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  154. Spot-fixing: ECB rejects claims against England players in new documentary
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  156. Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw to take mound in unfamiliar territory
  157. Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh rips Michigan State, Dantonio again, doubles down on ‘bush league’
  158. World Series at bat: Red Sox’s Sale vs Dodgers’ Kershaw
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  163. Judge affirms Monsanto weed-killer verdict, slashes damages
  164. Week 8 betting tips: Redskins are set up for a long win streak
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  181. Lady Gaga Writes Powerful Op-Ed About Suicide And Mental Health Stigma
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  188. The Bills’ quarterback situation has hit rock bottom, and Nathan Peterman and Kelvin Benjamin need to go
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  191. Athletics’ Bob Melvin Is Rooted in Oakland but Was Refined in New York
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NFL playoffs: Eight X-factors that could determine who wins AFC, NFC Championship Games
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With simply four groups left within the NFL playoffs facing away from in their particular conference tournament games Weekend, it’s not the particular star gamers and apparent trends which will determine the final results. In every game, you will find players, coaches and tactics boiling below the area that will assist determine which advances to Super Bowl LIII.

Here are 2 X-factors for every team within the conference name games.

Brand new England Patriots ta Kansas City Chiefs

Patriots

Stress or drop back?

Brand new England’s strategy of sending blitzers while clamping down on receivers in guy coverage worked well brilliantly contrary to the Chargers within the divisional circular. But the Patriots will likely need to alter individuals tactics contrary to the Chiefs.. Based on NFL Following Gen Statistics, New Britain pressured Philip Rivers upon 70. six percent of their dropbacks, the greatest rate your dog is faced in different game this year. While Rivers’ numbers towards pressure had been significantly even worse than whenever he was not, Mahomes offers excelled whenever facing the blitz. He or she posted the particular league’s second-best quarterback rating (117. 7) as well as the third-best back yards per try (8. 9) against the blitz in 2018. Rather than making use of additional body to call up pressure, trainer Bill Belichick and protective play-caller Brian Flores may attempt to slow Kansas City’s mind blowing passing video game by utilizing complex coverages.

Covering Kelce

In Brand new England’s 43-40 win over Kansas City within Week six, Chiefs restricted end Travis Kelce captured just 5 of 9 targets meant for 61 back yards. Two of these receptions arrived consecutive performs in the initial series plus resulted in twenty six yards, yet Kelce has been pretty much the non-factor all of those other way. Safeties Devin McCourty and Tanker Chung performed a big part in helping maintain the four-time Professional Bowl selection contained, but they got plenty of assist. The Patriots often double-teamed Kelce – especially when the particular Chiefs had been in the red area, but usually the responsibility dropped on gamers like linebacker Dont’a Hightower and cornerback Jonathan Jones. On Weekend, a do it again performance will probably take one more team work.

AFC Tournament preview: May Patrick Mahomes outduel Ben Brady within rematch?

Chiefs

Rushing protection

This is perhaps the one vulnerability New England is better poised to exploit. The Chiefs ranked 27th in rushing protection, allowing 132. 1 back yards per game on the floor. The Patriots, over their own last 7 games, possess averaged 158. 1 hurrying yards per game. In particular, the particular emergence associated with rookie working back Sony Michel as well as the continued enhancement of New England’s offensive range have allowed the Patriots to become a team in whose offensive identification is grounded to the surface attack. That will ability helps open play-action goes by, so if the particular Chiefs can not contain the Patriots’ rusn online game, they may have trouble maintaining New Britain out of the finish zone.

Getting into Brady’s encounter

While the front side seven produces too many hurrying yards, this particular group gathers sacks nearly at will. Kansas City linked for 1st this season along with 52 total and collected three read more about Colts quarterback Andrew Good fortune in the divisional round – contrary to the offensive range that directed the regular period with the fewest sacks permitted (18). Generally, the definite way to fluster Brady during the past has been to create pass hurry on the interior of the Patriots offensive range. That’s exactly where defensive finish Chris Jones comes in. When he can sink into through the center, he could affect the time and tempo of the Pats offense.

Extremely Bowl LIII: Ranking create matchup simply by entertainment worth

Los Angeles Rams at Saints

Rams

Working back Chemical. J. Anderson

In the 2018 calendar year, 3 teams (the Broncos, Panthers and Raiders) parted along with Anderson. La signed your pet late within the season as being a backup in order to Todd Gurley and as insurance policy after Malcolm Brown obtained hurt. Just about all Anderson has been doing in 3 games using the Rams, which includes one playoff contest, is definitely rush intended for 422 back yards on sixty six carries (for 6. four yards the carry) plus four touchdowns. If D. A. could possibly get the hurrying game heading, it might be their finest chance in a upset. The particular Saints, nevertheless , ranked 2nd in the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE this year, permitting just eighty. 2 hurrying yards a game title. But if the Rams can shift the basketball on the ground, they will control the particular clock and maintain Drew Brees and Brand new Orleans from the field.

A lot more: Jerry Jones believes Cowboys’ defense a new tell versus Rams

Cornerback Aqib Talib

Saints recipient Michael Jones destroyed the particular Rams whenever these two groups faced away from in 7 days 9 pertaining to 12 receptions for 211 yards and something score. Since Talib had been on wounded reserve at that time with an ankle joint injury, it had been Marcus Peters who needed to guard Jones most of the online game. With Talib not only healthful but also actively playing at an incredibly high level, search for defensive planner Wade Phillips to try to gradual Thomas straight down by complementing him plan his best corner. He might even inquire Talib in order to shadow Jones all online game long.

NFC Championship survey: Which high-powered offense may prevail?

New orleans saints

Getting the golf ball out rapidly

Brees has already established arguably their most efficient period in his profession. A large a part of his achievement stems from his ability to obtain the ball away from his fingers quickly plus into the ones from his playmakers. Including the playoffs, Brees thrown passes this year in an typical of second . 59 secs, third-quickest within the NFL. Their touchdown-to-interception proportion on goes by released within fewer than second . 5 mere seconds this year had been 18: three or more. The Rams, though, happen to be solid towards quick tosses. They’ve permitted a traverser rating associated with 86. five (fourth) along with a 7: 6 TD-to-interception proportion on tosses faster compared to 2 . five seconds. That will tempo is among the cornerstones of recent Orleans’ strike. If Brees and Company. can determine the speed of the video game, the Rams could be struggling.

Right safeguard Larry Warford and correct tackle Thomas Ramczyk

The particular Rams produced an NFL-worst 5. one rushing back yards a have in the normal season, even though they do shut down the particular Cowboys plus NFL hurrying leader Ezekiel Elliott within the divisional circular. Even though Brees and Jones draw the majority of the praise placed on the New orleans saints offense, operating backs Alvin Kamara plus Mark Ingram can totally take over online games. Kamara is certainly shifty, speedy and can rating on a play. Ingram is the hooligan in between the particular tackles. Yet New Orleans loves working off of the correct side. Within 2018, the particular Saints went 72 hurrying plays at the rear of the right deal with, most within the NFL, plus 105 performs behind the correct guard, 2nd most. Increasing the production upon those performs against La may be the crucial to a visit to the Extremely Bowl.

Adhere to Lorenzo Reyes on Tweets @LorenzoGReyes.

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