What we learned from the 2023 NFL Playoffs Round Day 2: Cowboys fold again, Bengals dangerous

The subsequent wave of the NFL playoffs has swept us. The divisional spherical kicked off Saturday with a pair of normal season video games – the heads edging on Jaguar With the troubled Patrick Mahomes, and the Eagles scroll on giants to brush their collection in 2022. On Sunday, the AFC and NFC championship video games had been determined due to the weekend’s slate ultimate matches, with Bengals Steerage Invoicesand the 49ers edging on Cowboys.

Listed here are some rapid, large takeaways from day two of the Divisional Spherical:

The 49ers want their protection to carry them

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San Francisco obtained the job completed to safe a visit to the NFC title sport, however not primarily as a result of Kyle Shanahan’s offense was firing on all cylinders. George Keitel actually excelled, simply as Travis Kelsey did for the Chiefs on Saturday. And Brock Purdy a minimum of did not flip the ball round. However the rookie quarterback was extra distracting than ordinary, pocketed within the face of a very good move rush, and arguably a greater unit awaited in Philadelphia. Shanahan’s situational decision-making additionally left quite a bit to be desired, as he performed it secure on a number of events. All that mentioned, stingy “D” DeMeco Ryans actually looks like the catalyst who’s on the highway for an opportunity on the Tremendous Bowl. He would have the entrance seven to dunk Jalen Hurts and get a “W.”

Prescott, McCarthy was not constructed for the large stage

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Mike McCarthy owns a Tremendous Bowl ring from his time in Inexperienced Bay, and it’ll by no means be stripped away. However as head coach of Dallas, he has now overseen two consecutive 12-to-5 groups that didn’t advance previous the divisional spherical. Not solely that, however after having one sport in opposition to San Francisco in 2021, he turned extra conservative on the important thing factors on Sunday, choosing a late discipline objective reasonably than making an attempt fourth down whereas trailing by seven, and kicking the ball large. with minutes remaining. His design for the ultimate play was additionally thematically humorous, asking Ezekiel Elliott to function Duck Prescott’s solely blocker as a substitute of ordering the normal Hail Mary. Prescott, in the meantime, could possibly be extra outrageous, throwing a few ugly catches, practically taking the protection on the ultimate drive and usually trying on the mark. Seven years later, it is now 2-4 in playoff video games.

The Bengals, not the Payments, are the Chiefs’ largest risk

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Who Dey Nation has most likely advised you this earlier than, however Sunday’s sport confirmed it: Joe Burrow is the most important factor standing in Patrick Mahomes’ approach within the AFC. That is true not solely as a result of Burrow is 3-0 by killer numbers in his profession in opposition to Kansas Metropolis, however as a result of in three seasons, he is already surpassed Payments star Josh Allen on the large stage, enhancing his playoff file to 5-1 and securing a second look within the title sport. Asian for a number of years. Allen is the closest factor to Mahomes when it comes to off-script playmaking, however Burrow’s imaginative and prescient, together with Sensei’s deep receiver crew and bodily protection, prevails. With Mahomes banged in KCChiefs cannot relaxation simple.

Buffalo wants assist in the again finish, on the again finish

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The Payments should stay within the major spherical dialog so long as Josh Allen is at heart. However the MVP candidate nonetheless places plenty of balls in hurt’s approach whereas drawing on his pure abilities. Greater than that, it was evident in Sunday’s heavy loss to the Bengals that Buffalo requires renewed weapons and/or technique on the bottom and within the secondary. Allen had no assist in the operating sport in opposition to Cincy, as Devin Singletary and James Prepare dinner had been no-factors, and gamers like Tre’Davious White and Jordan Poyer had been hit deep earlier than strolling out with accidents. After two years of flirting with the Tremendous Bowl present, maybe it is time for a deeper expertise shake-up.

Sean McDermott continues to be trying

There is not any doubt the coach helped flip Buffalo right into a perennial contender: They’ve gone from 47 to 18, with 4 consecutive playoff appearances, since 2019. However even with the rise of Josh Allen and loads of funding in protection, his Payments have now fallen brief. in progress. Divisional spherical playoffs in 5 of McDermott’s six seasons on the helm. It did not assist that Buffalo was fully outplayed and handed at house in Sunday’s loss, when the Payments had been surprisingly conservative on a number of fourth-downer selections and obtained just a little creativity from coordinators Ken Dorsey and Leslie Frazier.

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