NFL Wild-Card Recap
How did I do?
By NFL Correspondent D. Higgins
My Prediction: Bengals 32 – Raiders 23
Actual Score: Bengals 26 – Raiders 19
Comments: This was lower scoring than I thought, but the game had the same outcome. The Raiders put up a good fight, but Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase–who had nine receptions for 116 yards–were too much for Las Vegas, errant whistle blows or not.
* * * *
My Prediction: Patriots 24 – Bills 20
Actual Score: Bills 47 – Patriots 17
Comments: I could not have been more wrong on this one! QB Josh Allen and the Bills absolutely destroyed NE in every facet of the game, with Buffalo playing the NFL’s first ever “perfect game.” It was over by halftime. Good for the Bills–who knocked out Bill Belichick in the Wild Card Round for only the 3rd time in his head coaching career.
* * * *
My Prediction: Chiefs 35 – Steelers 17
Actual Score: Chiefs 42 – Steelers 21
Comments: As expected, Patrick Mahomes had a dominating game, throwing for 404 yards and 5 touchdowns on 30 of 39 passes. After a scoreless first quarter, it was all Chiefs who suddenly led 21-7 at halftime and then just exploded for two more quick TDs to start the second half. In what will likely be his final game, 39-year-old Ben Roethlisberger was 29 of 44 for 215 yards, including two meaningless TD passes after the game was already out of hand.
My Prediction: Bucs 41 – Eagles 21
Actual Score: Bucs 31 – Eagles 15
Comments: As I predicted, this was a blowout win for Tampa Bay. Philly struggled with 3 turnovers and were outmatched by a typically efficient Tom Brady performance (29-37, 271 yards, 2 TD). Even after a couple of Philly TDs in garbage time, this game wasn’t even as close as the final score indicates. Even scarier for the rest of the league? Tampa Bay feels they could have played even better.
* * * *
My Prediction: Cowboys 27 – Niners 25
Actual Score: Niners 23 – Cowboys 17
Comments: It was a nail biter in the end, with some bizarre decisions all around. The Cowboys’ decision to have QB Dak Prescott run the ball on 1st down with 14 seconds left, and then him trying to spike the ball as time expired, was chaotic and perplexing. But overall, the 49ers simply outplayed Dallas, who let penalties kill them. The Cowboys committed 14 penalties for 89 yards, tying a franchise playoff record. San Francisco also out-rushed Dallas 169 yards to 77. Although a bit sloppy, it was an exciting game, as the Cowboys just fell short after trailing 23-7 in the 4th quarter.
* * * *
My Prediction: Rams 30 – Cardinals 23
Actual Score: Rams 34 – Cardinals 11
Comments: The Rams offense, led by Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp, and a balanced rushing attack, dominated Arizona as expected. More importantly for L.A., the defense stepped up, too, forcing 2 interceptions and holding the Cardinals to just 183 total yards (AZ also went 0-9 on 3rd downs). Stafford was sharp in his first-ever playoff win, throwing for 2 TDs and no interceptions on 13 of 17 for 202 yards.