Straight Out the Lew on the NFL Playoffs


Who Wins the NFC? Rams or 49ers?

Dylan Azcarate: San Francisco 49ers. It’s America’s team — the 49ers — matching up against the same old sorry Rams at the home of Super Bowl 56 and San Francisco: SoFi Stadium. The Los Angeles Rams are scared. They have lost to the 49ers in their last six matchups and are now only selling tickets to people who have a billing address with an LA zip code in an attempt to prevent 49ers fans from attending the NFC championship. The 49ers are the most physically dominant and most battle-tested team remaining in the NFL playoffs. With the wins they’ve had, I believe that said dominance and confidence will see San Francisco return to the Super Bowl.

Luke Linnehan: San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers have a fantastic track record against the Rams recently and after Week 18’s crazy showdown they were able to add onto their win streak. The Rams, however, are a very strong team, so we are in for another fabulous game next Sunday.

Chris Cimino: San Francisco 49ers. It has been a bit of an up and down year for the 49ers, and if they were playing the Buccaneers, I would have a hard time picking them. However, the Niners have owned the Rams over the past few seasons. This includes a win in LA down 17-0 to qualify for the postseason. Jimmy Garroppolo has been shaky at times, but he finds ways to win and he is going to do it again. The Rams are the better football team, but this will essentially be a road game, and until they prove they can beat their rivals in San Francisco, they can’t be trusted. 

Who Wins the AFC? Chiefs or Bengals?

Azcarate: Cincinnati Bengals. Joe Burrow will enter Arrowhead with an immense amount of confidence knowing that he diced Kansas City’s defense for 446 yards and four touchdowns only four weeks ago. As seen in the game against Buffalo in the divisional round, this Chiefs defense has not improved since the Week 17 matchup between the two teams. After seeing Joe Burrow win against the No. 1 seed on the road while being sacked nine times, I don’t see this subpar Chiefs defense stopping the Bengals this time around.

Linnehan: Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs will have the home-field advantage, which is crucial to slowing down Joe Burrow. The Bengals should be able to score in this game, but the Chiefs offense featuring Mahomes, Hill and Kelce has the experience and talent to move onto their third consecutive Super Bowl.

Cimino: Kansas City Chiefs. I respect what the Cincinnati Bengals have done this season, but they have too many flaws to overcome. If not for multiple careless turnovers by Titans’ QB Ryan Tannehill, the Bengals would be at home. Joe Burrow and his weapons are tremendous, but the offensive line and the defense as a whole isn’t up to par. The Chiefs are experienced and they have Patrick Mahomes. They aren’t perfect, but they will force a Super Bowl 54 rematch. 

Is Brady Done?

Azcarate: Yes. Tom Brady most likely threw his last pass in the NFL this past weekend. One can make the argument that Brady is still too talented and driven to give up professional football after this season, however, said individual must ask themselves: What will drive Tom Brady to retire? It seems to be the case that Brady doesn’t see going out on top with a Super Bowl win as a priority — if that were so, he would have likely retired after the 2020 season and Super Bowl 55. I also strongly doubt that Brady will play until an injury derails his career or his play is so abysmal that he is no longer offered a roster spot. So, the greatest football player of all time is seemingly setting himself up to step away somewhere between a Super Bowl ring and a forced exit — which is where he finds himself now. Look for Brady to make his announcement in the weeks following the Super Bowl.

Linnehan: Lol. This man is the greatest athlete to ever live and is still performing at an elite level. He appears to be listening and understanding the sacrifices his family endured for him to live out his dream of playing into his late 40s. I would be stunned to see him retire with the competitiveness he brings to everything in his life. Potentially, after his next Super Bowl ring he will consider it a lot more than today.

Cimino: Not Quite. The greatest athlete in American sports history has a major decision to make this offseason. Even though Brady has been reported as being “noncommittal” as of late, I do think he will ultimately play one more season. He is under contract with the Bucs for another season. Tom will play out his contract with Tampa, sign a one-day contract with the Patriots and call it a career after NEXT season.