In an entertaining weekend of divisional round playoff football, four teams were eliminated, leaving four remaining teams vying for a spot in the Super Bowl. In the American Football Conference (AFC), the first game saw the top-seeded Ravens and the bottom-seeded Titans battling it out. In a stunning upset, the Tennessee Titans soundly beat the Baltimore Ravens with a final score of 28-12. The Titans have been the Cinderella team of these playoffs so far, upsetting the New England Patriots and the Ravens, both of whom were considered strong contenders to win it all. A major factor for this upset has been Titans’ running back Derrick Henry. Against the Ravens, Henry rushed for 195 yards with only 30 carries. This has been the third straight week the Henry has rushed for more than 175 yards. In a trick play, Henry also threw for a touchdown off a direct snap to add to his impressive game.
On the other side of the AFC bracket, the Kansas City Chiefs played against the Houston Texans. With 10 minutes left in the second quarter, the Chiefs were down 24-0 and the game seemed out of reach. But then, last season’s MVP Patrick Mahomes stepped up and brought his Chiefs back in the game. Mahomes threw for four touchdowns in 10 minutes to bring give the Chiefs a 28-24 lead going into halftime. In the second half, the Chiefs scored three more touchdowns and a field goal, and limited the Texans to only one touchdown to secure the win. Mahomes had 5 touchdowns on the game and tight end Travis Kelce had 134 receiving yards along with 3 touchdown receptions to seal the deal.
In the first game in the National Football Conference (NFC), the San Francisco 49ers secured a strong victory over the Minnesota Vikings. The 49ers had three key defensive starters return from injury for the game against the Vikings. Clearly, this made an impact, as the Vikings were held to only 10 points. The Niners had a strong running day, rushing for 186 yards and two touchdowns. Niners quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo threw for a touchdown and Robbie Gould added two field goals to help the Niners move on.
In the last game of the weekend, the Seattle Seahawks faced the Green Bay Packers for the last chance to perform in championship weekend. Green Bay started the game strong, building a 21-3 lead as the first half ended. Russell Wilson and the Seahawks then came marching back to bring the game to 28-23, but the Packers defense held up and forced the Seahawks to give up the ball and seal the game. Running back Aaron Jones and receiver Devante Adams had two touchdowns each for the Packers, with Adams having 160 receiving yards off of eight catches. The two-seed Packers will play one-seed Niners for the NFC championship, and the six-seed Titans will play the two-seed Chiefs for the AFC championship. The winners from both these games will then advance to play each other in Super Bowl LIV on Feb. 2.