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Club Sparks Second Graders’ Interest in STEAM Careers

Second graders look at the dry ice station with amazement as the high school students spray dry ice into their hands and watch it form into a bubble and fall apart in their hands in the form of vapor.

The second graders visited the high school for a day filled with fun and hands-on learning opportunities at STEAM Ahead last Thursday as they were led by STEAM high school students.

“I hope every day is like this day,” a second grader said to junior Jack Gulley, who is part of the STEAM club.

A Leonid reporter caught up with STEAM’s coordinator and Red Lion Science Teacher Mrs. DeLawder and her period 5 students and found out more about this valuable club.

“STEAM Ahead is an event for second grade students,” Mrs. DeLawder said, “and students have the opportunity to explore STEAM through attending eight different stations throughout the day.” 

The stations include math, engineering, chemistry, robotics, science, and more. “We have a very diverse experience for students, all focusing on the 4 C’s, communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity,” Mrs. DeLawder explained. 

STEAM students are passionate about what they do and encourage more high school students to get involved. “I think it’s a good way to show change in the students and the younger kids,” senior Chloe Brubaker said. “I feel like if you like kids, it’s definitely something to do because you get to see a growth and interest in each subject as they realize learning can be fun and it’s not just something that they have to do everyday.”

In the near future, Mrs. DeLawder looks forward to expanding the club. “We are expanding into a new realm next year,” Mrs. DeLawder said. “We’re going to be taking our explorations of STEAM and putting them into the elementary building specifically, so we’re revamping the media centers to include a STEAM component.” 

Mrs. DeLawder is looking for new students to join STEAM next year, “you can come talk to one of us interns or Mrs. DeLawder, or even Mrs. Warner who does all the internships and she’ll give you a paper so you can fill it out and give it to any of us (STEAM Students),” said sophomore Marylee Geiger.

Perhaps the most valuable thing you can take away from this club “is taking the skills we’re doing and making them transferable,” said Mrs. DeLawder. “So, no matter if you want to go into science, technology, art, or math, or something different entirely, the skills that you are going to gain through this experience are going to be transferable to any career path that you choose to do.”

By George Keene

Sports Editor and Staff Writer

I meditated (almost) every day for a year, and here’s how my life changed.

Taking all electives and getting out of school at 10:30 a.m. sounds like it would be pretty easy. However, senior year comes with new stresses about life after high school. I first started to feel this towards the end of my junior year. 

Right in the middle of my SAT, I started thinking terrible thoughts about what would happen if I didn’t perform well on the test, and how that would snowball into ruining my life. After the SAT (and 12 hours of sleep), I vowed to never allow stress about the future interfere in my life again. 

That was a heavy promise to uphold. 

A quick Google search led me to the conclusion that meditation is a healthy way to reduce stress. Not only this, but according to Mayo Clinic, meditation helps people to live in the present, boost creativity, and increase patience. 

Thet Sunday after the March SAT, I held my first meditation session. I sat “criss-cross applesauce” on my bed with my hands on my knees. At first, this position felt so foreign that I was embarrassed to be alone in my room. 

I set a timer for ten minutes and closed my eyes. With my sister playing the piano downstairs and a tiny bug crawling up my arm, my ten minute meditation session lasted about ten seconds. That was enough for me to say that I tried today and could pick it up again tomorrow. 

The next day’s meditation lasted 30 seconds. After that, I reached two minutes. Even with the starling screeching outside or my sister scream-singing downstairs, I somehow slowly made my way up to ten minutes of meditation. 

During this time, I noticed that my schoolwork was interesting, my sisters and I got along, and I went to bed looking forward to what I would do the next day. Right around the same time, I saw a Facebook advertisement for a beginner’s yoga class in the local park. 

In the spirit of YOLO, I rallied up a few friends to go each week. I learned yogic breathing techniques. This includes laying on the ground in savasana or “corpse pose” while using the ujjayi or “ocean” breathing technique. 

Feeling like I was living a scene in “Eat, Pray, Love,” I practiced these new breathing exercises every day. Through my dedication to deeper meditations, I was thrust into parts of my brain that I didn’t know existed. It sounds ridiculous, but I’ve never felt so at peace as when I was laying outside in a public park surrounded by strangers walking all around me. 

During this same time period, I rushed to apply to colleges and fill out my FAFSA. Still absolutely uncertain about my future after high school, I chose to live in the present and amp up my meditation game. 

I did more research into alternative styles of mediation. I learned about ancient Taoism and how its followers smiled internally and externally while meditating to welcome good vibrations and deter evil. 

