New York. The G-Men weren’t supposed to make the playoffs, considering the shredded roster that Brian Daboll inherited. Daniel Jones certainly signs up as a different prospect than he did months ago. But unlike Jacksonville, which moved Kansas City to the corps under a first-year coach (more on that below), the Giants had no fight or urgency in Philadelphia. This isn’t primarily Jones’ or Daboll’s fault, rather their lineup is still sorely lacking in premium spots. General Manager Joe Schoen desperately needs to prioritize promotions along the offensive line, at wide and at linebacker, among other positions.

Mahomes’ ankle is a legitimate concern

The big story of the Chiefs’ fifth straight appearance in the AFC title game had nothing to do with the actual win, or the highlights that led to it – Isiah Pacheco’s open lanes, Kadarius Toney’s heavy post, some big moments at the D-line. Once star quarterback Patrick Mahomes was briefly out with an ankle injury in the second quarter, his health became of paramount importance. The MVP candidate was clearly resistant to medical attention and fought through a noticeable limp to keep Kansas City ahead and seal the victory.

Doug Clawson from CBS Sports also indicates Mahomes, who used to rely on his mobility, has caught 41% of his league touchdown passes out of the pocket (15 of 36) in the last five seasons.

He will certainly do everything he can to stay under center going forward, but that doesn’t mean it won’t affect Andy Reid’s ability to move and/or play, even if only to a slight degree. Thank God, for the heads of …

It doesn’t really matter who is under the center; Few players consistently produce when it matters most. He was No. 87 all-around, working the quarterback against Jacksonville until he hit 14 catches for 98 yards and two scores. There’s not much to say other than: Having Kelce, with or without an imposing No. 1 receiver drawing attention on the outside, is often enough to keep KC moving up and down the field. At 33, he’s still on top of his form.

Jaguars are here to stay

It’s been clear for a while that Jacksonville made the right call by hiring former Eagles coach Doug Pederson, but this team’s performance in the postseason — just the Jaguars’ second playoff bid in the last 15 years — justifies the growing optimism in the Northeast. fl. Back from bottom 27 to beat chargers It was a miraculous confirmation of the rise of Trevor Lawrence & Company. But keeping heads on their toes in Arrowhead was just as controversial, even with Mahomes limping all day. Pederson called the game with his trademark aggressiveness. Lawrence flashed veteran-level confidence. Best of all, reinforcements are to come as playmakers like Travis Etienne Jr., Christian Kirk and Jamal Agnew join Calvin Ridley and others; The latter two showed with surprising mistakes that they could shine in more minor roles.

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