After an thrilling wild-card spherical that noticed two huge upsets, in addition to some unbelievable finishes, the Divisional Round is lastly upon us. Now in case your group misplaced final weekend, we’re positive you’re upset and you’ve got each proper to be. Even this author is irritated that they solely received one out of their 4 predictions proper, however that’s irrelevant.
Considering the matchups we have now been blessed with, there are many causes to observe some soccer this weekend. The Super Bowl is simply three weekends away and the video games are getting increasingly intense. Whether your group remains to be in it or not, there isn’t a denying how entertaining this weekend’s matches are going to be.
Having stated that, let’s check out how these groups stack up.
Saturday, January 12th
No. 6 Indianapolis at No. 1 Kansas City, on NBC at four:35 p.m. ET
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When you think about that the Indianapolis Colts are a six seed going up in opposition to a one seed within the Kansas City Chiefs, it’s straightforward to catch your self saying the Chiefs will win simply. Don’t be fooled that simply although. Yes, the Chiefs have an incredible offense with some of the thrilling younger quarterbacks within the recreation, however the Colts’ momentum coming into the weekend is palpable.
Including final weekend’s win in opposition to the Houston Texans, the Colts have gained 10 of their final 11 video games. They began the season 1-5 and gained 9 out of their final 10 simply to make the playoffs. Meanwhile, the Chiefs began the 12 months 9-1 and went Three-Three of their final six.
Regardless of momentum, the Chiefs have a transparent benefit over the Colts on the subject of offense. According to NFL.com, the Chiefs completed first in complete factors per recreation with 35.Three and first in complete yards with 425.6 yards per match. In those self same classes, the Colts completed fifth and seventh respectively. The Chiefs success is largely due to quarterback Patrick Mahomes who completed the 12 months with 50 landing passes. In comparability, Andrew Luck had 39 touchdowns.
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On the opposite aspect of the ball, the Chiefs wrestle on protection. Bad defensive performances have been the rationale for almost all of the group’s losses this season, together with a 54-51 shootout in opposition to the Los Angeles Rams. The Chiefs gave up 26.Three factors per recreation (24th within the league), and 405.5 yards per recreation (31st within the league). Comparatively, the Colts are 10th and 11th in these classes, giving them a transparent benefit on protection, in line with NFL.com.
Neither of those groups have performed one another this season so each groups can be getting a contemporary have a look at one another on Saturday. The winner will get to play the victor of the New England Patriots vs. Los Angeles Chargers recreation within the AFC Championship match.
No. four Dallas at No. 2 Los Angeles Rams, on Fox eight:15 at p.m. ET
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Heading to the NFC now, the Dallas Cowboys are contemporary off of a 24-22 win in opposition to the Seattle Seahawks the place the group blended some strong protection with well timed offense. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Rams had been among the finest groups within the league this season, ending with a report of 13-Three.
In phrases of offense, this recreation is an entire mismatch. The Rams completed second in factors per recreation with 32.9, and second in complete yards with a mean of 421.1 each match. Thanks to working again Todd Gurley, their speeding recreation was third within the league, with 139.four yards a recreation. Gurley was spectacular this season amassing over 1200 yards speeding and 17 touchdowns. Dallas, alternatively, has been much less spectacular. They rank 21st and 22nd in factors and yards per recreation respectively. All stats courtesy of NFL.com.
As for passing, this recreation comes all the way down to a battle between Jared Goff of the Rams, and Dak Prescott of the Cowboys. According to Pro-Football-Reference, Goff completed the season with 32 touchdowns and 4688 passing yards. Prescott completed with 22 touchdowns and 3885 yards. Goff and Prescott completed with 12 and eight interceptions respectively.
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Much just like the Chief/Colts matchup, the group with the outstanding offense is missing slightly on protection. The Rams completed 20th and 19th in factors and yards allowed per recreation, whereas Dallas was sixth and seventh in these classes. This season it’s been the Rams’ offense that has bailed them out of dangerous defensive performances. For the Cowboys although, it’s the protection that retains them in each recreation.
Both groups have but to play one another this season. The winner will get to play both the Philadelphia Eagles or the New Orleans Saints within the NFC Championship recreation.
