COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The National Football League playoffs are set to begin this weekend and numerous Terps will begin their quest for Super Bowl rings.
A total of seven former Maryland standouts will compete in this year’s playoffs, although only three will be in action during the wild card weekend as the Eagles (Torrey Smith), Vikings (Stefon Diggs) and Steelers (Sean Davis, Darrius Heyward-Bey) have earned first round byes.
The Sunday wild card games will feature numerous Terps as the third-seeded Jaguars (Yannick Ngakoue, Darius Kilgo) host the Buffalo Bills at 1:05 p.m. In the final wild card game of the weekend, the fourth-seeded New Orleans Saints (Trey Edmunds) will host the Carolina Panthers.
Now in his seventh season in the NFL, Smith helped Philadelphia earn the No. 1 seed in the NFC as the Eagles posted a 13-3 record. In his first season with Philadelphia, Smith posted 36 receptions for 430 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The Eagles will host the lowest remaining seed in the NFC during the divisional round on Saturday, Jan. 13 at 4:35 p.m.
Diggs put together another stellar year for the Vikings despite missing two games because of injury. The third-year pro ranked Top 10 in the NFL in touchdowns (8) and Top 25 in receiving yards (849). Diggs ended the year on a roll, recording touchdowns in each of his last three games. The Vikings will play the final divisional round game next weekend, hosting either Los Angeles, New Orleans or Carolina on Sunday, Jan. 14 at 4:40 p.m.
Davis and Heyward-Bey hope to push the Steelers deep into the playoffs for the second straight year. Davis started all 16 games for Pittsburgh at strong safety and led the team with 92 tackles and tied for the team lead with three interceptions. Heyward-Bey, now in his ninth season in the NFL and fourth with the Steelers, saw action as a wide receiver and on special teams in every game this season. He scored on a 29-yard touchdown run in Pittsburgh’s regular season finale against the Browns. The Steelers will host either Jacksonville, Kansas City or Tennessee in the divisional round on Sunday, Jan. 14 at 1:05 p.m.
Ngakoue has had a breakout year for the upstart Jaguars, who won the AFC South with a 10-6 record. In just his second season, Ngakoue led the NFL with six forced fumbles and ranked tied for eighth in the league with 12.0 sacks. The Washington, DC native also recorded 30 tackles and recovered a pair of fumbles, including one that he scooped and ran back for a 67-yard touchdown in the Jags regular season finale. Kilgo is also a member of the Jaguars, currently on the practice squad. The third-year pro was a member of the Broncos in 2015 and the Patriots in 2016. Both teams won the Super Bowl the year Kilgo was on the roster.
Edmunds has been a key contributor for the Saints during his rookie year, seeing action in all 16 games. He also garnered nine carries in a win over Buffalo in Week 10. Edmunds averaged 5.3 yards per carry while posting 48 yards and a touchdown in the win.