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NFL News and Notes for January 21

While eight teams are focused on fighting for a Super Bowl, several others are getting their offseason underway with searches for general managers, coaches, or just simply evaluating their rosters as they prepare for free agency and the draft.

With so much going on, let’s take a look at some of the biggest news from around the league this week.

Divisional Round Set To Get Underway

After a chaotic Wild Card round, the NFL playoffs is down to eight remaining teams.

In the AFC, all of the favorites remain intact. In Saturday’s game, the top-seeded Tennessee Titans (12-5) will take on the No. 4 Cincinnati Bengals (10-7). The Titans are -180 to win this matchup at home, while the spread features Cincinnati +3.5.

The other AFC game will feature the No. 2 Kansas City Chiefs (12-5), taking on the No. 3 Buffalo Bills (11-6). These two teams scored a combined 89 points in their Wild Card games. With two of the most electric quarterbacks in the league, the 53.5 over/under may be in definite jeopardy.

In the NFC, the top-seeded Packers (13-4) will come off of their first-round bye to take on the No. 6 San Francisco 49ers (10-7), who upset the Dallas Cowboys last week. At -245, the Packers are strong favorites. Still, in Rodgers’ three postseason matchups against the 49ers, he is 0-3 to this point.

In the other NFC matchup on Sunday, the defending champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers (13-4) will host the Los Angeles Rams (12-5). This should be a good matchup of veteran quarterbacks as Tom Brady squares off with Matthew Stafford. The Bucs are the favorites at -146.

Belichick Plans To Continue After Embarrassing Loss

To say that the New England Patriots struggled against the Buffalo Bills during the Wild Card round of the playoffs may be a bit of an understatement.

The Patriots allowed touchdowns to the Bills in Buffalo’s first seven drives. They would eventually drop this game to their division foes 47-17.

Despite the rough outing, head coach Bill Belichick intends to return for a 23rd season with the Patriots next year. According to Mike Reiss of ESPN, Belichick intends to improve on his 254-99 regular-season record with New England.

In his tenure, he has also gone 30-12 in the postseason with the Patriots, including six Super Bowl championships.

Belichick’s first job was as a special assistant for the Baltimore Colts in 1975, and now 47 years later, he will be entering his next season after celebrating his 70th birthday.

Hendrickson To Play For Bengals

Last week, the Cincinnati Bengals’ defensive end Trey Hendrickson suffered a concussion that put the divisional round in jeopardy for the star edge rusher; however, according to Ben Baby of ESPN, Hendrickson has been cleared to play.

This season, the 27-year-old Hendrickson has 34 tackles, 14 sacks, and three forced fumbles.

Signed to a $60 million deal over four years, Hendrickson was one of the Bengals’ biggest offseason acquisitions. With him on the field, the Bengals are hoping they can take the top-seeded Tennessee Titans.

Mayfield Has Surgery

After a season where he struggled with an injured shoulder throughout, Cleveland Browns‘ quarterback had surgery on torn labrum on Wednesday. The Browns announced that the surgery would likely put him out for the next several months but that he should be able to make a full recovery within six months.

Luckily, the injury was not in his throwing shoulder, but he is still expected to shut it down at least until April before ramping up his throwing.

This season, Mayfield threw for 3,010 yards, 17 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions. Mayfield’s future in Cleveland has come under scrutiny as he has not made the type of progression that the organization has hoped.

Still, at just 26-years-old, Mayfield will hope that recovery from his injury can set up a big season next year.

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