By Russell S. Baxter
The race for Super Bowl LIII is in full swing. There are eight teams remaining in the postseason field and that includes the two clubs that reached the Big Game a year ago. So what can we expect from a field that has fee franchises looking for their first NFL title in quite some time and another hoping to win its first-ever Super Bowl?
What home field advantage?
Last Saturday and Sunday, the Indianapolis Colts, Dallas Cowboys, Los Angeles Chargers and Philadelphia Eagles came away with Wild Card wins. The Colts won at Houston, the Bolts bested the Ravens at Baltimore and the defending Super Bowl champions survived a trip to the Windy City. Only Jason Garrett’s club managed to win at home via a 24-22 triumph over the Seattle Seahawks.
Dating back to 2015, home teams are a combined 7-9 in the first round of the NFL playoffs. And that’s including a 4-0 mark in ’16.
Upsets this weekend?
Those aforementioned Colts are 10-1 in their last 11 games and take a lot of momentum into Arrowhead Stadium when they face the 12-4 Kansas City Chiefs on Saturday. For what it’s worth, the Colts are 4-0 lifetime in the playoffs vs. the Chiefs. But Andy Reid’s team has dynamic second-year quarterback Patrick Mahomes and his 50 TD passes to possibly offset Andrew Luck and his 39 aerial scores.
Later that day, the Cowboys head to Los Angeles to take on the NFC West champion Rams. Sean McVay’s club finished second in the league with 527 points but the team also allowed 24 points per contest. On Sunday, the New England Patriots host the Chargers as Bill Belichick’s team looks for its third straight Super Bowl appearance. And the Eagles head to New Orleans for the second time this season, looking to avenge a 48-7 loss to the NFC South champions in Week 11.
Which four teams will stay alive this weekend? Expect the unexpected.
Russell S. Baxter is the founder of ProFootballGuru.com and a member of the NFL media for 35 years and counting. You can follow him on Twitter at @BaxFootballGuru and @PFGVibe.