We now have the final four set in the 2020-21 NFL season, as four teams had their season ended this past weekend. Though most of the games didn't come down to the wire like many people expected, there are plenty of things to talk about for each game that was played. I'll be discussing the highlights and results of each matchup, as well as the outlooks on both the winners and losers of the contests.
Los Angeles Rams 18, Green Bay Packers 32
This game stayed close for most of the first half, but once Green Bay went up two scores with less than four minutes left in the second quarter, it felt like it was basically over. Jared Goff, to his credit, did lead the Rams down to cut the deficit to six with 30 seconds left, but it only took two plays for Aaron Rodgers to get within Mason Crosby's field goal range, making the score 19-10 at halftime. The Packers notched another touchdown to start the third quarter, and the score remained 25-10 until just before the start of the fourth, when Cam Akers scampered into the end zone and then caught a 2-point conversion to make it a one score game. Rodgers threw a bomb to Allen Lazard from 58 yards out midway through the fourth quarter, and the 32-18 score held up until the end.
It was a glorious weekend of football, one that will be capped off tonight with the College Football Playoff National Championship game. The six NFL playoff games played across Saturday and Sunday made me wish every weekend was Wild Card Weekend. However, only six of the twelve teams could advance into the next round where the conference leaders will join in. There were some intriguing storylines in each matchup, and I'll be discussing each of those matchups here.
First, I want to pay my respects and give my condolences to Pittsburgh Steelers fans. Your team's soul was snatched from its proverbial body last night to a team that hadn't won in Pittsburgh for 17 years. RIP.
NFL Playoff Predictions
It's playoff time, and there's nothing more fun for sports fans to do than try to predict a tournament's outcome before it begins. That's what the boys at Bucket Squad Sports Reports are going to do. Each of our bracket predictions will be posted below, including the winner of every game and a prediction for the Super Bowl's final score and MVP. There will be a scoring system to track the winner of our contest, with correct picks in deeper rounds being worth more points. The scoring will be as follows:
Any ties at the end will be broken with our Super Bowl final score prediction. May the best man win.
Final NFL Rankings: 1-32
The regular season is in the books, and it was a season filled with chaos up until the final seconds ticked off on Sunday night, when the Eagles curiously pulled their starters to practically give Washington the NFC East title and a trip to the playoffs. I've been ranking every team in the league from first to worst just about every four weeks of the season and tracking their movement from each post to the last. This time, I think it would be fun to compare my final rankings to my first rankings I did three weeks into the season to see if I was anywhere near correct in my initial list. Surprisingly, except for a few outliers, my original predictions were quite accurate.
You'll see two rank tracking numbers next to each team's name on the list. The first will show the difference from my week 13 rankings and the second will show the difference from my initial rankings. While I tried not to pay that much attention to win/loss records up until now in an effort to make each squad's position based off on-the-field performance alone, I think the use of the records are more justified now to be appropriate reflections of a team's performance over the course of a 16 game schedule. So, let's get into it.
1. Kansas City Chiefs (14-2) - No Change (NC), NC
Expert Nick Swatson discusses all the news, predictions, and outcomes surrounding the NFL.