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UConn in the NFL: Divisional Round Preview

Byron Jones and Geremy Davis advance to divisional round; join Pro Bowl fullback Anthony Sherman.

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Kansas City Chiefs Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Four Huskies entered; two advanced. Wild Card Weekend has come and gone, and we bid farewell to two of the more prominent UConn players in the NFL.

Expectations were high for tight end Ryan Griffin. With the retirement of C.J. Fiedorowicz at the end of the 2017-18 season, the stage was set for Griffin to take on a starting role with the Houston Texans.

After a difficult start to the season, Houston battled their way to an 11-5 record with Griffin starting all but five games for the Texans at tight end. Plagued by a mid-season injury and a timeshare with two hungry rookies, his numbers were a bit more pedestrian than many expected, finishing the year with 23 receptions for 299 yards.

Unfortunately, the Texans’ post-season run was cut short by the streaking Indianapolis Colts. Griffin’s numbers mirrored the team as a whole, with the entire offense looking uncharacteristically flat. He ended the game with one reception on five targets for just six yards.

Wild Card Weekend marked the end of Shamar Stephen’s season as well. This was Stephen’s first year with the Seattle Seahawks and his fifth year in the NFL. He became a starter in Week 2 and held onto the role for the 16 games that followed. Stephen recorded 25 tackles and 2 sacks in his 2018-19 campaign.

With Seattle going head-to-head with the Dallas Cowboys, we knew we’d lose one of the Huskies defensive standouts in the first round. And when the dust settled, that man was Stephen. But Byron Jones of the Dallas Cowboys moves on, looking to upset an offensive juggernaut in the Los Angeles Rams.

The Rams have scored more points than any team in the NFC and trail only the Kansas City Chiefs in all of the NFL. Rams quarterback Jared Goff finished fourth overall in passing yards with Robert Woods and Brandin Cooks fronting a two-headed attack on opposing secondaries.

Jones has put together a Pro Bowl season in just his first year at cornerback by shutting down these types of offenses. He will look to do it again on Saturday night and improve on his four-tackle performance against the Seahawks. Plus, he’s long overdue for his first interception. Worth keeping on an eye on that.

Wide receiver Geremy Davis has also survived the first round of playoff action with the Los Angeles Chargers. Targeted just once this year, Davis has been relegated to special teams where he’s managed to rack up nine tackles, including one against the Baltimore Ravens this past Sunday.

The Chargers are on their way to Foxborough to take on the New England Patriots, home of yet another Husky. Safety Obi Melifonwu signed with the Pats in early November, but has yet to appear in game since Week 13 against the Minnesota Vikings.

Still a member of the active roster, it remains unclear whether we will see Melifonwu in his first postseason appearance.

We will, however, definitely see Anthony Sherman, who has been making his case as the best fullback in football for eight years now. This season, he’s been an integral part of the most explosive offense in football.

Leading the NFL in total points, yards-per-game, touchdowns and many other statistical categories, the Chiefs have been a dominant force through the regular season. After a bye week in the first round of the playoffs, Sherman and the Chiefs will be looking to continue their success against the Colts.

So which Huskies will be playing in their last football game of the year and which Huskies will keep their Super Bowl hopes alive? We know we’ll see at least one UConn alum at Championship weekend with Obi Melifonwu and Geremy Davis going head to head.