I practice my ocean breathing technique to gain deeper meditations.

I latched onto the idea of smiling internally and decided to carry this with me throughout the day. With a childlike gait, many of my friends picked up on my perky attitude and matched my energy. Not only did I better myself and become an optimist, but I also improved the lives of my classmates simply by exuding happiness. 

Still curious about how to deepen my meditations even more, I stumbled across Wim Hof while watching a little too much YouTube during Christmas break. Famous for enduring extremely cold temperatures for an extended period of time, his meditation technique includes taking sharp inhales and then holding your breath for 30 seconds or more. 

In stark contrast to the yogic breathing technique I learned, I was curious to give Wim Hof’s method a try. I had a lot of time over the break to worry about college, so finding this new way to meditate was a breath of fresh air. 

On the first day of the new year, I had one of the deepest meditation sessions I have ever experienced. It’s hard to put words to what happened, but afterwards, I opened my eyes and felt tears on my face. 

Rotating between the Yogic, Taoist, and Wim Hof techniques, I continued to meditate throughout the next few months. Instead of worrying about leaving Red Lion, I spent my limited time enjoying the present. 

Whether I meditated for clarity, restoration, positivity, or whatever else was on my mind, it felt nice to escape my worries and live in the time being. Even while I was simply learning to meditate for ten seconds, it was relaxing just to close my eyes. 

After one year of meditating almost every day, my personality completely changed. I became more optimistic and grateful to be living the life I lead. I smile at people in the halls that I haven’t talked to since first grade. I emphasize my needs and don’t hear the constant rambling thoughts in my brain. 

Still uncertain about my college decision, I am more relaxed than ever. Because I took ten seconds after the SAT to close my eyes, my entire life changed. Just think of what else meditation can do.

By Shana Carey


Regional Student Council Conference at Red Lion Inspires Students to “Find Leadership”

Red Lion hosted a regional student council conference this Friday to build leadership skills and strengthen interpersonal communication for advisors and students. 

“We struggled at the beginning,” student council president and conference co-chair Mackenzie Zagroba said. “I’m not going to lie. But you know, it worked out. I’m so proud.”

Under the leadership of Mrs. Jane Dennish, Red Lion student council members started planning this conference at the beginning of the school year. 

Zagroba was grateful that Mrs. Dennish had experience planning Regional, District, and State conferences in the past. 

“She’s definitely hard on us,” Zagroba said, “but it’s all for the best because she wants everything to be perfect.” 

Students from across the region attend a workshop. They smile while playing an icebreaker where they have to say each other’s names while throwing a ball around a circle.

Various student council members held committee head positions. As a committee head, Kayla Tracey planned workshops and chose student speakers to lead different sessions. 

“Our committee heads have definitely stepped up and took their role seriously,” Zagroba said. 

Over 300 students from neighboring counties registered for the event to attend informational sessions and participate in an escape room centered around the theme “finding leadership.” 

Top Picture: Advisors and students listen intently to Ms. Dana Schmidt as she gives an opening address at the conference. Ms. Schmidt spoke about how making decisions as a leader can be difficult.
Bottom Picture: Students smile as the madrigal choir performs their version of The Spice Girls’ Wannabe.

Students elaborated on their particular high points of the day. Emma Bernard from Eastern Lancaster County (ELCO) School District enjoyed her session “on different styles of leadership. We did an impromptu speech. That was really fun.”

Smiling throughout the day, Bernard and her friends especially enjoyed the professional keynote speaker, Chris Seifert. 

Bernard said she learned a lot about leadership from Mr. Seifert. “He was really entertaining,” Bernard said. “I really liked listening to him.”

Bernard enjoyed the message Mr. Seifert expressed. In his speech, Mr. Seifert spoke about being a leader in everyday situations.

“It completely changed my life because one person turned around, saw something in me, and said ‘You should pursue this,’” Mr. Seifert said. “There are small ways that we lead every single day.” 

Mr. Seifert suggested smiling at students walking in the hallway or volunteering in your community has an impactful effect. 

Bernard took this to heart and built connections with students from different schools throughout the day. 

After planning this conference for a year, the outcome pleased Mackenzie Zagroba and her co-chair Evvie Wilbur. “It was an eye opening experience,” Zagroba said, “especially because there hasn’t been a conference because of the pandemic in the last few years.”

Excited to be speaking to a crowd of eager young leaders, Mr. Seifert closed his speech encouraging each student to help each other in little ways. 

“If these last two years have taught us anything,” Mr. Seifert said, “it’s that we’re much better together than we are apart.”

