An emotionally charged encounter is on the cards when the Buffalo Bills host the Cincinnati Bengals in the Divisional round given the events when the two sides met just over two weeks ago.

In the Week 17 contest in Cincinnati, Damar Hamlin's collapse and cardiac arrest brought the NFL to a standstill.

Now, the Bills will continue to be spurred on by news of Hamlin's improving health throughout the playoffs – not that they have needed much help of late.

A 34-31 Wild Card victory against the Miami Dolphins was the third playoff game in a row in which they have scored at least 34 points. Prior to this run, the Bills had tallied 34 or more points in just five of their first 34 playoff games.

Buffalo are 11-2 in the postseason when scoring at least 28 points, compared to a 7-17 record when scoring 27 or fewer.

The Bills will have confidence in Josh Allen to lead them to another big score after his latest impressive playoff showing. His 352 passing yards against the Dolphins last week represented the third-best such performance by a Bills quarterback in the playoffs, behind only Jim Kelly (405 in the 1989 Divisional round) and Doug Flutie (360 in the 1998 Wild Card round).

It was Allen's fourth playoff game with at least 300 passing yards and multiple touchdown passes, making him one of only 10 players in NFL history to have at least four such games. He has only played seven playoff games in total.

The Bengals might represent a step up, however, with this the first game at the Divisional round or earlier in NFL history to have both teams entering on winning streaks of at least eight games.

Both previous playoff encounters between the sides have gone in the Bengals' favour, although their last postseason meeting was in the 1988 season.

The Bengals reached this stage with a 24-17 victory against the Baltimore Ravens, which made this the first time they have had wins in back-to-back postseasons.

Even so, they have a knack for close playoff games, with their last six all decided by seven or fewer points.

To come out on top in another tight matchup, the Bengals will need to do a better job of protecting Joe Burrow, who was sacked four times against the Ravens and has been sacked 23 times in his five career playoff games, tied with Wade Wilson from 1987 to 1989 for the most through a QB's first five playoff starts since at least 1970.

An NFC East rivalry clash between the Philadelphia Eagles and the New York Giants in the Divisional Round might seem set to be one-sided.

The Eagles won both of their games against the Giants in the regular season.

A series sweep for the first time in three seasons boosted a dominant record for the Eagles against the Giants in recent history, having won 20 of 26 meetings since 2010.

However, they have never beaten a team three times in the same season.

Playoff encounters between the Eagles and the Giants are split down the middle with two wins each. The last such encounter came in the 2008 Divisional Round, which saw Philadelphia become the first sixth seed in the NFC to defeat the top seed.

When coming off a bye in the Divisional Round against a team who played in the Wild Card round, the Eagles stand 3-0 and are 5-0 at home in this stage of the playoffs all-time – the best record for any side in NFL history.

In a bid to continue that run, Jalen Hurts will look wide to inflict damage upon the Giants, with 65.4 per cent (200) of the quarterback's 306 completions this season being to wide receivers – of QBs with at least 250 completions this season, only the Miami Dolphins' Tua Tagovailoa had a higher percentage (72.2).

The Eagles also possess a giant killer on the ground. Running back Boston Scott has scored a touchdown in all eight of his career appearances against the Giants (10 total), tied for the third-longest such streak against New York in the league.

While all of that will be a concern to the Giants, they enter the encounter with an impressive run of results away from home in the playoffs.

Victory in Minnesota against the Vikings in the Wild Card round secured the Giants' sixth triumph in seven road playoff games dating back to the 2007 season, with only the Baltimore Ravens (eight) having more postseason road wins in that time.

Daniel Jones enters the game on the back of a stellar performance, throwing for 301 yards and rushing for 75 against the Vikings to become the third player all-time to have at least 300 yards in the air and 75 on the ground in a playoff game, joining Lamar Jackson and Steve Young.

Jones' aerial tally against the Vikings was his third-highest this season, behind 341 yards in Week 11 against the Detroit Lions and 334 yards against Minnesota in Week 16.

