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NFL News And Notes

After an exhilarating divisional round, the final four teams in the NFL playoffs are set to square off in the Conference Championships this weekend.

In the NFC, two of the best teams on both sides of the ball will battle it out as the San Francisco 49ers take on the Philadelphia Eagles. Quarterback Jalen Hurts will also look to continue his amazing season by leading the Eagles into the Super Bowl, while “Mr. Irrelevant”, Brock Purdy, will look to put the 49ers on his back and lead them past the Eagles.

The AFC features a rematch of last season’s Conference Championship as the Cincinnati Bengals will try to again take down the Kansas City Chiefs. Both of these teams rank in the top-10 in scoring offenses, and a matchup of quarterbacks Joe Burrow and Patrick Mahomes should make for a great Sunday primetime game. While all eyes are on the playoffs, let’s take a look at some of the biggest stories from around the NFL this week.

Mahomes Nursing Injury

While the Chiefs were able to win last week 27-20 over the Jacksonville Jaguars, it did come at a cost. Early in the game, star quarterback Patrick Mahomes suffered a high ankle sprain. While he was able to return to the game, he was noticeably less mobile.

Mahomes has already said that he will play last week, and he has practiced in full the last couple days. Still, while he has been able to perform well in practice reps, it will be interesting to see how his injury holds up Sunday night, when he faces the Bengals’ defense, who rank fifth in scoring defense, allowing just 19.4 points per game to opponents.

As for Mahomes, he put up another monster season this year. In 17 regular season games, he threw for 5,250 yards, 41 touchdowns, and just 12 interceptions. He also rushed for 358 yards and another four scores.

With Mahomes practicing fully, the Chiefs are slight favorites in this one. Their moneyline to win against the Bengals is -118, and they are 1.5-point favorites (-108) on the spread.

Rodgers Expected To Play Next Year, But For Who?

According to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN, quarterback Aaron Rodgers is expected to play next season, but the question might be for which team he will play. Rodgers is set to make almost $60 million sometime between March and the beginning of next season, so walking away is just likely not in the cards.

While he will likely play next season, there is no guarantee that it will be for Green Bay. With Jordan Love entering the last year of his rookie contract, at a substantially lower cost, the Packers could be well served to see what they have in Love before they lose him.

If the Packers do look to trade Rodgers, there would certainly be some suitors lining up. For instance, the New York Jets recently hired Nathaniel Hackett as their offensive coordinator. While his stint as head coach in Denver was an utter failure, he does have a great rapport with Rodgers and might help lure the future Hall-of-Famer to the Jets.

At 39-years-old, Rodgers did take a bit of a step back this season. In 17 games, he threw for 3,695 yards, 26 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions. While those are not the MVP-quality numbers he has put up in the past, they would still certainly entice many teams around the league who are in need of a quarterback.

Panthers Find New Coach, Cowboys Defensive Coordinator To Stay

The Carolina Panthers found their new coach on Thursday. According to Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport of, the team has hired Frank Reich to be the team’s new head coach.

Reich was let go during the season last year by the Indianapolis Colts, but he has a winning record as a head coach (41-35-1) and will immediately give the Panthers a boost from a leadership perspective.

Elsewhere, another big name on many head coaching radars was Dan Quinn, the defensive coordinator from the Dallas Cowboys. However, according to Pelissero, Quinn has removed his name from those considerations.

Most notably, Quinn had two interviews with the Arizona Cardinals and was scheduled for a second interview with the Indianapolis Colts. Instead, those teams will have to go a different direction in their coaching search while Quinn returns to a defense he led this season to rank seventh in scoring defense, allowing just 19.7 points per game.

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