By Shana Carey


Transfer Student Emma Hinchliffe Adjusts to Red Lion Midway Through Senior Year

Red Lion Launches Incoming Student Initiation Program

It’s senior year, and you’re excited to spend the last months of high school with your friends before you go off to college. Then, your dad gets an irrefutable job near your family, and your whole life is uprooted. This is precisely the situation one student found herself in this year.

“I was already mentally preparing myself for college,” Emma Hinchliffe said before moving to Pennsylvania. “I was not ready for me to do that senior year.” 

While living in Ohio, her parents dreamed of living closer to their family in New Jersey, so her father searched for a job in this area for years. 

“They made jokes like that all the time,” Hinchliffe said. “And then this time, it was actually real.”

Emma Hinchliffe posed with her friends Ryan, Julie, Dakota, and Nolan for homecoming before Hinchliffe moved to Pennsylvania. The friends text and call each other to stay in contact with Hinchliffe.

The job and location was perfect for what her family wanted, so her family jumped on the opportunity. Hinchliffe said, “He got the job and he took it right away.” 

Before her senior year, Hinchliffe’s parents broke the news to her. “My dad told us a week before we went on vacation in the middle of the Summer,” Hinchliffe said. 

Excited about the freedom that comes with senior year, Hinchliffe made plans with her friends to go to prom and partake in other senior-only activities. 

Emma Hinchliffe and her Ohioan friend, Julie, take a selfie the Summer before Emma moved. She texts Julie every day and keeps her updated about Red Lion.

Before moving to Pennsylvania, Hinchliffe spent the remaining Summer months making memories with her Ohioan friends. She stays in contact with them through Google Duo calls and texting. 

“We’re starting to grow up now. I was finally able to do more stuff with my friends,” Hinchliffe said. “We had all these plans to go and do things together, and I did not imagine in the slightest that I’d be up and moving to Pennsylvania.” 

Staying in contact with her old friends and building new connections at Red Lion, Hinchliffe plans to return to her school in early May. 

“Since their prom is at the end of May and ours is at the beginning,” Hinchliffe said, “I’m trying to convince my parents to let me come back for prom.” 

Making friends in the middle of senior year was initially difficult for Hinchliffe because she was only in classes. 

Hinchcliffe is not alone as a new student to Red Lion. With a 20% increase in transfer students compared to the last four years, Red Lion launched a transfer student welcoming initiative. 

“I meet with them. I check in with them,” Student Support Facilitator Dr. Jamie Malloy said. “I just make sure they have everything they need.” 

All new high school students spend their first day shadowing a student council member to build a support system in Red Lion. 

“They’ll follow them the whole first day and then the second day the student council member is still with them,” Assistant Principal Mr. Christopher Barry said, “but to help them navigate to buildings and get them to their classes.” 

Mr. Barry hopes to put together a care package for incoming students that includes local business coupons, Red Lion spirit wear, and a list of all extra curricular activities. 

Dr. Malloy also plans lunch groups for transfer students to meet each other and indulge in Red Lion culture. Each Friday, transfer students have the opportunity to meet and build a support system with people going through a similar situation. “It’s a group for new students where they can meet other new students,” Mr. Barry said. 

Dr. Malloy and Mr. Barry both received positive feedback about the transfer student initiation changes. 

“Anecdotally, the students that have moved in have appreciated it,” Dr. Malloy said. “A lot of students who come to us have transferred schools more than one time, and this doesn’t seem to happen in other districts.”

Emma Hinchliffe’s move to Red Lion was initially intimidating, but after joining extra-curricular activities, she quickly met new people and built connections. 

“It’s not like anyone was mean. It’s just they’ve got their friends,” Hinchliffe said. “It was difficult when I wasn’t doing anything outside of the normal school day, but once I got into musical, everyone was very friendly there.” 

Hinchliffe also had to adjust to Red Lion’s schedule after attending a nontraditional vocational school for animal care in Ohio. At the vocational school, Hinchliffe had four periods in the morning and then a two hour lab where she could focus on animal care before going to college for veterinary studies. 

“I went from having that kind of school to going back to a more traditional high school that is a lot bigger.” 

This isn’t the first time Hinchliffe moved. Initially from New Jersey, Hinchliffe and her family moved to Ohio when she was in fifth grade. Hinchfliffe said making friends was easier for her when she moved the first time because of her age. “I was a lot younger then, so I think I adjusted easier.”

Despite being a senior, Hinchliffe said the transition went smoother than she expected. 

While meeting new people and applying to colleges, Hinchliffe is glad to have friends in both Pennsylvania and Ohio. “Honestly, I think it went better than I hoped. I was terrified to just start all over again.” 

