NFL playoffs kick off


Chase Baxter

All the playoffs helmets fighting for the superbowl.

The National Football League playoffs are set to begin on Jan. 15 in Cincinnati, where the Bengals take on the Las Vegas Raiders. This is the first 18-week regular season, as opposed to the usual 17.

Also making history for the first time is the Los Angeles Rams versus the Arizona Cardinals game, which will occur on Jan. 17, the first-ever Monday night game in the playoffs.

Some may argue that Green Bay is a shoo-in for the Super Bowl, but the truth is we have seen that team struggle in the playoffs historically as well,” Michelle Belcastro, New England Patriots fan, said. “I love that we see Tom Brady, Kyler Murray, Aaron Rogers, Josh Allen, Dak Prescott, and new kids Mac Jones and Joe Burrow cut their teeth against this competition. There really is no dominant team in my mind.”

Due to all of the solid teams in the playoff picture this year, no one truly knows who could win Super Bowl LVI.

“I think the Rams are going to win the Super Bowl,” Gavin Mcsweeney, Jupiter High sophomore, said. “I think their quarterback, Matthew Stafford, is a great team player because he targets all of his receivers and utilizes his weapons.”

The Rams are the number four seed in the National Football Conference and are viewed as just as much of a Super Bowl contender as the top-seeded Green Bay Packers. Among the other Super Bowl contenders are the Bengals, the fourth seed in the American Football Conference, who have found success recently.

“Even though I’m a Steeler fan, it’s good to see somebody succeed,” William Huff said of the Bengals’ accomplishments. “They have a lot of young talent so I can see them at the top of the league for a few years to come.”

The Pittsburgh Steelers, who are the seventh seed in the AFC, will take on the second-seeded Chiefs in Kansas City on Sunday. The Chiefs’ biggest competition in the AFC on their path to the Super Bowl will likely be the Tennessee Titans, who will have their star running back Derrick Henry returning for them.

“The Titans are definitely going to find success in the playoffs this year, especially with Derrick Henry, Julio Jones and A.J. Brown helping create a dominant offense,” Mcsweeney said.

A.J. Brown, who has only been in the NFL since 2019, has made quite a name for himself, even after being injured from weeks 12-15. Other young stars include rookies Ja’marr Chase of the Bengals, Damien Harris and Mac Jones of the Patriots, Najee Harris of the Steelers, and more.

“It will be great to see how the young players perform in the playoffs after how well they did during the year,” Huff said.

Some of the young players in the NFL are up for the Most Valuable Player award (MVP), such as Micah Parsons and Ja’marr Chase.

“I think Aaron Rodgers will win MVP,” Belcastro said. “His touchdown to interception ratio is insane and that’s pretty much why Green Bay is the number one seed. Special mention to [T.J.] Watt on the Steelers for tying Michael Strahan’s sack record.”

Regardless of who wins the MVP award, Belcastro believes the Lombardi Trophy is up for grabs this year and is eager to find out who will take it home.

“I have always loved football no matter what level,” Huff said. “I’m not sure how the playoffs this year will be better or different, but I will be watching to see.”