However, it was the only game of the three where the Giants emerged victorious.

While hitting such numbers against the Eagles could well be too much to ask, Jones will certainly need to improve upon his total of 169 from Week 14 against Philadelphia – his third-lowest tally on the season.

The San Francisco 49ers Divisional Round clash against the Dallas Cowboys is a game where the number 11 tells a different story for both sides.

For the 49ers, their run of 11 straight wins, each of which has come without multiple turnovers, puts them in good stead to advance to the penultimate round of the playoffs under the stewardship of rookie quarterback Brock Purdy.

No side in NFL history has ever recorded 11 consecutive wins in a single season without conceding multiple turnovers in any of those games, with the last such occasion for the 49ers being a trio of turnovers against Kansas City in Week 7 – the second game in a row that saw three turnovers for San Francisco.

The 49ers' winning run has come with Purdy, the last pick of the 2022 NFL Draft, excelling in a remarkable run that could result in accolades should San Francisco go all the way.

Purdy has become one of 12 QBs in NFL history to enjoy a six-start undefeated stint with 120.0 or better passer rating and had his team score over 200 points, with all the previous 11 either winning the Super Bowl or an MVP award in their careers.

Despite throwing three touchdown passes and accumulating 332 passing yards against the Seattle Seahawks in the Wild Card round, Purdy was not at his best, finishing the game with 60 per cent passing accuracy, completing 18 of 30 attempts.

While Purdy boasted the third-most passing yards of the Wild Card round, behind only Josh Allen (352) and Tom Brady (351), only Tyler Huntley threw fewer completions (17) in last week's contests.

Averaging 11.07 yards per completion, incomplete passes did not hinder the 49ers against Seattle but better efficiency against the Cowboys may be required.

In contrast to the 49ers' fine winning streak this season, Dallas are looking to bring an end to a disappointing franchise record, having failed to reach the Championship Game in their last 11 playoff appearances.

Dallas' last Championship Game appearance came 27 years ago, on their way to victory at Super Bowl XXX, with their streak being the longest across the NFL in that regard.

Victory against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week was only their fifth playoff win since Super Bowl XXX, and the Cowboys' hopes rest on Dak Prescott.

Prescott enters the game on the back of a stellar performance against the Buccaneers, where he became the first QB in NFL history to complete 75 per cent of his passes (when counting players with at least 30 attempts), throw four TD passes without an interception and rush for 20 yards and a TD in a single game.

A similar performance will likely be required to cause an upset against the in-form 49ers, though last season's defeat in the Wild Card game at home to San Francisco may serve as encouragement.

Four NFL franchises have made offensive or defensive coordinator changes following their Wild Card Game exits.

The Miami Dolphins have dismissed defensive coordinator Josh Boyer after four seasons with the franchise, despite having the league's fourth-best run defense.

The Dolphins also were ranked 21st in defensive expected points added, 22nd in sacks per pass attempt and 24th in points allowed per game and third-down percentage.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have fired offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich after four seasons, as part of an overhaul by head coach Todd Bowles, with eight other coaches departing.

The Bucs finished the 2022 regular season with an 8-9 record, but ranked 25th in offense, averaging 18.4 points per game despite the presence of seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady.

Brady is set to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason and is weighing up his future, but Leftwich's departure is unlikely to significantly impact his decision.

The Minnesota Vikings fired defensive coordinator Ed Donatell, which came as no surprise after finishing the season ranked 28th in points allowed (25.1) and 31st in yards allowed (388.7).

Greg Roman announced he would step down as the Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator despite having one year remaining on his deal following pressure from fans and players.

Four NFL franchises have made offensive or defensive coordinator changes following their Wild Card Game exits.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have fired offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich after four seasons, as part of an overhaul by head coach Todd Bowles, with eight other coaches departing.

The Bucs finished the 2022 regular season with an 8-9 record, but ranked 25th in offense, averaging 18.4 points per game despite the presence of seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady.

Brady is set to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason and is weighing up his future, but Leftwich's departure is unlikely to significantly impact his decision.