By Shana Carey


Emma Hinchliffe and Lillian Anderson snap a picture together. Hinchliffe and Anderson met through The Addam’s Family Musical at Red Lion. Hinchliffe hosted a Google Duo call with her Ohioan and Pennsylvanian friends.

The Lady Lions Dribble Their Way to States

The Red Lion Varsity Girls Basketball team is heading to Mount Lebanon tomorrow night to take on the Blue Devils at 6 pm. Mount Lebanon had a near perfect record with 23 wins and one loss on the season while Red Lion had success as well, finishing  the year 19-6.

Red Lion beat Penn Manor March 2 41-37 to earn their spot in the State tournament. Red Lion have been on a slide as of late, losing three of their last four games, but an action-filled win against Penn Manor might give them the momentum they need to pull off the upset tomorrow night. 

Lead by seniors Grace Tollinger, Riley Good, and Rylee Estermyer, the team will need to play their best game of the season Tuesday night, as Mount Lebanon has the third best record in the state tournament.

Head Coach Don Dimoff has taken his Lions to the state tournament once again in his 26th season, and he will need to come up with a gameplan to utilize the skills of his sharp shooter Grace Masser and slasher Tatiana Virata. He has been to the state tournament 16 out of the 26 years he has coached at Red Lion and their most recent appearance was in 2019-2020.

Tickets for the game are available through Go Fan. The winner of Tuesday’s showdown will take on the winner of Mifflin County (18-6) vs. Bethel Park (12-10).

By George Keene

Sports Editor

Teens Can Slide into Danger While Winter Driving

Picture this. You wake up early for a dentist appointment and get in your car for a jam packed day of teeth cleaning and high school classes. Except, this morning is different. On your way to the dentist, you slip on a patch of ice. 

This was precisely the situation Robert King found himself in three days before Christmas. King skated down an icy hill and flipped his car on the side of the road. 

After totaling his car, King said, “It wasn’t the best way to start my day.”

King struggles to remember immediately after the crash and only recalls brief periods after flipping his car.  “My dad found me. I remember him calling them,” King said. “He said his name and then I remember the ambulance doors being shut.” 

Braden McIntire is no stranger to accidents involving teens driving in winter weather. In his internship with the York County Regional Police Department, McIntire rides along with officers and often sees how first responders handle teen crashes. 

When a teen is in a crash, there are first responders “who act almost more as a parent than someone there to help,” McIntire said. “They try to educate as best as possible.”

As a driving instructor since 2005, Mr. Tom Bell said that educating teens is key to preventing crashes. He suggests that parents give their teens experience in winter weather.

“One of the best things I think can be done with teen drivers is after it snows, have the parents take them to a parking lot,” Mr. Bell said. “You get a feel as to what to do when you’re in that controlled environment rather than sliding for the first time on the open road.”

Driving for over two years, Robert King was never in a crash before and felt comfortable as a driver. He said the accident would have happened regardless of his skill or speed. “When you go over a hill like that, it doesn’t matter,” King said. “It was just the wrong place.”

McIntire recalled one of the teen accidents that he helped during his internship. “The teen driver in that wreck was not at fault,” McIntire said. “It was the simple fact that he was out on the road and in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

McIntire also thinks that driving in icy weather can be unpredictable and many teens are unprepared for that. 

“I do believe teens are more susceptible to being involved in icy accidents than experienced drivers,” McIntire said. “Teens don’t have the knowledge and personal experience driving in those types of conditions.”

Mr. Bell occasionally instructs teen drivers in the snowy weather and thinks that knowledge and experience are vital to adapting to road conditions. 

“Going down hills, put the car in the lowest gear,” Mr. Bell said. “Be heavy on the brake and steady speed. No jerky turns at the wheel. No acceleration, deceleration. That’s how you lose the chance of sliding.”

Mr. Bell said that the best say to stay safe in winter weather is through experienced and safe driving. “Drive the conditions. Don’t drive the speed. That’s key,” Bell said. 

Brayden McIntire sees teens his age in winter driving accidents and empathizes with them. 

“It makes you take a step back, look at where you are, what you are doing,” McIntire said, “and kind of resets you and makes you thankful.”

With a cut up face and severe pain, King spent a day and a half at the hospital and suffered a concussion and two spinal fractures. 

“They said, ‘If you didn’t wear your seatbelt, you would’ve died,’’ King recalled what the hospital workers told him. 

Due to his injuries, King was off work for three weeks and missed a week of school. He still feels neck and back pain especially when sitting in the desk seats and turning his head. 

