Every postseason is an opportunity for a participant, coach or crew to pile on accolades, form their legacy, or maybe change the narrative. Last season, Matthew Stafford went from a quarterback with no playoff wins to at least one talked about with a possible Hall of Fame resume after guiding the Rams to a Super Bowl title.
Here’s a take a look at what’s at stake for every franchise on this 12 months’s playoff subject:
For Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs, it is all about championships. With a second MVP a digital lock, Mahomes can turn into the fifth QB in NFL historical past with a number of MVP awards and a number of championships gained as a beginning QB, together with Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Joe Montana and Johnny Unitas. Now, that is a Mount Rushmore. None of these 4 completed the feat earlier than turning 31. Mahomes is 27.
It’s additionally championship or bust for Bills Mafia. The Bills are looking for their first Super Bowl title in franchise historical past after shedding in 4 straight from the 1990-93 seasons.
Joe Burrow and Co. could make one other run to the Super Bowl, and with no top-two seed. They can turn into the primary crew to make back-to-back Super Bowl journeys with no top-two seed for the reason that playoff subject expanded to 12 groups in 1990. Burrow also can be a part of Russell Wilson as the one QBs to begin in two Super Bowls of their first three seasons.
The Jaguars are taking part in with home cash at this level, having made the playoffs after having the No. 1 total choose in every of the final two drafts. They can turn into the third crew within the widespread draft period (since 1967) to win a playoff sport after having the No. 1 total choose (1978 Oilers and 1991 Cowboys).
Justin Herbert could make a splash in his first playoff run. The Chargers have not reached the AFC championship since 2007 on the Patriots. But may his rocket arm carry the Chargers even farther? The final QB to win a Super Bowl in his first postseason journey was Brady in 2001.
The two largest knocks on Lamar Jackson can be his long-term longevity (he is missed 9 of the final 21 video games) and playoff efficiency (1-3 document, 4 whole touchdowns, seven turnovers). Assuming he can return from a knee damage that pressured him to overlook the ultimate 5 video games, he can enhance his postseason resume and make some huge cash within the course of by guiding Baltimore on a deep playoff run. Andy Dalton is the one energetic QB with a number of playoff begins and a worse playoff passer score than Jackson (68.3).
The Dolphins backed their means into the playoffs however they’re within the dance nonetheless. They are looking for their first playoff win since a 2000 wild card time beyond regulation win towards Peyton Manning’s Colts. Only the Lions (1991) have an extended energetic streak with no playoff win than Miami.
The Eagles are attempting to turn into the primary crew to win a Super Bowl with a No. 1 seed since they completed the feat in 2017. Imagine if Jalen Hurts guides them to a championship after coming into 2022 in a make-or-break 12 months? Hurts can turn into the fourth-youngest beginning QB to win a Super Bowl behind solely Ben Roethlisberger, Mahomes and Brady.
After all of the 49ers have invested at quarterback lately, can “Mr. Irrelevant,” Brock Purdy, cause them to the Super Bowl? Purdy would be the first rookie QB drafted within the seventh spherical or later of the widespread draft period to begin a playoff sport. No rookie QB has ever began a Super Bowl. The 49ers are looking for their first title since Super Bowl XXIX vs. the Chargers.
The Vikings want to show they aren’t as fraudulent as their adverse level differential this season suggests. Minnesota can turn into the fourth crew with a adverse level differential within the common season to succeed in a convention title sport, together with the 1978 Oilers, 1996 Jaguars and 2011 Giants. Minnesota hasn’t reached a Super Bowl for the reason that 1976 season, and has by no means gained a Super Bowl.
You can by no means dismiss a Brady Super Bowl run, even when Tampa Bay did end with a shedding document. But, let’s examine if they will win a sport or two first. Brady has 35 playoff wins, two shy of matching the Patriots for probably the most playoff wins of any franchise all time. He’ll doubtless need to do it as an underdog, a spot he has a 7-3 document with within the playoffs. Tampa Bay can be the primary crew to succeed in a convention title sport with a shedding document.
The strain continues to mount on the Cowboys to make their first NFC Championship Game for the reason that 1995 season, when additionally they gained a Super Bowl. The Cowboys’ 11 straight postseason appearances with no convention championship journey is the longest streak in NFL historical past. They’ll must win on the street to get there, which they have not finished within the postseason for the reason that 1992 NFC Championship Game at Candlestick Park. Their eight-game street shedding streak within the postseason trails solely the Lions (11) for the longest all time.
The Giants would love a playoff win with rookie head coach Brian Daboll after going 4-13 final season. They are looking for their first playoff win since Super Bowl XLVI towards the Patriots. They’ll be in acquainted territory as an underdog once more. They have the very best playoff document of any crew as an underdog (13-8) since 1970.
Geno Smith can proceed his Cinderella season with an enormous upset on the 49ers. Only one crew has gained a playoff sport as a double-digit underdog within the final decade. The Titans beat the Ravens 28-12 within the 2019 divisional spherical.
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