My thoughts on all 32 NFL franchises ahead of the chaotic 2021 off-season conclude today with thoughts on the eight teams from NFC south and west divisions.
There are concussions, GOAT discussions and Super Bowl repercussions, as some of the NFL’s biggest names go head-to-head on Monday.
Here’s the race to the top.
1. Kansas City Chiefs (15-2) versus 2. Buffalo Bills (15-3)
Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City
Monday 25 January
Kick off 10.40am (AEDT)
It’s down to the number one and number two seeds in the AFC, but the real question is will Patrick Mahomes play? He was already hobbling with turf toe in the divisional round against Cleveland before an awkward-looking tackle sent him face-first into the ground and he was clearly groggy afterwards.
Having kept tabs on the situation all week, he looks as though he will go through the appropriate protocols and play. Buffalo struggled offensively against the Ravens, but their defence really stood tall and will look to try and repeat the dose against a potentially slowed Mahomes, or even Chad Henne. They’re also expecting it to be cold with a few showers on game day. I can’t wait!
1. Green Bay Packers (14-3) versus 5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (13-5)
Lambeau Field, Green Bay
Monday 25 January
Kick off 7.05am (AEDT)
Number 12 will definitely be going to the Super Bowl. Whether that is Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady remains to be seen, but it should be a cracking game. Rodgers and the Pack won comfortably against the Rams last week, while leaving plenty in the tank. Tampa Bay’s defence really turned up in New Orleans and more than likely sent Drew Brees off to retirement with a devastating loss.
Linebacker Devin White was absolutely outstanding and they will look to get even better with the return of defensive tackle Vita Vea, who has been out since Week 5, as the Bucs attempt to be the first ever NFL team to play a Super Bowl in their home stadium. On the Packers’ side, Allen Lazard, Za’Darius Smith and kicker Mason Crosby should play, but have also been limited in practice. It should be a beauty, so who have you got?
Philip Rivers has announced his retirement after a 17-year career, where he has amassed the fifth most passing yards (63,440) and fifth most touchdown passes (421) in NFL history. All that while never winning a Super Bowl and coining the phrase “Dadgummit!”
Former Washington quarterback Dwayne Haskins has signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers, as an upgrade to the quarterback spot and maybe Ben Roethlisberger’s successor.
Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson still seems hell bent on playing elsewhere next season, causing any number of teams to start dreaming up trade scenarios for the superstar.
The Detroit Lions signed new head coach Dan Campbell to a six-year deal, which he kicked off by swearing at his introductory press conference and suggested his team “will bite a kneecap off” their opposition. Now that’s how you do a press conference!