King got back on the road a week after the accident and now avoids ice whenever it is in the forecast. “I should have just stayed home that day,” King said. “That’d be my regret. I shouldn’t even have left.”

By Shana Carey

Co Editor-in-Chief

NFL Divisional Round Playoffs: The Championships around the Corner

The NFL Wild Card round is finished, and we are in for one of the most entertaining divisional rounds of recent memory. The writers for the Leonid decided to sit down and analyze the upcoming matchups.


  1. Green Bay Packers (1) vs. San Francisco 49ers (6)

Coming off a bye, the Green Bay Packers will take on the San Francisco 49ers on Saturday night, at 8:15 on FOX.

Green Bay Strengths and Weaknesses:

The former MVP, Aaron Rodgers, will lead his Packers against Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers. Aaron Rodgers is 0-3 against the 49ers in his postseason career, so he will look to get revenge on the Niners this weekend. The Packers strength is their offense. With Aaron Rodgers and star wide receiver Davante Adams, they will torch the 49ers secondary. In week 3, the Packers won 30-28 and Davante Adams had 12 catches for 132 yards and a touchdown. The Packers will need to put up an even better performance this week, as the emergence of Deebo Samuel on offense has made their Niners offense more explosive. On the other side of the ball, they are much better than they have been in recent years. I do not think that the Packers have a weakness, but they will have to stop Deebo Samuel and Eli Mitchell from running the ball. Jimmy G will not tear up their secondary, but Kyle Shanahan is a very creative play caller, and you can expect the 49ers to be very prepared for this matchup. The Packers will need to score and get stops, which is easier said than done against the 49ers.

San Francisco Strengths and Weaknesses:

San Francisco’s offense is no joke. With Deebo Samuel playing wide receiver and running back, their offense has taken off. Their run game has gone up to the next level and they will give the Packers defense problems. While Jimmy Garropolo is dealing with a shoulder strain and thumb injury, Head Coach Kyle Shanahan will be handing the ball off to Deebo and rookie running back Elijah Mitchell. The 49ers offense will need to score 26+ to have a shot in this game, in my opinion. While they can rely on their run game, their defense will need to slow down Aaron Rodgers, which is easier said than done. Davante Adams is going to get his, but the Niners need to stop the run game and limit the production of Rodgers’ other receivers.

Prediction: Green Bay Packers: 33

      San Francisco 49ers: 23

  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2) vs. Los Angeles Rams (4)

After dominating wins for both teams, the Los Angeles Rams travel to Tampa Bay to take on the Buccaneers on Sunday at 3:00 on NBC.

Tampa Bay Strengths and Weaknesses:

The Buccaneers are coming off a blowout win against the Philadelphia Eagles, and they will need to build on that. The Rams defense is star studded, so Tom Brady will need help from the run game, specifically Leonard Fournette. The Bucs are getting healthier by the day which is a positive. They lost to the Rams earlier this season, so they will need a better gameplan from Head Coach Bruce Arians. My concern is the Buccaneers secondary. They have great linebackers and a strong defensive line, but their secondary needs to slow down Cooper Kupp. If the Bucs let Matthew Stafford have more than 3 seconds in the pocket, he will torch them by getting the ball to Kupp and Odell Beckham Jr.. If the Buccaneers can limit Los Angeles’ scoring, they have a great chance to get back to the NFC Championship game.

All-Pro Reels from District of Columbia, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0&gt;, via Wikimedia Commons

Tom Brady entering the game against the Washington Football Team hyped up for their Wild Card Matchup.

Los Angeles Strengths and Weaknesses:

The LA Rams have an opportunity to knock out the defending champs this weekend, who they have already beaten once this year. Their defense is their strength. With Aaron Donald, Jalen Ramsey, and Von Miller, they are a three man wrecking crew. Those three need to show up, and that is what I expect them to do. They will need to play tight coverage and get pressure on Tom Brady. Tristan Wirfs, the Buccaneers stud offensive linemen, is questionable, and if he is unable to go, Donald will need to feast on Brady. Offensively, they are also stacked with talent, but my one concern is Matthew Stafford. Coming off the first playoff win of his career, he will need another stellar performance, and I am not confident that we will see that, against a Todd Bowles playoff defense. If Stafford turns the ball over more than one time, the Rams have no shot to win this game.

Prediction: Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 31

      Los Angeles Rams: 23


  1. Tennessee Titans (1) vs. Cincinnati Bengals (4)

The number one seed Tennessee Titans start their playoff run against the red hot Cincinnati Bengals this afternoon at 4:30 on CBS.

