The playoffs get underway at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday when the Cincinnati Bengals play host to the New York Jets. Cincinnati’s lineup includes Jeanty at outside linebacker. Jeanty played in 15 games this year, earning a start in the team’s season-finale against the Jets, and recorded 20 tackles on the season. A trip to the Super Bowl in South Florida would be particularly special for Jeanty who grew up around the corner from Dolphin Stadium in Miami’s Carol City neighborhood.
Saturday night, Samuel and the Philadelphia Eagles head to Dallas to face the Cowboys. The seventh-year veteran is searching for his third Super Bowl championship and fourth appearance in the game after being a part of two winners and one runner-up in New England. In fact, Samuel has played in a conference championship game in five of his first six NFL seasons, missing a trip to at least the league’s penultimate playoff stage only in 2006 with the Patriots.
Samuel has played a great role in the Eagles’ success this year, making nine interceptions to tie for the NFL lead. Additionally, Samuel’s 25 passes defended ranked seventh in the NFL this season. It all adds up to a third consecutive Pro Bowl selection for the Lauderdale Lakes native.
On Sunday at 4:40 p.m., the Green Bay Packers head to Arizona with a pair of former Knights in their starting lineup. Sitton has started all 16 games this year at right guard for the Packers. On defense, Bigby started 11 games at safety and each of the final eight. The fourth-year pro made three interceptions over the season’s final two weeks, including one against Arizona in the season finale. Bigby recorded 49 tackles on the year and eight pass defenses, including four interceptions.
Brown is not on the field as an active player but still has a role in the playoff chase as a member of the Minnesota Vikings’ practice squad. Brown joined the Vikings early in the season after being let go by another playoff participant, the New England Patriots. The Vikings have a first round bye and will begin their pursuit of the Vince Lombardi Trophy at the Metrodome on Sunday, Jan. 17 at 1 p.m. against either Dallas, Arizona or Green Bay, depending on the wild card round’s results.
The current UCF NFL alumni will look to join an exclusive list as Shawn Jefferson (San Diego and New England), Mike Gruttadauria (St. Louis Rams) and Samuel (New England) are the lone Knights in the program’s young history to play in a Super Bowl with Gruttadauria and Samuel bringing home titles.
While each of these five Knights will be fighting for a trip with their respective teams to South Florida for Super Bowl XLIV, UCF is at least ensured of a pair of individual representatives in South Florida the previous week. Samuel and Denver wide receiver Brandon Marshall have both been selected for the Pro Bowl which moves to the mainland this year and will be played on Jan. 31 at Dolphin Stadium leading up to the Super Bowl.