The Miami Dolphins have dismissed defensive coordinator Josh Boyer after four seasons with the franchise, despite having the league's fourth-best run defense.

The Dolphins also were ranked 21st in defensive expected points added, 22nd in sacks per pass attempt and 24th in points allowed per game and third-down percentage.

The Minnesota Vikings fired defensive coordinator Ed Donatell, which came as no surprise after finishing the season ranked 28th in points allowed (25.1) and 31st in yards allowed (388.7).

Greg Roman announced he would step down as the Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator despite having one year remaining on his deal following pressure from fans and players.

The Baltimore Ravens are confident they can reach a long-term deal with franchise quarterback Lamar Jackson amid a contract stand-off.

The Ravens' 2022 season ended with Sunday's 24-17 Wild Card loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, re-opening discussion on the 2018 NFL MVP's future after shelving talks during the regular season.

There has been an awkward relationship between Jackson and the franchise after the Ravens opted against handing the 26-year-old a new five-year contract in 2022, with the QB playing out the fifth-year option of his rookie deal this season.

Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta and head coach John Harbaugh told reporters on Thursday that they are determined to keep Jackson.

"Lamar Jackson is our quarterback," Harbaugh said. "He's been our quarterback. Everything we've done in terms of building our offense and our team, putting people around him, is based around this young man, his talent, his ability and his competitiveness.

"I'll have my fingers crossed and my toes crossed, I'll be saying prayers, I've every faith it's going to get done. Eric wants him here, I want him here, [owner] Steve [Bisciotti] wants him here and Lamar wants to be here. It's going to work out."

Jackson, who represents himself, wants a guaranteed-money deal while the Ravens are likely to place the franchise tag on him if no deal is completed by March to ensure he does not become an unrestricted free agent.

DeCosta added that he was in constant communication with Jackson and hopeful on completing a new deal.

"It certainly takes two to tango but I think Lamar and I have a great relationship," DeCosta said.

"We communicate quite often. We spent some time together today as a matter of fact. We've spoken throughout the season multiple times. These negotiations, they all happen differently.

"We'll communicate effectively, we'll be as fair as we can be. We'll try to hammer out a deal. Hopefully we can get to that point."

When asked if Jackson would be Baltimore's Week 1 starting QB next season, DeCosta added: "I don’t see any reason why he won't be."

The Ravens fired offensive coordinator Greg Roman on Thursday, with Jackson to have input in his replacement, in a sign they are moving forward in the assumption he will remain.

Harbaugh added that he had no concerns over Jackson's durability, despite being unable to finish the past two seasons due to injury.

"He's a very durable player," he said. "I know that people might take issue with that. But I don't believe that there's going to be a problem going forward because I know how hard he works."

Jackson started 12 games in the 2022 season, with a completion rate of 62.3 per cent for 17 touchdowns and seven interceptions, adding three rushing TDs and 764 yards on the ground.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have fired offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich as part of a slew of changes made by head coach Todd Bowles.

After an 8-9 regular season and swift exit from the playoffs, the Bucs will assemble a new-look coaching staff for the 2023 season with several notable departures.

Leftwich was among six coaches to be dismissed, along with running backs coach Todd McNair and assistant defensive line coach Lori Locust.

The Buccaneers have also lost three coaches to retirement, quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen among them, with Bowles plotting for the future after falling short of their objectives.

"We appreciate the hard work and contributions that all of these coaches made to our successes over the past four seasons," he said.

"As a collective group, we did not meet the high standards that had been set for this past year and my focus now is on doing what is needed to ensure a successful 2023 season.

"These were very difficult decisions but something that I felt was necessary for our football team going forward."

In the first of four seasons with Leftwich running the offense, Jameis Winston threw for 5,109 yards.

Tom Brady's first year alongside Leftwich saw the Buccaneers win Super Bowl LV, but Tampa Bay lost in the 2021 Divisional Round, and signs of a decline started to emerge.