Tennessee Strengths and Weaknesses:

All hail the king! King Henry makes his return this afternoon. Derrick Henry, the freight train, will be on the football field for the first time since week eight. This should give the Titans a huge boost going into the playoffs. Running the football has always been the Titans’ strength, and his return will give the Bengals problems. The Titans will need to score 25+ if they want to win this game, and I think they will do just that. The Titans have no real weakness, as long as Tannehill takes care of the football. Defensively, they have an unbelievably good defensive line, with three players having 7+ sacks this season. I feel confident that the Titans will have a great game this weekend, as Head Coach Mike Vrabel is dominant in games after having a bye week. I am expecting a statement win from the Titans this weekend.

Cincinnati Strengths and Weaknesses:

The Bengals are coming off a great win against the Las Vegas Raiders, but the Titans are much better. Joe Burrow will need to protect the football and distribute the ball between Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd. Along with the passing attack, Joe Mixon will need to run the ball effectively, which will keep the Titans defense honest. Defensively, you wish the Bengals defense luck. Derrick Henry is impossible to stop and insanely difficult to tackle, so if the Bengals are unable to slow him down, their chances of winning this game are zero.

Prediction: Tennessee Titans: 28

      Cincinnati Bengals: 24

  1. Kansas City Chiefs (2) vs. Buffalo Bills (3)

The Kansas City Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes take on the Buffalo Bills and Josh Allen on Sunday at 6:30 on CBS. 

Kansas City Strengths and Weaknesses:

The Chiefs have one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL, and they will need that against the Bills, who have the number one ranked defense in the NFL. Mahomes will need to protect the ball, which he didn’t do in the Chiefs 38-20 loss against the Bills earlier in the season. Tyreek Hill will need to catch the balls that are thrown to him, and they will need to run the ball effectively. Defensively, they will need to stop Josh Allen. Allen is a passing and running threat, which means they will need a spy on him for much of the game. The Chiefs defense has gotten better throughout the year, but they will need an elite performance this weekend. Turnovers will be vital against this Bills team.

Buffalo Strengths and Weaknesses:

The Bills have an elite offense, as do the Chiefs, but their defense is what makes them dangerous. Behind Jordan Poyer, this Bills defense has been stellar all season. They were able to make life tough on Patrick Mahomes in their first matchup, and they will have to do that again this weekend. They truly have no weaknesses, as long as their stars show up to play. If their defense and offense are ready for this epic showdown, I think the Bills can win this game, even in Arrowhead. This might be the year Josh Allen takes down Patrick Mahomes, I guess we will have to just wait and see.

Prediction: Buffalo Bills: 35

      Kansas City Chiefs: 31

By George Keene

Sports Editor

What to Expect in the NFL Playoffs: Super Wild Card Weekend

The regular season is over, and the NFL playoffs are here. The Bengals and Raiders will kick off Super Wild Card weekend this afternoon, so the writers for the Leonid decided to sit down and preview each wild card weekend matchup. 


  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2) vs. Philadelphia Eagles (7)

The defending champs Tampa Bay Buccaneers will take on the streaking Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday at 1:00 on FOX. This will be the first time Tom Brady has faced the Philadelphia Eagles in the postseason since Superbowl 52. At 44 years old, Tom Brady will be facing off against Jalen Hurts, a 23-year-old who is fighting to prove himself as the Eagles long-term answer at quarterback.

Tampa Bay Strengths and Weaknesses:

The Buccaneers have the second-best offense in the NFL based on yardage per game and points scored per game. Offensively, the Buccaneers have been a high-powered offense, star-studded with Tom Brady, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown, Rob Gronkowski, and Leonard Fournette, but that will not be the offense out there on Sunday afternoon. Chris Godwin tearing his ACL, Antonio Brown stripping himself and leaving the field midgame, and lingering hamstring injuries with Mike Evans and Leonard Fournette have left the Buccaneers in a tough situation to close out the year. Some good news is that Evans and Fournette will be good to go this weekend. Defensively is where things get shaky. The Buccaneers will be going up against the number one rushing offense in the NFL led by Miles Sanders, Jalen Hurts, and Jordan Howard. They have been decimated with injuries all season, but they are expecting to get Shaquill Barret and Jason Pierre-Paul back, which should help solidify their defense.

