The 2022-23 NFL season has reached its climax and now the playoffs are upon us. There has already been a plethora of talking points, and we’re only one round in. It remains to be seen as to who will contest Super Bowl LVII at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. But one thing that is certain is there are plenty more epic footballing moments right around the corner.
In the wildcard round, there was plenty to discuss. The Los Angeles Chargers spurned a 27-point lead on the road in Florida, eventually losing 31-30 to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Elsewhere in the AFC, there were narrow victories for the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals. That pair beat the Miami Dolphins and Baltimore Ravens respectively, and will now face off for a chance to reach the Conference Championship.
Whichever one makes it that far will have a huge task in front of them in the form of the Kansas City Chiefs. Patrick Mahomes and co. are expected to handle the aforementioned Jaguars with ease to reach their fifth consecutive AFC Championship game. The Chiefs are so heavily favoured that OddsChecker, which compares NFL odds and free offers, has made them the top pick to lift the Lombardi Trophy next month.
In the NFC, the number one seed Philadelphia Eagles will face off with the New York Giants – who stunned the Minnesota Vikings away from home in the wildcard round. The Giants are on a run eerily similar to their 2007 season, which led them all the way to the Lombardi Trophy. The Eagles will have to ensure that they don’t underestimate their opponents in the divisional round.
Finally, the Dallas Cowboys will face off against the San Francisco 49ers for a spot in the NFC Championship game. The former sent Tom Brady and his Tempa Bay Buccaneers packing in the wildcard round, while the latter defeated the Seattle Seahawks at the same stage.
Now there are eight teams remaining. But how did each of them fare on their last trip to the postseason? Let’s find out.
The Buffalo Bills have threatened to reach the Super Bowl for a number of years, but their almost three-decade drought continues, for now. They reached the playoffs last season.
However, they were sent packing by the Chiefs. The Bills looked to have secured their spot in the AFC Championship game, only for Mahomes to somehow drive his Chiefs into field goal territory with just seconds remaining. The Missouri-based outfit would, of course, score the field goal, before scoring a game-winning touchdown in overtime.
Following that victory for the Chiefs, they would meet the Bengals for a spot in the Super Bowl last season. The Ohio side hadn’t reached the Super Bowl in 33 years prior to last season and they hadn’t even won a playoff game since 1990.
That all changed last term when they managed to knock off the Raiders, the Titans, and the heavily favoured Chiefs en route to the Super Bowl. It would end up in heartbreak however, eventually succumbing to a last-gasp Cooper Kupp touchdown which handed the victory to the hometown Los Angeles Rams and leave Cincy still on the search for that elusive first Lombardi Trophy.
Kansas City Chiefs
At this stage, the Chiefs are practically a dynasty. They have reached the conference championships in each of the last four seasons and are odds-on favourites to make it five on the spin this year. They have twice converted their position into a spot at the Super Bowl, managing to lift the Lombardi Trophy at Super Bowl LIV, when they defeated the 49ers in Miami.
As we have just mentioned, however, their last postseason ended in heartbreak in the AFC Championship game courtesy of the Bengals’ shocking victory.
The Jaguars are the X-factor in the AFC this postseason. 2022 is just the fourth time they have reached the playoffs this millennium, and the first time in five years. Back in the 2017 season, however, they gave a great account of themselves, defeating the Bills and the Pittsburgh Steelers en route to the conference championships. There it would end in defeat. The Jaguars eventually lost out 24-20 to the New England Patriots.
The Eagles have reached the playoffs in all but one season since their finest hour, picking up a maiden Super Bowl success in February 2018. Of those trips to the postseason, they have picked up just one victory, which came back in 2019 when they beat the Chicago Bears. Their last trip to the postseason came last season, but they were well beaten by the Buccs in the wildcard round.
New York Giants
Prior to the current campaign, the Giants hadn’t won a playoff game in over a decade. Their last victory happened to be in the Super Bowl back in 2012, when they defeated the Patriots for the second time in four years in The Big Game. Since then, they have reached the postseason just once. That came back in 2016, when the Giants were thumped by the Green Bay Packers in the wildcard round.
The Cowboys are one of the most successful franchises in NFL history. It’s surprising then that they haven’t lifted the Lombardi Trophy since their success over the Steelers in 1996. Their playoff record since is sketchy at best. The Cowboys’ latest appearance in the postseason came last season, but they lost out to the 49ers in the wildcard round. This year, the two teams will meet again in the divisional round, and the Cowboys will be looking for revenge.
San Francisco 49ers
Our final divisional-round playing franchise is the 49ers. They have reached the conference championships in two of the last three seasons, and they will look to make it three in four this year. Their latest playoff journey, which came last season, ended in a loss in the NFC Championship game when they were defeated by the Los Angeles Rams.