Justin Baltes and Heyden Kudelko – Mustangs Ahead

(LAKEWOOD RANCH, FL) – LRHS Mustangs are excited for the upcoming National Football League (NFL) playoffs.

This is likely due to the variety of young stars and winning veterans involved.  Additionally, all of Florida’s professional teams, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Miami Dolphins and Jacksonville Jaguars, qualified for the post-season.

LRHS sophomore Dominick Kerman said, “I think the Bills will play the Chiefs in the AFC championship game and the Bills will win 28-24 while the 49ers will play the Eagles in the NFC championship game and the 49ers will win 31-14.”

 The first game of the playoffs is the second seeded San Francisco 49ers vs the seventh seeded Seattle Seahawks. On paper the 49ers are heavily favored with the better defense allowing only 16.5 points per game.

The two times these teams have faced each other the 49ers have won both games by at least a touchdown.

The next National Football Conference (NFC) wild card game is the sixth seeded New York Giants vs the third seeded Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings are coming off a win against the Chicago Bears. The score didn’t reflect the overall play of the game, the Vikings were looking very dominant.

With the momentum of the win the Vikings are considered favorites.

The Giants are coming into the game with a loss against the top-seeded Eagles with backup quarterback Gardner Minshew.

The last game of the NFC Wild card is the fourth seeded Buccaneers vs the fifth seeded Dallas Cowboys.

The Dallas Cowboys, despite being 12-5, are the away team because the Buccaneers won the NFC South division. The Cowboys are led by quarterback Dak Prescott.

The Buccaneers, despite having a losing record (8-9), made the playoffs. Because the Buccaneers won the NFC South, they have the home field advantage despite the worse record.  

Many experts are favoring the Dallas Cowboys to win even though, in a matchup this season the Buccaneers won 19-3.  

Across the league in the American Football Conference (AFC) the conference favorites are the Cincinnati Bengals led by Joe Burrow, The Kansas City Chiefs led by Patrick Mahomes and the Buffalo Bills led by Josh Allen.

Although the AFC juggernauts seem unbeatable, there is a solid shot amongst all teams.

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Some sleeper teams who could make deep runs include the Los Angeles Chargers, whose quarterback Justin Herbert is making his first playoff start alongside star running back Austin Ekeler.  The Chargers will play the Jaguars.

Another dark horse team in the AFC are the Dolphins, who are in the playoffs for the first time since 2016.  However, the longevity of their post season depends on the consistency of their defense and if star quarter back Tua Tagovailoa is cleared to play from injury.

The playoffs begin Saturday, Jan. 14 and fans and players alike can’t wait for the post-season and journey to crown a Superbowl champion to begin.