Philadelphia Strengths and Weaknesses: 

The Philadelphia Eagles have the number one ranked rushing offense in the NFL, but they have a difficult challenge ahead of them. While the Buccaneers have been awfully stingy with their run defense, they have been less effective at stopping the run these last couple weeks, as a result of missing key players on the defensive side of the ball. The Eagles will exploit the Bucs’ secondary while running the ball to the perimeter of their defense if they want any shot at winning this game. Miles Sanders is continuing rehab on a fractured hand but looks like he will play on Sunday, which is a welcome sign to Eagles fans everywhere. While their offense will have to score points to win this game, their defense will have to put pressure on the seven-time Super Bowl champion, Tom Brady. If the Eagles allow Tom more than a second or two to get the ball out of his hands, he will torch the Eagles secondary, so having an effective four-man rush, headed by Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave, Derek Barnett, and Josh Sweat will be vital to winning this game.

Prediction: Philadelphia Eagles 29 

      Tampa Bay Buccaneers 26 

  1. Dallas Cowboys (3) vs. San Francisco 49ers (6)

The San Francisco 49ers will travel to take on the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday at 4:30, on CBS. Jimmy Garoppolo will take on Dak Prescott as he looks to take the 49ers back to another superbowl. The 49ers defense will have their hands full, though, as they take on the best offense in the NFL.

Dallas Strengths and Weaknesses:

The Cowboys have a superpower offense for several seasons now, but this year, they have a superpower defense. With Randy Gregory, Trevon Diggs, Demarcus Lawrence, and rookie Micah Parsons, the Cowboys have been an elite defense all season, bouncing back from last season, when they had a historically bad defense. They should be able to slow down this 49ers offense, so that even if their offense is struggling, it won’t take an immense amount of points to win. Coaching might be their weakest link. Head Coach Mike McCarthy needs to outcoach 49ers Head Coach Kyle Shanahan. He will need to use his timeouts effectively and call a good game.

San Francisco Strengths and Weaknesses:

The 49ers are one of the most dangerous teams in the playoffs, because they have lots of playoff experience. Two years ago, they were in the superbowl with a very similar roster, so the Niners know what is needed of them to reach their ultimate goal of winning a championship. With Kyle Shanahan’s creative playcalling, they should have no problem scoring points, despite an elite Cowboys’ defense. However, Nick Bosa and the rest of the San Francisco defense will need to stop the run and limit the big play ability of  Dak Prescott and Ceedee Lamb if they want a shot of keeping up in this game.

Prediction: San Francisco 49ers: 24

      Dallas Cowboys: 21

  1. Los Angeles Rams (4) vs. Arizona Cardinals (5)

The star studded Los Angeles Rams welcome the Arizona Cardinals to SoFi Stadium on Monday at 8:15, on ABC and ESPN. The NFC West rivals will face off for the third time this season, so far, splitting the series. Kyler Murray will make his playoff debut as they look to upset Matthew Stafford and the Rams.

Los Angeles Strengths and Weaknesses:

It’s fitting that the Los Angeles Rams are filled with showtime stars. While they have a stacked offense, it’s their defense that will have to carry them this postseason. With perennial Pro Bowlers in Aaron Donald, Jalen Ramsey, and Von Miller on the defensive side of the ball, they will need to cause havoc on Monday night. With Kyler Murrays’ scrambling ability, they will need to contain him as best they can. Their biggest weakness is their quarterback Matthew Stafford. I find it hard to believe myself, but Stafford has been struggling as of late, and he will need to stop turning the ball over if they want to reach the superbowl, let alone get past the Cardinals.

Arizona Strengths and Weaknesses:

The Cardinals have not been playing great to finish off the season, but with Kyler Murray and Deandre Hopkins back and fully healthy and ready to go for the playoffs, never say never. Their offense has the ability to explode at any second, because of players like Chase Edmonds, James Conner, Deandre Hopkins, and AJ Green, but they will need reliable play out of newly acquired tight end Zach Ertz. If Kyler Murray can take care of the football, and not put the ball in harms’ way, the Cardinals can win this game. My only concern for the Arizona Cardinals is their ability to slow down Cooper Kupp and the Rams offense. Chandler Jones will need to put pressure on Matthew Stafford, which should lead to turnovers, which should then lead to good field position for the Cardinals offense. I am expecting a fairly high scoring affair on Monday night.

Prediction: Los Angeles Rams: 33

      Arizona Cardinals: 30


  1. Kansas City Chiefs (2) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (7)

The Pittsburgh Steelers will take on the Kansas City Chiefs, at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday night, at 8:15, on NBC. In the battle, two of the most respected coaches in NFL history, Andy Reid and Mike Tomlin. The Steelers will look to upset the back to back AFC champions.

