An exciting weekend of divisional playoff football has arrived, with Philadelphia Eagles crush on San Francisco 49ers The Kansas City Chiefs will host the Cincinnati Bengals in the NFC Championship Game and the AFC Championship Game.

It has the two best teams in the NFC to compete for the right to go to the Super Bowl and last year’s AFC title game as a nightcap between the conference’s two best quarterback teams. Next Sunday will be the best of the NFL.

Before we look too far into the matchups, the group stage has provided plenty of answers that need to be addressed this week. Which are overreactions and which are fact checks?

of Bengals Saved conference championship weekend

Overreaction or reality; fact

Let’s be honest. The neutral site of the NFL was salivating at the prospect of the championship game Kansas City Chiefs And Buffalo Bills. A sellout of 50,000 tickets to Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta by Chiefs and Bills fans could set the stage for future neutral-site conference championship games, if the Bills beat the Bengals.

Thanks to Cincinnati’s trotting Buffaloes in Orchard Park, the NFL will never get the beta test they want. If the NFL moves to independent site conference championship games, the league will have no viewing data to make it a reality.

Thanks Bengal for making that happen. The world doesn’t know what a neutral space championship game looks like.

Overreaction or reality; Overreaction

Prescott wasn’t great in Sunday’s loss to the 49ers, completing 23 of 37 passes for 206 yards with one touchdown (63.6 rating). This was yet another poor divisional round performance from Prescott, who still failed to lead the Cowboys to the conference championship game.

That performance can’t be solely on Prescott, as the Cowboys had 76 rushing yards and just 3.5 yards per carry. Once Dallas lost Tony Pollard to a sprained ankle, the offense scored just six points on six second-half possessions, going 146 yards on 33 plays (4.4 yards per game).

Prescott wasn’t great in the second half either, going 11 of 21 for 125 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions (70.5 rating). He did nothing to win the Cowboys, not what Dallas is paying him for $40 million a year.

At the end of the day, the Cowboys are stuck with Prescott’s contract. Prescott still gives them their best chance to win because owner/general manager Jerry Jones will try to find a salary-inflated roster or find a new coach to get the most out of Prescott (although Jones says McCarthy’s job is safe).

Anyway, the end result can be the same.

Brock Purdy struggles with the Eagles pass rush

Overreaction or reality; fact

Purdy wasn’t great under pressure in Sunday’s win, going 3 of 11 for 24 yards with a 39.6 passer rating. When Purdy flashed, he went 3 of 6 for 38 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions and a 70.1 passer rating.

The Cowboys only had two sacks and four quarterback hits, but were able to pressure Purdy throughout the game. That was enough to stymie and unseat Purdy, limiting the 49ers’ offense to just 19 points (he averaged 34.8 points per game in the six previous games against Purdy).

Purdy deserves a lot of credit for not making the critical mistake Prescott did, which is why the 49ers are making progress. He will face the Eagles pass rusher next week, who has 75 sacks this season (including the postseason). If Purdy continues to play trans-over-free football, his numbers against pressure won’t matter.

Regardless, the Eagles’ pass rush will be the best pass rush Purdy has faced all year — and he faced it well Sunday.

Joe Burrow is the best quarterback in the AFC.

Overreaction or reality; Overreaction

This could easily become a reality, especially as Burrow continues to dominate the Chiefs and Bills. Burrow led the Bengals to Buffalo — on the ice — and dominated the Bills, completing 23 of 36 passes for 242 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions (101.9 rating). Barrow has more sacks (five) than any quarterback in the NFL over the past two years, and is in just his third season in the league.

So why isn’t Burrow the best quarterback? He has never gone 3-0 against Patrick Mahomes in his career and last year in Kansas City in the AFC Championship Game. Burrow’s Josh Allen wins the game against Mahomes on the road. He has never lost an AFC playoff game.

Mahomes is set to win his second league MVP, has a Super Bowl title, and has led Kansas City to the conference championship game in five straight seasons — all at home. He will become the first quarterback to win two MVPs and a Super Bowl before turning 30.

