One round of the 2021 NFL playoffs is officially in the books. The hotshot Bengals went home winners Saturday night. The defending champion Buccaneers destroyed the Eagles. The 49ers took care of America’s Team in the Cowboys’ own home. And those are just a couple of the games from Super Wild Card Weekend, the first flurry of postseason action from the NFL’s first-ever 17-game season.
Before we turn completely to the Divisional Round, here are some things we learned from Wild Card action:
The Rams have the pieces to upset the Buccaneers
No, we’re not predicting a Tampa Bay loss right now, but Rams fans should be mightily encouraged after Sean McVay’s squad rolled over the Cardinals to start their run. Matthew Stafford was smart and comfortable in maybe the biggest start of his career, Sony Michel was busy early before giving way to a fresh Cam Akers, Odell Beckham Jr. was on fire out wide, and the defense stayed after Arizona all night. They look exactly as competitive as they long have on paper.
The Cardinals need to take a hard look at their leadership
Specifically, their coach. Technically, Kliff Kingsbury has overseen improvement from the Cards in each of his seasons atop the staff, but he’s also yet to finish a season strong (and that dates back well before he arrived in Arizona). Kyler Murray wasn’t great against the Rams, either, but some sheepish second-half calls, coupled with both extracurricular scuffling and poor effort from the team, mostly reflects badly on the man running the show.
The Chiefs were OK this whole time