By Tessa Jackson

Because it’s NFL playoff time, I’m in full-on NFL mode; but before we get into that, I want to talk about the Novak Djokovic news, even though Djokovic stated that he’s uncomfortable with the focus being on him and would rather it be on the game that he loves. The tennis star, who is unvaccinated, was in Australia hoping to compete for his tenth Australian Open title; he apparently received a medical exemption for the vaccine because he tested positive for the virus last month, but the Australian government revoked his visa (twice), and after 11 days of appeals and court hearings he was eventually deported. According to Australia’s visa rules, he is also now banned from getting a visa for the next three years (this can possibly be waived.) To make matters worse for Djokovic, I read that the French government just passed a law on Sunday which will require vaccinations for anyone entering an arena; so it looks like he might not be able to play in the French Open either. Djokovic is currently tied with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer for most men’s grand slam titles with 20. Nadal is playing in the tournament and has the chance to break that record.

NFL wild card weekend was… well, it was okay I guess. And I’m not just talking about the fact that the Raiders lost, although that was disappointing (but not unexpected), I’m talking about the number of blowouts we witnessed. It all started with the Buffalo Bills beating the New England Patriots by 30; the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were beating the Philadelphia Eagles 31-0 in the third quarter before the Eagles managed to score in the fourth quarter to lose the game 15-31; the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Pittsburgh Steelers by 21; and the Los Angeles Rams beat the Cardinals by 23 (I’m happy to say that at least the Raiders and Bengals game was a close one.) While we can’t blame all these games on the fact that they expanded the playoffs to include one extra team per conference this year (and only the top team in each conference gets a bye instead of two) we can at least blame two of them. The only winning team that was not a favorite was the San Francisco 49ers, who beat the Dallas Cowboys 23-17. The 49ers pretty much dominated the entire game; the Cowboys did mount a comeback in the fourth quarter, but they were unsuccessful. Along with wide receiver Deebo Samuel, who had 110 total yards and a touchdown, the 49er’s defense was the star of the game again. They sacked Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott five times. The 49ers will fly to Green Bay for the divisional round to take on Aaron Rodgers and the No. 1 seeded Green Bay Packers. The game takes place this Saturday at 5:15 PM and the spread is Packers -5.5. It should be a more exciting round; the spreads are a lot closer than last week. On Saturday, we have the Titans -3.5 vs the Bengals, and on Sunday, we have the Buccaneers -3 vs the Rams and the Chiefs -1.5 vs the Bills. One of these eight teams will be our Superbowl champions!

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