If Burrow beats Mahomes next week, he will be the AFC’s best quarterback for a long time. It’s already on its way to legendary status.

Losing Von Miller was a death sentence for the Bills’ season.

Overreaction or reality; fact

The Bills brought in Miller for those key postseason moments, getting critical pressure on Patrick Mahomes and Joe Burroughs to send Buffalo to the Super Bowl. Miller missed the postseason (torn ACL) and the Bills’ pass rush was hurt.

Buffalo hasn’t been good at getting to the quarterback and that showed in Sunday’s divisional round loss to Cincinnati. The Bills only had 12 pressures and a sack against Burrows, which isn’t great considering the Bengals have two backup tackles and a backup right guard (3/5 of their offensive line was protected).

Burrow was rarely hit in the game (just three times) and had a relatively easy day in the pocket. The Bills didn’t even get to Burrow until much of the afternoon, allowing him to call the game and connect on several big plays. Worse, the Bills dominated the run defense as Cincinnati rushed for 172 yards and averaged 5.1 yards per carry.

There are a lot of concerns with this Bills team, but this team needs Miller to make a deep postseason run. With Miller gone for the year, the pass rush is almost non-existent.

Lane Johnson is a real key to the Eagles’ Super Bowl hopes.

Overreaction or reality; fact

That’s not even close to Jalen Hurts, who is 15-1 in his last 16 games and a top-five quarterback in the league. The injured shoulder was “enough” to enter the Eagles’ first playoff game as the No. 1 seed. The Eagles are a good team with a healthy injury.

Johnson is the key to the Eagles winning the Super Bowl. Electing not to have surgery and playing the postseason with a torn groin, Johnson faced 26 passing tackles in Saturday’s win. Giants. Johnson allowed no pressures, sacks, quarterback hits, and a pressure rate of 0.0%. Keyvon Thibodeaux had no pressure to face Johnson.

When Johnson doesn’t play, the right side of the Eagles’ offensive line is exposed. Jack Driscoll does a solid job, but the future Hall of Famer isn’t a surefire solution. Johnson has been the best right tackle in football for years — and his impact can be felt on the field.

The Eagles can win games without Johnson, but they need to be on the field to win the Super Bowl. Johnson and Hearts are both dominant when they are on the pitch.

The Giants offensive line is the one that needs rebuilding on the roster.

Overreaction or reality; fact

Daniel Jones wasn’t great in Saturday’s loss to the Eagles (15 of 27 for 135 yards without a touchdown and an interception rating of 53.8), but the Giants’ quarterback fell short on the offensive line. In the Eagles’ 26 pressures and five sacks in the divisional round win over the Giants, five hurries were allowed by Evan Neal (an 8.6% pressure rate).

While Nick Gates was at 7.7%, Jon Feliciano allowed a pressure rate of 8.6%, which is a good point less than a defensive line that had 70 sacks in the regular season. The offensive line forced Jones out of position and into mistakes all night.

If the Giants want to compete for Super Bowls, the offensive line must step up and rebuild the interior. This should be priority #1 this season.

As long as Patrick Mahomes is on the field, the Chiefs can win the AFC.

Overreaction or reality; Overreaction

It will all depend on how serious Holmes and his ankle injury are, especially in the Bengals’ pass rush, who knows how to get to the quarterback and force him out of the pocket. Mahomes will have eight days to rest with a high ankle sprain, but how Mahomes will fare without that improvement to extend his game and get the ball to his receivers is a concern.

Then the Bengals, led by Joe Burrow, went undefeated under Mahomes, losing all three games in the last two years. Mahomes played well against the Bengals in those matchups, but questions remain about how healthy he will be throughout the week.

As long as Mahomes is on the field and Andy Reid is the head coach, the Chiefs always have a chance at the Super Bowl. Can Mahomes pull off another exciting performance and add to his legacy? It’s hard to doubt Mahomes based on his resume, but there will be plenty of drama in the days leading up to the AFC Championship Game.

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