Injuries ravaged the Tampa Bay offensive line in 2022 and the team struggled to find a rhythm, looking at their best when forced to run the two-minute drill, where Brady stepped up.

The Buccaneers' turnover ahead of 2023 may not just be in the coaching department, with Brady's status uncertain, so a significant rebuild is on the cards.

The New England Patriots and the Kansas City Chiefs are the among the five teams set to host matches in London and Germany as part of the NFL's 2023 International Games.

The Buffalo Bills, the Tennessee Titans, and the Jacksonville Jaguars complete the quintet heading to Europe as designated home teams during the 2023 season.

London's Tottenham Hotspur Stadium will welcome the Bills and the Titans, while the Jaguars return to their home away from home at Wembley Stadium as part of their multi-year commitment to playing in the UK.

The 2023 season will mark a landmark 10th appearance for Jacksonville in London, while the Bills (2015) and Titans (2018) will make their second appearance in the city.

Two games will also take place in Germany, with the Chiefs and the Patriots set to feature, though venues are yet to be confirmed.

The NFL previously announced that Munich, which hosted the clash between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Seattle Seahawks in 2022, and Frankfurt will stage games in Germany over the next four years.

Details on the dates, opponents and kick-off times will be announced later in the year when the full schedule for the 2023 NFL season is announced.

Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott revealed Damar Hamlin has returned to visiting the team's facility "almost daily", offering a major boost ahead of their AFC Divisional round game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.

Hamlin was discharged from hospital last week after being in a critical condition having suffered a cardiac arrest in the January 2 game against the Bengals in Cincinnati.

The Bills safety continues to progress on his road to recovery, which McDermott outlined ahead of their rematch against the Bengals for the first time since the incident.

"Damar is in the building now, almost starting daily," McDermott told reporters. "So that's good news. As he continues to improve, that certainly helps.

"That experience, we'll carry that with us. There's a challenge to that, but there's also a lot of good that comes with that. Right now, we need to focus on the positives that came out of that as opposed to the other piece of that."

McDermott said Hamlin's participation was still "limited", not partaking in team meetings or anything physical.

"He comes in and really just started today or yesterday and just trying to get back to a little bit of a routine and just get himself acclimated again and taking it one step, one baby step at a time here," he said.

"Kind of get himself dipping his toe back in here and you know, getting on the road to just getting back to himself."

It remains unclear if Hamlin will attend Sunday's game at Bills Stadium, having watched Sunday's 34-31 victory over the Miami Dolphins remotely.

Bills quarterback Josh Allen added that the players were boosted by Hamlin's return and the emotional trauma of the incident was easing to an extent.

"I think there's honestly not too much left over," he said. "Obviously with guys being able to see Damar, guys being able to see him and talk with him, that alleviates most of that.

"I'm not saying there's going to be none, I can't speak for everyone on the team, but we're extremely focused right now, having a good week of preparation. We'll try to go out there on Sunday and execute."

The Bengals enter the Divisional round game on a nine-game winning streak, seeking back-to-back AFC Championship Game appearances. Since Week 9, Cincinnati have the third best points per game and second best points per game differential in the NFL.

Despite that, the Bills are regarded as favourites for the game, given their emotional lift, home ground advantage and having finished as the AFC second seed, but Bengals head coach Zac Taylor does not view his side as underdogs.

"We know that we're the defending AFC champions," Taylor told reporters. "There's an edge to this team, we're not an underdog. That's been the feeling the whole season. We know we belong in the field with every team."

Los Angeles Chargers coach Brandon Staley was never concerned about losing his job even after his team's historic collapse in a playoff loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Saturday.

Asked during Wednesday's season-ending news conference if he ever felt his job was in danger, Staley responded bluntly: "No."

While the Chargers are keeping Staley on the job, they did fire offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi and quarterbacks coach/passing game coordinator Shane Day on Tuesday.

"I have a lot of confidence in how we do things here and what we've been able to accomplish and that's the truth," Staley said.

