Tori Foster, Staff Writer
After the 17-week long regular season of the National Football League, we finally move into the crazy matchups for the Super Bowl LIII playoffs. The playoffs started Saturday, Jan. 5, and the NFL’s wild card games resulted in the advancement of the Indianapolis Colts, Dallas Cowboys, Los Angeles Chargers and Philadelphia Eagles to the divisional round. Saturday, Jan. 12, during the divisional round, the only four teams to make it to the championship game were the Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Rams, New England Patriots and New Orleans Saints.
Sunday, Jan. 20, the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans hosted the National Football Conference where the New Orleans Saints faced the Los Angeles Rams. Throughout the regular season both teams had a record of 13-3. Last time the Rams saw the Saints was Nov. 4 where they lost 35-45 to the Saints. Once the Rams heard they were going against the Saints again in the championship their head coach Sean McVay prepared the Rams to become Superbowl bound.
The Saints kicked off the first quarter with two field goals from Saints’ kicker #3 Wil Lutz and a touchdown from Saint’s quarterback #9 Drew Brees. The second quarter was slow, but it gave the Rams enough time to catch up from the 0 to 13 lead from the Saints. First, Rams’ kicker #4 Greg Zuerlein kicked in a field goal from 57 yards. Then the Rams’ running back #30 Todd Gurley scored a touchdown with 6 yards between them and the end zone. The score was Rams 10 to Saints 13 by halftime.
Entering second half, both teams was able to push passed each others defense and reach the end zone for a touchdown. By the fourth quarter, the Rams made a big comeback by tying up the score 20 to 20 with a field goal from Zuerlein. Both teams kicked another field goal sending the game into overtime with the score being Rams 23-23 Saints. The next team to score would become NFC champs and playing in the Super Bowl 53. Saints won the coin toss, but the Rams were still determined to win. The Rams locked down their defense and caught an interception helping them gain possession of the ball. After five plays, the Rams were granted a game winning field goal. Zuerlein kicked in the ball from the 57-yard line sending the Los Angeles Rams to the Super Bowl. The final score was Rams 26 to Saints 23.
The Jan. 20 football game was the American Football Conference game. The AFC Championship game was held at the Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. where the Kansas City Chiefs took on the New England Patriots. The Patriots ended the regular season with 11-5 and the Chiefs ended with 12-4. The Chiefs have been waiting for this rematch ever since Oct. 14 during the regular season where the Patriots won 43 to 40.
Patriots’ running back #26 Sony Michel started off the game by scoring a touchdown in the first quarter. The Patriots kicker #3 Stephen Gostkowski kicked it in for an extra point. The Patriots scored another touchdown in the first half of the game since #13 Phillip Dorsett caught the 29-yard pass from quarterback #12 Tom Brady. Gostkowski kicked a field goal for an extra point. The first half ended with Patriots 14 and Chiefs 0.
The Chiefs were just warming up the first half. They entered the second half prepared for any play the Patriots had for them. Two minutes into the third quarter Chiefs #87 Travis Kelce completed the pass from quarterback #15 Patrick Mahomes for 12-yard run touchdown. Chief’s kicker #7 Harrison Butker made the extra point kick. The score was Patriots 14 to Chiefs 7. After six plays, Gostkowski kicked in a field goal from the 47-yard line.
In the fourth quarter, the fight for the Super Bowl was on. The Chiefs running back #26 Damien Willams scored two touchdowns back to back with Butker following up with the extra point. The score was now Patriots 17-31 Chiefs with seven minutes still on the time clock. Without a delay, the Patriots scored two more touchdowns and the Chiefs were only able to score one touchdown and a field goal before the fourth quarter was over. The Chiefs played hard enough to tie the game 31 to 31 in the last few seconds to send the game into overtime. Same set up as the NFC game. Next point wins the AFC Championship and advance onto Super Bowl 53. Following the 13 plays the Patriots’ running back #34 Rex Burkhead made a 2-yard run. Burkhead ran the Patriots to the Superbowl with his touchdown. The final score was Patriots 37-31 Chiefs.
Super Bowl 53 will consist of the Los Angeles Rams and the New England Patriots at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. It will take place Sunday, Feb. 3, on CBS at 6:30 p.m. Eastern time. The national anthem will be sung by Gladys Knight before kickoff and Maroon 5, Travis Scott and Big Boi have been added to the list of artists to perform for the Super Bowl halftime show. Obviously Maroon 5 was not the NFL first choice but they were later selected after Rihanna and Cardi B reportedly rejected invitations in support of the former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. P!nk also shot down the invitation from the NFL.
According to Bleacher Reports, they predict the final score for Super Bowl 53 will be New England 33 Los Angeles 27. Which team is your money on?