Kansas City Strengths and Weaknesses:

I think it’s fair to say that the Chiefs are the favorites to come out of the AFC for a third straight season. With Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, and Travis Kelce on the offensive side of the ball, they can score on anybody. Their offense struggled earlier in the season, but I am expecting an explosive Chiefs offense as they look to make a run here in the playoffs. A cause for concern would be their inconsistent defense. Their defense had been playing very well after a slow start to the season, but last week against the Broncos, their defense gave up 24 points after the Broncos hadn’t scored more than 13 in the three weeks prior. Tyrann Mathieu will need to lead the Chiefs defense and make sure they keep an old Ben Roethlisberger in check.

Pittsburgh Strengths and Weaknesses:

The Steelers are major underdogs this week, understandably. They have a static quarterback and a team that quite frankly, shouldn’t be in the playoffs. However, they have a shot to take down one of the NFL’s best teams in the wild card round. The Steelers defense will NEED to slow down the Chiefs offense if they want any shot at winning and advancing this postseason. TJ Watt will need to get after the quarterback and make life as difficult as possible for Mahomes. Watt tied the single season sacks record with 22.5 sacks this season, so I think that he will need to leave his mark on this game. My concern for the Steelers is Big Ben. He has very limited mobility and his arm strength isn’t quite what it used to be, so can he find one more postseason run in him, I doubt it. 

Prediction: Kansas City Chiefs: 38

      Pittsburgh Steelers: 17

  1. Buffalo Bills (3) vs. New England Patriots (6)

The Buffalo Bills will take on the New England Patriots tonight, at 8:15 on CBS. After splitting the regular season series, Josh Allen will look to send Mac Jones and the New England Patriots home. It will be a game to remember, as it is going to be a frosty night in Buffalo.

Buffalo Strengths and Weaknesses:

The Bills have the number one ranked defense, and they will need that defense to show up tonight. A defense led by Jordan Poyer, will need to shut down Mac Jones and the Patriots offense. If their defense can make the Patriots offense one dimensional, they will have an excellent chance to win this game. On the other hand, the Bills will need consistent production out of Devin Singletary, who has been up and down this season. If he can find a way to run the ball effectively, especially since it is going to be one of the coldest games this season, he will make the Bills offense much harder to stop.

New England Strengths and Weaknesses:

The Patriots have a difficult task ahead of them, going to win a game in Buffalo. However, their defense is a reason for hope. Led by JC Jackson and Matthew Judon, the Pats defense will need to make life hard on Josh Allen. They will need to get pressure on him, because if they let Allen sit back and pick them apart, that is exactly what he will do. On the contrary, Mac Jones will need to show up for the occasion. Over the last month, his quarterback rating has dropped to one of the lowest in the NFL and he has struggled more than he had at the beginning of the season. He will need to find a way to complete passes despite the unfortunate weather, because if he struggles again, I don’t think the Patriots have any shot at winning this game.

Prediction: Buffalo Bills: 17

      New England Patriots: 16

  1. Cincinnati Bengals (4) vs. Las Vegas Raiders (5)

The Las Vegas Raiders travel to Cincinnati to take on the Bengals this afternoon, at 4:30 on NBC. Derek Carr and Joe Burrow are set to make their playoff debuts as they look to get their teams their first playoff win in decades.

Cincinnati Strengths and Weaknesses:

Cincinnati’s strength is plain and simple, it’s their offense. Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd are possibly the most talented wide receiver group in the entire NFL, and that has allowed Joe Burrow to excel thus far in his career. The Bengals put up 32 on the Raiders in their one and only meeting this season, so they will look to duplicate that performance. One cause for concern, could be their lack of playoff experience. The Bengals are a very young team, and with a head coach making his playoff debut, they will need to ease into the game. I expect Cincinnati to take it to the Raiders and put up an amazing performance.

Las Vegas Strengths and Weaknesses:

After a season filled with drama, the Raiders find themselves with the chance to take out the red hot Bengals. They only put up 13 points in their matchup with the Bengals in the regular season, so they will need a much better offensive performance in the wild card round. The Raiders can rely on Derek Carr to show up. He has been the heart and soul of this team on the offensive side of the ball. With Darren Waller back, he should be able to put up some points on this Bengals defense. The only cause for concern is their defense. Maxx Crosby has been their best player on the defensive side of the ball, but they will need some more people to step up. This Bengals offense is explosive, so the Raiders secondary will need to play their best game of the season. I think the Raiders have a shot to win this game, but they will need to play close to perfect football.

Prediction: Cincinnati Bengals: 28

      Las Vegas Raiders: 24

By George Keene

Sports Editor

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