"Everybody that's been around me on a day-to-day basis knows that. I am aware of the speculation … but I was not worried about that because I know what goes on here on a day-to-day basis. I know what we have in our locker room. I know what's out on that field and I'm excited to keep going."

Staley guided the Chargers to a 10-7 record this season and their first playoff berth since 2018. He is 19-15 in two seasons as head coach.

Former New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton is rumoured to be ready to get back into coaching and the Chargers would've been considered a prime landing spot with quarterback Justin Herbert emerging as a top player at the position.

Payton has already met with the Denver Broncos and Houston Texans and will soon meet with the Carolina Panthers, according to reports.

Despite Staley's success, he received criticism after he decided to play starters in the regular-season finale despite having already clinched the No. 5 seed right before kick-off. Star receiver Mike Williams suffered a back injury in that game that forced him to miss the playoff loss to Jacksonville.

That decision was only made worse when the Chargers blew a 27-0 lead to the Jaguars in a 31-30 loss that kept Los Angeles without a playoff victory since 2018.

Staley was asked if Jaguars coach Doug Pederson outcoached him.

"I wouldn't say that was the case for a half," he said. "That team that we were playing showed a lot of fight, a lot of resilience. I thought it was a high-quality game against two teams that are both young and hungry. I thought it was just a high-level game all around."

Jessica Pegula has been wearing a number three on her outfit at the Australian Open, and she confirmed it is to show support to Damar Hamlin.

Buffalo Bills safety Hamlin went into cardiac arrest during the game against the Cincinnati Bengals on January 2 and spent over a week in hospital, much of that time in critical condition.

Pegula's parents own the NFL franchise as well as the Buffalo Sabres NHL team, and during her second-round win over Aliaksandra Sasnovich in Melbourne, was seen with a number three on her skirt, which is Hamlin's number and became a symbol of appreciation from well-wishers during his recovery.

"I definitely wanted to do something," Pegula said after her 6-2 7-6 (7-5) victory over Sasnovich. "We were kind of figuring out what the Bills and the Sabres were doing, just as far as what was the message.

"I knew they would probably do something and what message were they trying to send. It ended up being [that] the three was the symbol.

“I just thought it would be cool to put on my outfit here. I thought it would be a fun way to kind of connect with the team and then also just show my support."

There had been speculation that the number was related to her ranking, with the 28-year-old coincidentally the WTA world number three heading into the Australian Open, where she is the third seed, but Pegula laughed off the suggestion.

"I saw someone tweet that: 'Why would you put your ranking on your skirt?'. I'm, like, 'No, that’s not why,'" she said with amusement.

Pegula will play the winner of Olivia Gadecki and Marta Kostyuk in round three at Melbourne Park.

Ran Carthon has landed his first general manager job with the Tennessee Titans.

News of Carthon's hire in Tennessee was reported by NFL Network on Tuesday.

The 41-year-old had been the San Francisco 49ers' director of player personnel, having previously held a similar role with the Los Angeles Rams.

He had also been a scout with the Atlanta Falcons.

Carthon is replacing Jon Robinson, who was fired in early December.

Titans owner Amy Adams Strunk said in a statement explaining that decision: "I am proud of what we have accomplished in my eight seasons of ownership, but I believe there is more to be done and higher aspirations to be met."

Robinson had been the GM since 2016, with the team reaching the playoffs in four of his seven seasons.

Aaron Rodgers is yet to decide if he will play again in 2023 but will only do so in a team bidding to win the Super Bowl, whether with the Green Bay Packers or elsewhere.

Rodgers won his third and fourth MVP awards in the 2020 and 2021 seasons before becoming the subject of significant speculation heading into this year.

After suggestions the quarterback might look to either retire or leave Green Bay, he returned to the Packers for a disappointing campaign.

An 8-9 record in the NFC North saw the team narrowly miss the playoffs, prompting more debate around Rodgers' future as backup QB Jordan Love continues to wait in the wings.

Appearing on The Pat McAfee Show, Rodgers outlined his belief he can still be among the NFL's best, comparing his situation to after the 2019 season.

