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The Chiefs are no longer able to hear of their eternal failure in the playoffs. Their supporters suffer every time the painful wound that is reopened every the month of January. There is only one way to silence critics and calm the doubt in the air at them, or put their fate in the hands of Patrick Mahomes, without reserve.
Obviously, this is a lot to ask of a quarterback’s second year which will be his first start in the series. Normally, it would be to take it easy with a quarter without extensive experience, asking her to make just the necessary, without wearing his own on his shoulders.
Except that for the Chiefs, normally, it was in the past. In Mahomes, they bet now on a sniper who has the instincts, the athleticism, the arm and the vision to change the course of a game in a single game. It is necessary to hand over the keys to the car and ask him to lead the team to the promised land without even thinking about pressing the brake.
It is true that the quarter-back who are in their first start in the series often live a difficult baptism. Since 2010, the pivots in this uncomfortable situation show a cumulative record little convincing, 8-15. Moreover, of the eight winners, five were in the league for at least four years. It is far from the account for Mahomes.
Play to win
It is well known that the Chiefs have had several awe-inspiring seasons, but are off to rehearsal when it was hot in the kitchen series. It has nothing to myths and spread, as evidenced by their card-disastrous 1-11 in their last 12 duels in the playoffs.
This cataclysm key as their head coach Andy Reid. 13 attendance in the series under the banner of the Eagles and the Chiefs, he has enjoyed 11 victories, but suffered 13 defeats, all the more indigestible than the others.
A rise of 28 points to the Colts… poor management of the clock here and there… A pass from Marcus Mariota folded, which is due to him directly in the hands for a touchdown… In hockey, we would say that the washer does not roll for Reid.
And the evil spell is working all the more on him since he is at the helm of the Chiefs, with only one victory in five career playoff games, even if its Chiefs have scored 19 more points in these five matches they have given.
Mahomes in control
This is precisely where the portrait will change with Mahomes. Too often in the past, the Chiefs have played to not lose rather than to win. The nuance is subtle but important.
This time, with a quarter-back, sometimes careless and too confident in his ways, but with the killer instinct sharp, Reid and the Chiefs need to go out, any aggression.
Mahomes, who became the third quarterback only in history to throw 50 passes affected, should not be protected against himself. Reid and the Chiefs have opted again for the caution, the methodical approach.
In the quarter-back regularly this season, none has been better than the 8.8 yards per attempted pass from Mahomes, a pure-blood who has no fear of ever the risk.
It is exactly this mentality aggressive than the Chiefs must keep. After all, it is the DNA of their quarterback. They must be willing to live or die with his penchant for risk, by not going against his nature.
The cannons take
The second round of the playoffs in the NFL that starts tomorrow, it is a sign that the big guns make their entrance in scene after enjoying a leave earned in the first round by virtue of their form. The Patriots, Chiefs, Rams and Saints are joining so to the big dance. Their status as favorites do not, however, guarantee their success, as the survivors of the first round are likely to pose significant challenges.
- 16: 35 | Indianapolis at Kansas City : CHIEFS
- 20: 15 p.m. | Dallas at Rams : RAMS
- 13: 05 | THE Chargers at N. England : CHARGERS
- 16: 40 p.m. | Philadelphia at N. Orleans : SAINTS
- Last week : 3 in 4 (75 %)
- Total this season : 172 260 (66,2 %)
PLACE TO FIREWORKS
Colts (Indianapolis) : 11-6 | Chiefs (Kansas City) : 12-4
The weekend starts in full force with two of the attacks, the most explosive of the circuit. The Colts have the wind in their sails, but have not lived through a big test this season.
It is true that the defensive Indianapolis has made progress unimaginable this season. But when you look a little to the adversaries, it is necessary to ask whether it will be able to do the same in the face of Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, and Tyreek Hill.
In the past 11 weeks, the Colts have surrendered that to 15.5 points per game, the lowest total across the league. Except that they faced the offensive least qualified of the Texans (15th), Giants (17th), Cowboys (22nd), Jaguars (27th), Dolphins (31st), Titans (25th), Raiders (23rd) and Bills (30th). The Chiefs are good first !
Another item of concern, the Colts are the team that plays more zone defense in the entire NFL. This defensive zone, Patrick Mahomes cut to shreds, he who has shown a perfect ratio of 14 passes of touchdowns and no interception against five teams among the eight most faithful to the concept of defensive walls.
The big question for the Chiefs, it is the defence, which has conceded 35.6 points per game during weeks 11 to 16. The tertiary, probably private of new Eric Berry will have its hiccups, but with Justin Houston, Dee Ford and Chris Jones, the pressure can reach Luck.
► My prediction : Colts 30 Chiefs 38
Players to watch :
- Kenny Moore, half of corner (Colts) : Moore has been very well published in the face of the Texans in the first round of the series with an interception, but the task will be doubly difficult to contain the greed-for-speed receivers of the Chiefs.
- Sammy Watkins, the receiver (Chiefs) : there are, of course, Tyreek Hill, and his 16 touchdowns of 50 yards or more in career, but if the recipient Sammy Watkins is back in uniform, the speed will be unbearable.
Number to remember :
Andrew Luck and Patrick Mahomes stack 89 passes for touchdowns this season. This is the highest total in history for two opponents that compete in the series.
