To start off the divisional weekend, Matt Ryan and the Atlanta falcons came ready to play against Nick Foles and the Eagles in Philadelphia.
Despite having the lead at the half, the Falcons managed to blow another lead as their defense allowed field goal kicker Jake Elliot, who was the team’s leading scorer that night, into field goal range, and ended the game with a final score of 15-10 with an Eagles victory.
“I thought for sure that they would win by at least 10 points,” says Aaron Ramirez, a local Falcons fan and starting right tackle for the COHS football team. “Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out like that. You can’t always win every single game. Hopefully, we’ll be able to make it to the Super Bowl next year.”
The mood was entirely different, however, for the friendly neighborhood Eagles fan Jonjairo Gonzalez.
“I never doubted my team! I’ve said it from day one that we’re going to the Super Bowl this year, no matter what,” Gonzalez said.
What’s new for the New England Patriots? A seventh-straight trip to the AFC Championship game, that is. For future Hall of Fame quarterback, Tom Brady, it seemed as if it was just another day at practice against Marcus Mariota and the Tennessee Titans. Brady passed for 337 yards and three touchdowns. Not bad for a 40-year-old quarterback.
It wasn’t as great of a night for the Tennessee defense, however. Besides Brady’s performance, the Titans were unable to lock down wide receiver Danny Amendola, who had 11 receptions for 112 yards.
“It wasn’t even a challenge. It was a walk through. I definitely expected them to blow them all out,” says Patriots enthusiast Marlon Solis. “Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback of all time. Hands down.”
The Patriots ended the game with a final score of 35-14 in their favor. Earlier in the week, the Pittsburgh Steeler’s star running back Le’Veon Bell posted on Twitter: “I love round 2’s… we’ll have two round 2’s in back to back weeks…”
In addition, Steeler’s safety Mike Mitchell said to the media: “We can play them in hell, we can play them in Haiti. We can play them in New England. We’re gonna win.”
Obviously, they were focused more on a rematch with the Patriots, who had defeated them during the regular season with a final score of 27-24, than they were with their divisional matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Pittsburgh defense was unable to stop rookie running back Leonard Fournette, who had quite a game with 25 carries for 109 yards, as well as scoring three touchdowns.
Despite having the best cornerback duo in the league with Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye, Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger managed to have a great game, recording 469 yards with five touchdowns and an interception. At the end of the day, it wasn’t enough to defeat the beast that is Jacksonville’s defense. The Jaguars emerged victorious with a final score of 45-42. The final game in the divisional weekend was war. Future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints took on the Minnesota Vikings, who have the #1 rated defense led by cornerback Xavier Rhodes.
Minnesota’s defense managed to keep the Saints offense silent by shutting them out for the first half. However, a touchdown pass from Brees to star second-year wide receiver Michael Thomas got the momentum going for New Orleans. With 25 seconds left in the game, Saints field goal kicker Wil Lutz kicked a 43-yard field goal to give New Orleans the lead with a score of 24-23.
The game, as well as the as the Viking’s season, seemed as if it was over. It was everything but. On the final play, with the game on the line, Vikings quarterback Case Keenum threw a 61 yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Stefon Diggs to win the game with a final score of 29-24. It was a Minneapolis miracle! So what happens now? Well, the Jacksonville Jaguars will play the New England Patriots for the AFC Championship, and the Philadelphia Eagles will play the Minnesota Vikings for the NFC Championship.