After a strange regular season, it is finally time for the NFL Playoffs. The 2020-2021 NFL season has been full of postponements and many positive COVID-19 tests. Despite these challenges, the postseason is underway.
The Cleveland Browns pulled off what had seemed impossible for 18 years. The Browns finished the regular season with a record of 11-5. The last time the Browns had a winning record was 2007. This year the Browns clinched a spot in the playoffs with a Week 17 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. The following weekend, the Browns pulled off another upset over the Steelers in the Wild Card Round, 48-37. The team managed to make it to the divisional round without head coach, Kevin Stefanski, after he tested positive for COVID-19.
The Kansas City Chiefs return to the playoffs after winning Super Bowl LIV. The Chiefs lead the AFC with a record of 14-2. Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes passed for 4,740 yards during the regular season, and threw for 38 touchdowns.
In the divisional round, the Browns’ miracle season sadly came to an end, after a 22-17 loss to the Chiefs. Despite throwing for 204 yards, Baker Mayfield was not able to bring his team back after being down 19-3 in the first quarter. Browns’ head coach Kevin Stefanski said, “It stings,” about Sunday’s loss. The Chiefs will now face the Bills in the AFC Championship.
Like the Browns, the Bills also ended a long drought during wildcard play. They won their first playoff game in 24 seasons with a 27-24 victory over the Colts. Bills quarterback Josh Allen became the youngest quarterback to throw 300 yards in a playoff game with a 70% completion rate.
The Ravens came back from a 10 point deficit in their wildcard game against the Titans. This was Ravens’ quarterback Lamar Jackson’s first playoff victory. Jackson ran for 136 yards and passed for 315. The Ravens finished the regular season with a record of 12-5.
The Bills were able to advance to their first AFC Championship game since 1994. Buffalo was able to secure a 17-3 victory over the Ravens. The Bills were tied with the Ravens with 3 each at the half and were able to pull away in the third quarter. “I can’t say enough words for what that game was for our defense,” Josh Allen quoted. The Bills defense kept the Ravens to 150 running yards.
The Packers advanced to the NFC Championship game after beating the LA Rams 32-18. Aaron Rodgers threw for 2 touchdowns and ran for 1. The Packers will face the Tom Brady led Buccaneers after Tampa Bay won over the Saints, 30-20. The winner of this game will face the AFC Champion in Super Bowl LV on February 7.