"A lot of people said I was washed, I couldn't play anymore, wasn't the same," the 39-year-old said. "Then I won two MVPs in a row – without really doing anything different.

"I'm sure there's a lot of the same sentiment this year. I have a lot of comments about a lot of that that I'd like to keep to myself.

"Do I still think I can play? Of course. Can I play at a high level? Yes. The highest. I think I can win MVP again in the right situation.

"Is the right situation in Green Bay or is that somewhere else? I'm not sure, but I don't think you should shut down any opportunity."

Rodgers detailed the lengthy talks he held with the Packers before heading away for the offseason, but those conversations are not done.

"I think there's still conversations to be had," he added. "I think no player wants to be part of any type of rebuild.

"Reloads are a lot of fun, because you feel like you're close, like you're only a couple of guys away."

Rodgers recognises Love would likely be the Packers' QB of choice if they were to rebuild, anyway.

"If there's a rebuild going on, I won't be a part of that," he said.

"It's a mindset. If they want to go younger and think Jordan's ready to go, that might be the way they want to go.

"If that's the case and I still want to play, there's no other option: I have to play somewhere else."

But Rodgers still does not know if he does want to play, adding: "I still need to mentally get to a point where I feel 100 per cent locked in to play a 19th season.

"If I do, we'll rock and roll and figure that out; if I don't, we'll head into the jungles for a while."

He is certainly not signing up for another season like 2022.

"It would have to be the right situation with the roster to feel like we can win it all," Rodgers said. "There's no point in coming back if you don't feel like you can win it all."

Monti Ossenfort was introduced as the Arizona Cardinals' new general manager on Tuesday as the team prepare to hire a new head coach.

Ossenfort, previously the Tennessee Titans' director of player personnel and before that a New England Patriots employee in various roles, was appointed on Monday.

Predecessor Steve Keim had stepped away from the position last week after initially taking an indefinite, health-related leave of absence in December.

The Cardinals still need a coach, however, as the announcement of Keim's departure was twinned with the firing of Kliff Kingsbury.

That topic was unsurprisingly prominent as Ossenfort met the media alongside Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill.

Bidwill confirmed the team had interviewed seven GM candidates before settling on Ossenfort as the man to take them forward as they turn their focus to the coaching vacancy.

"It became clear Monti was going to be the best fit for us, with his well-defined vision of turning this organisation around on the field and assisting us in identifying our new head coach, which we will embark on in a matter of days," Bidwill said.

The Cardinals were a miserable 4-13 this year, with Kingsbury unable to even oversee the sort of strong starts that had raised hopes in previous ultimately underwhelming seasons.

Another key issue centred around quarterback Kyler Murray, whose relationship with Kingsbury reportedly deteriorated in 2022.

Ossenfort's message on the sorts of players he wants to see in Arizona colours was clear.

He promised a "unified message across the general manager, the head coach and ownership" and identified the profiles of the playing personnel as key.

"We are going to look for the right type of players," Ossenfort said. "Ego will not be tolerated in this organisation.

"We are going to look for focused, driven people who are willing to put the team first at every step of the way."

The Los Angeles Chargers have fired offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi and quarterbacks coach Shane Day following their dismal playoff defeat to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Pressure had been building on underperforming Chargers coach Brandon Staley even before he oversaw a 27-point collapse in a stunning Wild Card loss on Saturday.

Lombardi and Day, who came in alongside Staley in 2021, have paid the price for that early exit, the team announced on Tuesday.

Led by Justin Herbert, the Chargers should have the talent to be a contender in the AFC, but the third-year quarterback is yet to win a playoff game.

Indeed, the Jaguars clash represented Herbert's postseason debut, and he looked to be on course for an impressive win after racing into a 27-0 lead.

But the Chargers added just three points in the second half as they lost 31-30, undone as so often by their subpar run game, which yielded only 20 yards and a single first down from eight carries after halftime.

That makes for an obvious area for improvement under the next OC, who will surely relish the opportunity to work with Herbert.

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