THE RETURN OF THE TRUE RAMS
Cowboys (Dallas) : 11-6 | Rams (Los Angeles) : 13-3
The Rams, even if they are among the most serious pretenders to the throne, have not displayed their usual brilliance in the end of the season, but with two weeks of preparation, it’s a safe bet that head coach Sean McVay will have prepared an irresistible cocktail offensive.
On a sequence of five weeks, Jared Goff threw six interceptions and escaped the ball seven times, away from her sparkling start to the campaign. It must be said that from week 14, the holder Todd Gurley was not the same, affected by a knee injury that has derailed the attack. The rest will no doubt have been beneficial.
On the side of the Cowboys, when they have the ball, there is no secret. Ezekiel Elliott was hit 30 times with the ball last Saturday and is expected to inherit a similar load, which shows a solid average of 131 yards rushing in two games of the series. And it is precisely the Achilles ‘ heel of the Rams, who grant not less than 5.1 yards per run. If the Cowboys control the clock, their chances of causing a surprise are real.
Not a team does this better than the Rams, however, to apply pressure to the inside with Aaron Donald and his band. They will exploit this gap in the Cowboys, who have not had their centre starting the season and who rely on two guards lame.
► My prediction : Cowboys 20 Rams 30
Players to watch :
- Michael Gallup, receiver (Cowboys) : Amari Cooper is the more targeted recipients of the Cowboys, but with the injury to Allen Hurns, the rookie Michael Gallup will have to elevate his game.
- John Johnson, marauder (Rams) : Johnson continues to be under-estimated, but it may evolve throughout the tertiary. It is often deployed near the line of scrimmage and his 111 tackles are a key player against the run.
Number to remember :
0, as in the fact that the Cowboys have not won any of their five games in the second round since the season of 1995, culminating in their latest Super Bowl.
A MISSION COLOSSAL
Chargers (Los Angeles) : 13-4 | Patriots (New England) : 11-5
The Patriots were the only team to present a card perfect (8-0) at home this season. The Chargers are one of the few teams in history to claim nine wins on the outside in the same season. Something has to give !
Unlike last week where the Chargers knew exactly what to expect from the game plan offensive of the Ravens, they are in the nothingness in the face of the Patriots and their multiple approaches.
One thing is for certain, they will not come back with seven half-siblings on defense and the best weapon for their coverage will be before all the defensive front is aggressive. The seven bags in the face of the Ravens occurred with four men or less who applied the pressure. If Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram will also make them often and quickly to Tom Brady, the Chargers will be in the car. The blitz are also to be expected with the athletic marauder recruit Derwin James, the player the most versatile of the unit.
In recent weeks, the Patriots began to run out of explosion on the offensive. Rob Gronkowski must be respected with his 12 touchdowns in 13 career playoff games, but he seems to be incredibly slow. Sony Michel will have to excel in the face of a good defensive against the run.
For the Chargers, it is known, the quarterback Philip Rivers is 0-7 in the face of the Patriots. With a club equipped as never before for the challenges of the road, he can finally dream of having the last word.
► My prediction : Chargers 23 | Patriots 21
Players to watch :
- Melvin Gordon, holder (Chargers) : Her knees are amochés. So that since his return in week 16, he has amassed 41 yards on the ground on average. The production of Philip Rivers has suffered.
- Trent Brown, blocker (Patriots) : The blocker on the left will play its first game in the series, and it will often Melvin Ingram, who played havoc in the face of the Ravens. Otherwise, this will be Joey Bosa. No respite !
Number to remember :
It is now 10 years in a row that the Patriots begin the series at home, the never-before seen in the NFL.
THE SAINTS IN THE MISSION
Eagles (Philadelphia) : 10-7 | Saints (New Orleans) : 13-3
Each week, it said that the fairy tale of Nick Foles is going to end on a note cruel. And each week, the Eagles and him write a new chapter. This time, everything indicates that they will be short of inspiration.
The defensive has saved the furniture last week in the face of the Bears, but he will still had a kicked up two posts to secure the win. The attack, on his side, begins to show its limits.
Unlike the past year, the ground game is no longer an asset of the brand, the production by the race having dropped to 132 yards per game with 98 this season. Worse still, the Eagles received only a 1.8 yard per litter against Chicago. It is not likely to improve in the face of the Saints, second against the run this year.
The tertiary of the Saints will have to make sure to keep Alshon Jeffery in check, because Foles is a quarterback, patient, ready to roll with the punches until its imposing target releases. In Marshon Lattimore, they have the man of the situation.
Remains to be seen if the attack of Drew Brees, it can regain its luster, after an average deficient of only 21 points the past six weeks. Home field advantage is not to be overlooked, the Saints are much more dominant in their Superdome. It should never be nose up in the air on the Eagles, a team that has the most resilient in the league. But it smells like the end.
► My prediction : Eagles 16 | Saints 27
Very Quan Smith
Players to watch :
- Avonte Maddox, a half of the corner (Eagles) : Despite all the misfortunes (injuries) that have plagued the tertiary of the Eagles, the development of the choice of the fourth round Avonte Maddox was accelerated. In the Face of Michael Thomas, the order is heavy.
- Very Quan Smith, receiver (Saints) : The receiver has been quiet in his first season with 28 receptions, but 10 of them were obtained at week 11 to face the Eagles. He could hurt again.
Number to remember :
The Saints have accumulated no fewer than 22 passes of touchdowns in eight games at home this season, a summit in the league that they share with the Rams.