With Tom Brady retired for good, Patrick Mahomes stands out among NFL quarterbacks. Entering the divisional playoffs this weekend, the Kansas City Chiefs quarterback is the only signal caller in the league with two Super Bowl wins. In fact, recent sports updates show that out of the eight starting quarterbacks left in the playoffs, he is one of only two — along with Detroit’s Jared Goff — who has started in the Super Bowl.
But there is a real sense among people who follow the league that the tides are starting to change. The Chiefs are still dangerous but aren’t viewed as a favorite to win the Super Bowl like in years past. Kansas City will have a stiff test this week against the Buffalo Bills, who rallied down the stretch to win the AFC East Division.
Veteran quarterbacks who don’t play with the teams who drafted them, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Baker Mayfield and Goff, will face off in a redemption bowl. First-time playoff starting quarterbacks C.J. Stroud and Jordan Love shined on the big stage for the Houston Texans and Green Bay Packers, respectively.
With the Baltimore Ravens ready to crash the playoff party with former MVP Lamar Jackson under center and NFC No. 1 seed San Francisco ready to join the mix, the divisional playoffs should feature some fun football. This is a playoff field filled with quarterbacks who haven’t yet stamped their names in the NFL history books for postseason glory.
The opportunity to join that exclusive club is something all eight teams can aspire to. There isn’t a clear-cut favorite left in the field to bring home the Lombardi Trophy.
Mahomes Has a New Challenge
Mahomes has a common denominator for all 12 AFC playoff games he played during his career. Every one of those contests, including a 26-7 win over the Miami Dolphins last Saturday, was played at home in Arrowhead Stadium. But that is all set to change this weekend for Kansas City.
Mahomes will be forced to take his show on the road and attempt to win at Buffalo. The Chiefs have won their previous two playoff games against Buffalo, the last of which came in the 2022 divisional round. The Bills appeared like they weren’t even going to make the playoffs at times this season.
The Bills fell to 6-6 on the season following a 37-34 overtime loss to Philadelphia on Nov. 26. Since then, Buffalo has reeled off six straight victories, including a 31-17 win over Pittsburgh in the playoffs last week. Suddenly, Bills quarterback Josh Allen appears to be righting the ship. Allen, who averaged nearly two turnovers per game during the regular season, didn’t give the ball away against the aggressive Steelers.
Black sports news shows Mahomes will need the Chiefs’ receivers to find their mojo in order to steal a win on the road.
Jackson Wants to Silence Critics
Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is usually recognized by many as one of the most dynamic players to line up under center. He can run. He can pass. The question for Jackson is, can he win in the playoffs?
Jackson is 1-4 during his career in the playoffs. Baltimore hasn’t been in the playoffs since 2021, when the Ravens bowed out in the divisional round against the Buffalo Bills. But the Ravens brought in a new offensive coordinator this past offseason and appeared to be a more dynamic team.
The Ravens closed the season in style, picking up big wins over the 49ers and Dolphins to cement the No. 1 seed. Baltimore now has to deal with an up-and-coming star in Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud.
The moment didn’t look too big for Stroud last week. During his first-ever playoff start, Houston’s rookie quarterback tossed three touchdown passes in a win over the Cleveland Browns. The Texans have never made the AFC Championship game and will be eager to spring an upset over Baltimore.
Lions Must Follow Up Historic Win
Detroit has to feel it is in a good place to win consecutive playoff games. The Buccaneers only finished the regular season 9-8 and had to weather some up-and-down play from Mayfield. But doubting Mayfield, who has now guided the Browns and Buccaneers to playoff wins, may not be a smart tack to take.
He is a confident thrower who is willing to take chances. Detroit’s passing defense had difficulty keeping the Rams contained last week. The Lions do have a reliable running game, and Goff has the experience needed to win big games. Current sports updates show that Goff took the Rams to the Super Bowl a few seasons ago.
Love Tries to Tame Mr. Irrelevant
Last season, San Francisco 49ers Brock Purdy took the league by storm. Before he got banged up in the NFC Divisional round last season, Purdy looked like a man who could guide the 49ers to a Super Bowl. While San Francisco fell short last season, the 49ers had a bye this season to rest and will take on the No. 7 seed Green Bay Packers.
Drawing the Packers may not be the best scenario for San Francisco. Love has the look of a breakthrough star, much like Purdy was last season. During the first round, Love threw three touchdown passes against the Dallas Cowboys to help Green Bay pull off an upset win.
The Packers have also been fighting for their lives for a month and a half. Green Bay had to string wins together to make the playoffs. San Francisco hasn’t played in two weeks after ending the regular season with a bye. Love would like to live up to the lineage of Aaron Rodgers and Brett Favre immediately before him by taking Green Bay to the Super Bowl.
The Packers will have a stiff challenge ahead of them. However, Green Bay was also a big underdog against Dallas but came through with a victory.
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Written by Dean McHugh.