Wildcard weekend continues into the second day with another two mouth watering match ups.
Los Angeles Chargers @ Baltimore Ravens – Monday 5.05am (AEDT)
This game throws up the AFC North Champion Ravens against the upstart Chargers who won two more games than their opponent in the regular season, but could only get a wildcard after losing the AFC West to the Chiefs by tie-breaker.
It’s the third consecutive playoff game for the weekend where the two teams have played each other in the regular season. This one however was only a couple of weeks ago where the Ravens won in LA 22-10.
On that day the difference was rookie Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson, who had 204 passing yards and a touchdown and 39 rushing yards.
Los Angeles QB Phil Rivers had two picks on the day and running back Melvin Gordon had just 41 yards on 12 carries, but did score on one of them.
His fitness is a major worry for the Chargers.
The Ravens overcame a plucky Browns team to clinch the division last week and are a well coached team, in form on both sides of the ball. They will be hoping to get off to a good start and control things through their running game.
They are also playing at home at a very early time for the Chargers coming from the west coast
Baltimore 24 Los Angeles 17 – Ravens move on to play New England in the Divisional Round
Philadelphia Eagles @ Chicago Bears – Monday 8.40am (AEDT)
Philadelphia is now playing with house money coming off the back of its Super Bowl victory eleven months ago.
A team that’s season was seemingly drowning at 4-6 in a mix of injury, bad luck, poor form and bad officiating is headed back to the playoffs, which makes this season a success no matter what happens this weekend.
There is something magic about Nick Foles and he can head into this game with a lot of confidence.
But he is banged up having left both of the last two games through injury.
This weeks Foles and the Eagles offence comes up against the best defence in the NFL. They were already a great defence before they added Khalil Mack after Oakland inexplicably traded him earlier in the season.
Foles’ passing game will be key and he has plenty of weapons, including Alshon Jeffrey, Nelson Agholor and Zach Ertz that have all been playing well of late.
The Bears’ offence isn’t half bad either. The Eagles defence which itself has been getting back to its Super Bowl form in recent weeks will need to stop the run game of Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen.
They will look to make Mitchell Trubisky beat them, which is a dangerous game to play as their secondary is down to players that envoke memories of Rocky coming in off the street to the big time.
A 12-4 record and a divisional win in a division that includes the Vikings and Packers is no mean feat.
But the Eagles are a team of destiny and that will carry them through another week.
At least that’s what I am hoping!
Philadelphia 27 Chicago 23 – Eagles move on to play the Saints in the Divisional Round