Sunday, January 13th
No. 5 L.A. Chargers at No. 2 New England, on CBS at 1:05 p.m. ET
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The first recreation on Sunday will see the New England Patriots partake of their first playoff recreation of the season in a marketing campaign the place they’re trying to attain their third-straight Super Bowl. On the opposite aspect, Philip Rivers and the Chargers will look to construct on final week’s 23-17 win in opposition to the Baltimore Ravens.
One of the extra fascinating storylines of this recreation is how outdated the quarterbacks are. This is a story of two veterans as Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is 41, whereas Rivers is 37. Their age hasn’t held them again in any respect actually. Brady had 29 touchdowns and Rivers had 32 this season, making them amongst the elite quarterbacks within the league. While Rivers might have had a greater season passing, Brady has the largest pedigree championship clever. Rivers has but to win a title, all whereas Brady has 5 of them.
The Patriots completed 11-5 this season and continued to be among the finest offensive groups within the league, ending fourth in common factors per recreation with 27.2. Thanks to Brady that they had the eighth-best passing offense and fifth-best complete offense. Running again James White was additionally a giant issue for the Patriots offense, amassing over 1000 complete yards this season. The Chargers are additionally no slouch on offense. They had the eighth finest common factors per recreation and the 10th finest passing offense. While the Chargers are formidable in that class, the Patriots do have an edge. All stats courtesy of NFL.com.
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Defensively the Patriots are missing by way of stopping the cross and preserving yards to a minimal. They have the 22nd ranked cross protection and 21st ranked complete protection. Although it isn’t all dangerous. The group solely provides up 20.Three factors per recreation which was the seventh-best common within the league. On the opposite aspect of the sphere, the Chargers are way more constant defensively. They had been eighth in factors allowed and ninth in complete yards, cross yards, and rush yards given up. All stats courtesy of NFL.com.
In the Brady/Rivers period, the Chargers and Patriots have met twice within the playoffs, with the Patriots taking each video games. However, Brady has struggled in these matches so it is going to be fascinating to see how this one performs out.
The winner will tackle both the Kansas City Chiefs or the Indianapolis Colts within the AFC Championship recreation.
No. 6 Philadelphia at No. 1 New Orleans, on Fox four:40 at p.m. ET
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In the ultimate recreation of the weekend, the defending champs tackle one of the best group in soccer, the New Orleans Saints. Considering how fortunate the Eagles received final week with Chicago Bears kicker Cody Parkey lacking a game-winning discipline aim, this matchup in all probability ought to have by no means occurred. Regardless, it must be one of many extra intriguing video games we’ll be blessed with.
Eagles quarterback Nick Foles has been on a roll as of late, whereas Saints QB Drew Brees continues to be among the finest gamers within the league. In 16 video games this season, Brees registered 32 touchdowns and solely 5 interceptions. He additionally accomplished 74.four% of his passes which simply goes to indicate how the 39-year-old nonetheless has it.
On offense, it seems as if these groups are in two utterly completely different leagues. The Saints have the third finest factors per recreation common, whereas the Eagles are 18th in that class. There is just one class the Eagles beat the Saints in and that’s passing yards per recreation because the Eagles rank seventh and the Saints 12th. Not to say, the Saints have the sixth finest rush offense, whereas the Eagles had been the fifth worst group in that division. All stats courtesy of NFL.com.
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The defensive matchup on this recreation is trying fairly even though the Saints clearly have a bonus on rush protection, solely giving up 80 yards per recreation, ok for second within the league. In phrases of factors per recreation, the Saints rank 14th, permitting 22.1. The Eagles are 12th in that very same class, forfeiting 21.eight factors per match. Both the Saints and Eagles are abysmal on cross protection, rating 29th and 30th within the league respectively. All stats courtesy of NFL.com.
This gained’t be the primary time these two groups play one another this season. On November 18th the Saints routed the Eagles 48-7 in a recreation that wasn’t even shut.
Whoever wins will play the Dallas Cowboys or the Los Angeles Rams within the NFC Championship recreation.
Who do you assume goes to come back out victorious this weekend?