The NFL divisional championships are officially set. The Bengals will play at the Chiefs for the AFC Championship, and the Eagles will duke it out with the 49ers for the NFC Championship. However, there is one team in particular that Ohio State fans are most likely rooting for: Who dey, anyone?
Cincinnati has a multitude of Buckeyes on their roster. In fact, they have the second-most Ohio State players in the NFL, with only the Saints having more. However, this could be disputed because while the Saints have six former Buckeyes, the Bengals technically have six if Joe Burrow is included in the counting.
Personally, I will always claim Joey B as a Buckeye. He graduated from OSU. He himself has been quoted as saying he’s forever a Buckeye. Plus, he’s one of the best quarterbacks in the league right now, so I will definitely take advantage of saying Ohio State produced a top-five NFL QB.
On defense, DE Sam Hubbard has had a solid season, picking up 6.5 sacks. The best moment of all for him was of course the 98-yard fumble return TD that saved the season for Cincy against the Ravens two weeks ago, dubbed the ‘Fumble in the Jungle’. He is just a versatile monster on the defensive line.
As for the offensive line, Isaiah Prince has been on the IR most of the season after playing in 15 games in 2021. He was moved to the active roster for Sunday’s game, but sent back down to practice squad afterwards. He will be one to keep an eye on, especially with the troubles the Bengals have keeping their O-Line healthy.
In the secondary, Eli Apple and Vonn Bell are holding down the fort. This season, Bell has two forced fumbles and four interceptions. He has been a steady presence for the Bengals for the past three years. As for Apple, he is a very intriguing player. Some will argue he’s overrated, others will say he’s not talked about enough. He seems to be improving each year of his career, and continues to get the start week after week, so clearly Cincinnati likes him.
Of course, not to be forgotten is Drue Chrisman. After signing as a free agent following the draft, he did not play his rookie season. He then went through a period of getting waived and re-signed to the practice squad, before finally becoming the starting punter halfway through the season. His punts are averaging about 48 yards, good for 13th in the league. He’s always reliable, and I’m glad he’s finally gotten his shot.
So lots of Buckeyes on the Bengals, but there is also one very big one on the 49ers. Nick Bosa, who should be the Defensive Player of the Year, has had an incredible season. He leads the league with 18.5 sacks and has been one of the main leaders of the phenomenal San Francisco defense. It should be noted that receiver Austin Mack is also on the 49ers, but on the practice squad.
So, who knows if these two teams will both make it to the Super Bowl. Personally, I think they both have the talent to make it. The Bengals deserve a second chance, and the 49ers simply deserve it after going through three quarterbacks this season. We all have different NFL teams we root for, but we can all agree on rooting for the Buckeyes on each of these teams.