Sunday’s turn of events were quite monumental for the NFL causing the entire scope of my playoff bracket to change after the loss of Philadelphia Eagles’ quarterback Carson Wentz.
So much for Philadelphia taking the Lombardi!
But now all bets are on for a Pittsburgh Steelers team who have a lot to fight for this season in honor of their star linebacker Ryan Shazier. Their performance against the Baltimore Ravens in primetime proved how they respond to adversity and how their offense can compete against a top defense.
Ben Roethlisberger had a record setting game completing 44 of his 66 pass attempts for 506 yards and two touchdowns. It seems as if the AFC North teams always compete better with a chip on their shoulder and I’m a firm believer in the “Steel Curtain.”
To say the New England Patriots passed the “eye test” to compete for the Lombardi this season would have been validated if it wasn’t for their performance against their division rival on Monday Night.
The Patriots looked flat, like Kyrie Irving’s sentiments of the earth and Tom Brady looked more like a Tom Savage in this embarrassing showdown. He was intercepted twice by Miami Dolphins’ Xavien Howard and recorded his worst passer rating of the season. Another stinger to add to the defending Super Bowl Champions is that they were unable to convert on third down.
That performance cannot continue on Sunday when the Patriots face the Steelers at Heinz Field but it’ll certainly give us a sneak preview of the AFC Championship game.
Evaluating the NFC, the Carolina Panthers have been a funky story line that has caught my attention all season and for once it’s not because of Cam Newton’s post game antics.
With the game tied at 24, Newton led his team to a fourth quarter game winning drive against the Minnesota Vikings’ top ranked defense on Sunday. The last time he had a fourth quarter game winning drive was in 2015 and that was the last time Carolina made a Super Bowl appearance.
Taking a look at my bracket, that narrative seems all too familiar and the pieces are definitely lining up for this Carolina team to head to the Super Bowl.