The good news? It’s that time of the year when the NFL holds court over any and everything in sports.
The bad news? The NFL season is that much closer to being over.
Nevertheless, we’re in the business of turning words into thoughts and what person doesn’t love reading thoughts about the NFL postseason. That’s why we’re all gathered here today. What we have here are 10 random notes to help increase anticipation for today’s games.
Got any talking points or tips we missed? Let us know in the comments.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Indianapolis Colts (4:35 PM EST, NBC)
1. The Chief’s 9-0 record was somewhat of a mirage, coming against largely subpar teams, but still fairly impressive nonetheless (especially considering where they were a year ago). However, since then they finished the season 2-5 and are entering the playoffs with a 1-6 record against other postseason teams.
2. The Colts were also one of the NFL’s more inconsistent teams, beating the trifecta of the Seahawks, Niners, and Broncos but then stunningly getting trounced by the Rams and the Cardinals. Which Indianapolis team will show up this weekend?
3. When Kansas City was blown out against Indy in Week 16, they gave away the ball four times, compared to Indy’s zero. Even the usually secure Alex Smith had two fumbles and a pick. If the Chiefs have any hope of forcing a different outcome, it will come down to KC’s defense and the net turnover margin.
4. Indianapolis has only allowed a grand total of 20 points through the last three games. Not coincidentally, they’ve entered the postseason on a three game win streak, getting hot at the most opportune of times. They’ll need their defense to play with the same intensity and reduce Alex Smith into the game manager he’s known to be.
5. Linebacker Tamba Hali will the be the X-factor against Andrew Luck. If he can repeatedly pressure the QB or even attract enough attention to serve as a decoy for other to harass Luck, Kansas City will run away with the game.
New Orleans Saints vs. Philadelphia Eagles (8:10 PM EST, NBC)
1. This one will come down to defense. Can Philly’s porous pass-defense contain the Drew Brees’ passing attack enough for Nick Foles to drop more points than the Saints? And can Rob Ryan’s blitz-happy defense put pressure on Foles and force him out of his comfort zone for the duration of the game?
2. LeSean McCoy’s had a stellar season and he’s going to have to have another huge game to keep the Eagles’ momentum rolling forward.
3. With New Orleans, Breezus holds a Nick Foles-like 20-3 TD-INT ratio in the playoffs. And with the Eagles’ staunch run-defense, it’ll likely come down to Brees’ ability to spread the ball among all of his weapons. Jimmy Graham will have to come up big once again and put on a performance for the ages and keep the pressure off of the running backs.
4. DeSean Jackson will have at least one breakaway touchdown, taking advantage of the Saints’ heavy pass rush and escaping untouched for a key score.
5. Chip Kelly doesn’t care about time of possession, and the Saints will try to capitalize on that by keeping the ball in Drew Brees and the offense’s trusty hands and keep Philly away from the ball as much as possible.