Road to the Superbowl


Getty Images/iStockphoto

Crowd clapping on the podium of the stadium

The NFL Playoffs were heated when heading into the conference championship games and we are only about two weeks away from the 57th Super Bowl. It’s time to recap the final four teams, as well as the teams that fell just short of the four, and their road to the super bowl.

The Final Four

The Kansas City Chiefs, led by Patrick Mahomes, have been on fire recently, despite trading their #1 wide receiver to the Dolphins. Mahomes has led himself to an MVP campaign with 5,250 yards and 41 touchdowns, leading the team to a 14-3 record and the first seed. They played the Jacksonville Jaguars in the divisional and won with a score of 27-17, but with Mahomes’ status up in the air and the red-hot Bengals, they have their doubters. The Chiefs sat as the 3rd team projected to win the super bowl with +290 heading into the AFC championship game against the Bengals and Burrow, the latter of which the Chiefs have never beaten.

The Philadelphia Eagles shocked the world by going 8-0 earlier in the season— and most of that was from the efforts of their quarterback Jalen Hurts. Despite being injured for multiple games, Hurts has managed to rack up an impressive MVP campaign with 3,701 passing yards and 760 rushing yards for a total of 35 touchdowns. He has led this team to an impressive 14-3 record and the #1 seed in the National Football Conference. After the bye, they proved the doubters wrong and blew out the New York Giants off with a victory against the Vikings. They should’ve had no worries heading into the NFC championship against the 49ers. They sat as the highest projected team to win the super bowl with +250 odds.

The Cincinnati Bengals started off on a slump early in the season at 1-2, but have quickly turned that around into arguably the best team in the NFL, led by MVP candidate and quarterback Joe Burrow. Burrow, who went through the regular season with 4,475 yards and 35 touchdowns, has led the team to a 12-4 record (excluding one game due to the Damar Hamlin situation). They went to the Super Bowl last year, and just barely lost to the Rams 23-20. They are looking to avenge their loss and go back to the super bowl and the momentum is on their side, with a wild card victory over the Ravens, and an upset over the original projected super bowl favorites, the Buffalo Bills. They face the Chiefs in the AFC Championship in a rematch from last year in which they won. They sat with +260 odds to win the super bowl making them the AFC favorites.

The San Francisco 49ers started off the season badly with a 1-2 record and their starting QB Trey Lance getting injured for the season. Things seemed to turn around when Jimmy Garoppolo, their former starting QB for 5 years, began to win games for them, but he soon went down with an injury too. No one expected Brock Purdy, the last pick in the draft, to go in and bring the 49ers to the championship— but that’s exactly what happened. Purdy has not lost a game, and despite only playing 6 regular season games, has 1,374 yards and 13 touchdowns. He has not looked back and brought a team full of talent to a 13-4 record and currently have the 4th best odds to win the super bowl with +330. They beat the Cowboys this past month in a close affair, but will Purdy keep his streak and beat the Eagles in the NFC championship?

Falling Short

The NFL playoffs feature the best of the best, but sometimes teams make crucial mistakes and aren’t so lucky. These are the teams that won their wild card games but didn’t last in the divisional round.

The Buffalo Bills were the Super Bowl favorites, heading into the playoffs with MVP candidate Josh Allen at the helm and an awesome defense that lead them to 13-3 record and narrowly beat the Miami Dolphins in the wild card. Unfortunately, injuries and other mistakes cost them their game against the Bengals in the divisional, losing 27-10 and sending the Bills home for yet another year.

The Jacksonville Jaguars, led by former #1 pick Trevor Lawrence, went from the worst team in the league for two consecutive years to a playoff team; despite starting 2-6 they ended 9-8. In the wild card against the Chargers, they came back from a 27-0 lead and beat the Chargers in one of the biggest comebacks in playoff history. However, they fell short against the Kansas City Chiefs in the divisional.

The New York Giants, led by Daniel Jones, proved everyone wrong this season with new head coach Brian Daboll leading the way for one of the worst teams in the league to be a playoff team. They ended the season 9-7-1, and even beat the Minnesota Vikings in the wild card 31-24. Everything pointed to an upset against the Eagles in the divisional, but the opposite happened and they ended the season on a low mark— getting blown out 38-7.

The Dallas Cowboys, led by Dak Prescott, had an interesting season to say the least, but they still had their fans entering into the playoffs. Things looked good as they broke their road playoff game losing streak, blowing out the Buccaneers 31-14 and potentially retiring Tom Brady. The Cowboys have a history of doing well in the regular season but falling apart in the playoffs, and despite keeping it close, that history continued with them falling short against the 49ers 19-12.

NFC Championship Game

The San Francisco 49ers vs the Philadelphia Eagles for the NFC championship, and a victory promises a Super Bowll run. Both teams had their doubters, but they continued to prove them wrong with the Eagles stomping the Giants and the 49ers going undefeated with Mr. Irrelevant. It was interesting to see both top defenses in the league and top offenses going at it, but the 49ers offense collapsed and the Eagles offense soared, destroying them 31-7. The 49ers set their franchise record for most consecutive wins in a season as they entered the game with a 12 game win streak, and most of that is thanks to an all around good team. The Eagles were 8-0 at the start of the season, but despite a few losses, they’re still the team to beat with an explosive offense and good defense. The Eagles were the favorites by 2.5 points.

AFC Championship Game

The Kansas City Chiefs vs the Cincinnati Bengals was a rematch of last year’s AFC Championship game, with Burrow and the Bengals coming out on top 27-24. The Chiefs have never been about to contain Burrow, and have never beaten him despite facing off 3 times— but this is a very eager to win Chiefs team against a very eager to win Bengals team, and in the end, the Chiefs come out on top 23-20. The Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes are looking to get their second ring together, with the last being in 2019 and their last Super Bowl appearance in 2020 ultimately falling short to Tom Brady and the Bucaneers— but this team is not backing down and they’re sure to give it their all, even with Mahomes’ status in the air. The Cincinatti Bengals had their fair share of down moments, but going from one of the worst teams in the league to being in the Super Bowl in 2021 was quite impressive. This is a new Bengals team led by Joe Burrow, and they wanted to avenge their Super Bowl loss but came short just again. The Bengals were the 1 point favorites.

The road to the Super Bowl is just heating up, and these teams are gonna absolutely play every minute to try to get there— but there can only be one winner of the two, and they will be determined on Super Bowl Sunday.