8 NFL Divisional Spherical X elements that can decide playoff winners

The weekend of the NFL’s Divisional Playoffs is also known as the NFL’s greatest weekend of the yr. This weekend would not appear to be an exception to that rule, given the remainder of the groups, the quarterbacks we’ll see, and among the matchups we are able to count on this weekend.

With the remainder of the groups and the expertise we’ll see on the pitch this weekend, there isn’t any scarcity of storylines to look ahead to when the video games kick off. From the place we sit, listed below are the highest eight tales to look at over the Divisional Spherical weekend.

Kellen Moore vs DeMeco Ryans

The battle of wits between Kyle Shanahan and Dan Quinn could be the greatest storyline of your complete weekend. How will Quinn struggle San Francisco’s “21 staff” bundle, which incorporates Deebo Samuel, Christian McCaffrey, Kyle Juszczyk, George Kittle and Brandon Aiyuk? How will Quinn use Micah Parsons? There are such a lot of tales to be predicted when the 49ers play soccer on Sunday.

However the undercard between Kellen Moore and DeMeco Ryans may very well be simply as compelling and will have much more affect on the sport.

How will Moore assault among the finest NFL defenses? How will Ryans use the expertise he has up entrance to place stress on Dak Prescott? Will Prescott’s presnap abilities shine on Sunday, or will San Francisco’s proficient protection defeat him?

Will probably be equally fascinating to look at this story unfold.

— Mark Schofield

Trevor Lawrence versus the Kansas Metropolis crowd

There are particular guidelines in life.

Do not tease the bear. Do not pull Superman’s cape. By no means have interaction in a land conflict in Asia. By no means struggle a Sicilian when loss of life is imminent.

And do not you dare the opposing crowd to be loud if you happen to’re the NFL quarterback forward of the primary away playoff sport.

Nonetheless, that is precisely what Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence did this week when he mentioned:

It is completely truthful now to cite Lawrence’s full assertion, by which he famous that the surroundings in Kansas Metropolis is “among the finest, if not the most effective, within the NFL.” He additionally famous that the stakes are increased within the Divisional Spherical in comparison with when the Jaguars performed Kansas Metropolis earlier this season.

However embarrassing the opposing crowd in the case of noise is usually a foul concept.

— Mark Schofield

Brett Maher versus himself

It was one of many wildest single-player tales within the playoffs, and albeit, I am amazed that the Cowboys appear decided to make this an issue for themselves. Dallas kicker Brett Maher stank loudly within the wild card spherical. His 4 off-target objectives in opposition to the Buccaneers have been a horrible efficiency for hundreds of years, and happily for Maher, it did not price his workforce.

The response to 1 horrible sport was staggering. Maybe that is Mike McCarthy’s sort of motivation, however he selected to gentle the hearth for Maher this week by signing a avenue kicker and publicly saying that Maher should “work nicely this week” by dancing backwards and forwards, saying they’ve full religion within the digger, doing the alternative.

Have you learnt what number of kicks Maher missed this season earlier than the playoffs? Six. Three discipline objectives and three additional factors. His discipline aim share of 90.6 % was eighth within the NFL. IN 2022 THERE WAS 24 KICKERS WORSE THAN HIM!

As an alternative of claiming “that is not Brett’s fashion”, the band roughly threw him underneath a bus. An especially weird determination contemplating Cowboys vs. The 49ers can flip right into a low scoring defensive sport that requires stable kicking.

Maher might want to do away with yips to play nicely this week. It is his struggle with himself. Assuming the Cowboys resolve to stay to the date they introduced in (and they need to, as he is been wonderful this season), there’s now an enormous quantity of doubt Maher should face each time he strains as much as kick.

Each aim from the sport will likely be price watching.

— James Laptop

Brock Purdy vs. the Cowboys’ cross rush

I highlighted this earlier in an article this week, however one of the best ways to get the 49ers QB/obvious Dan Marino Brock Purdy again to earth is to place stress on him.

Purdy hasn’t been underneath a number of stress this season, however the Cowboys cannot solely put stress on, they will put stress on whereas hiding the seems to be they throw Purdy. Not all stress must be fast, however a change of picture from above may trigger Purdy to fall again into the unhealthy habits he had in faculty. Cowboys DC Dan Quinn will must be in his A-game on Sunday evening.

— JP Acosta

Dak Prescott vs. Unusual Narratives

If you have not heard, Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott is fairly good. He is additionally perpetually underrated, which can should do with the truth that he performs on a workforce owned by a man who is decided to make the runner the focus of the assault.

Make no mistake although, Prescott is simply that. He is additionally among the finest QBs left within the playoffs, regardless of what some narratives may need you to imagine.

It is simply… bizarre. Brock Purdy is without doubt one of the greatest tales within the NFL this season – the final choose within the draft who was drafted to the beginning position and led his workforce to the playoffs – however he’s removed from being among the finest quarterbacks.

Dak Prescott is. And he not solely has the energy and mobility of his arms to show it. Opposite to what the picture above would have you ever imagine, he’s additionally higher than Purdy in the case of these different traits.

However, as all the time, folks have to see it for themselves. This implies Prescott may have the right alternative to close down among the bizarre narratives surrounding him in opposition to Purdy and Co. within the division spherical.

— Bernd Buchmasser

Andy Reid vs. Doug Pederson

The connection between the 2 coaches dates again to 1997, when Doug Pederson was the backup level guard behind Brett Favre at Inexperienced Bay with the Packers.

Andy Reid was his quarterback coach.

This was just the start of a protracted relationship between the 2, which started as a participant and coach earlier than evolving right into a coach on the identical workers. When Reid was employed as head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, the workforce signed Pederson because the beginning quarterback, no less than till rookie Donovan McNabb was prepared.

And after Pederson retired and began teaching at the highschool stage, his first NFL job was Reid in Philadelphia. The 2 then moved to Kansas Metropolis the place Pederson served as offensive coordinator underneath Reid of the Chiefs.

Now they meet just for the third time as head coaches, though the stakes are barely increased. Their first assembly was within the 2017 season when the Chiefs defeated the Eagles – with Pederson as head coach – by a rating of 27-20 in Week 2. This was earlier than the Eagles grew to become the workforce that might win the Tremendous Bowl LII.

In addition they met earlier within the season, in a match gained by the Chiefs by a last rating of 27-17.

Will Reid take three wins in a row over his former QB or will Pederson take a large victory in opposition to his former coach?

— Mark Schofield

Daniel Jones vs. the Metropolis of Philadelphia

If it wasn’t for Geno Smith, we might be speaking about Daniel Jones’ escape with the Comeback Participant of the 12 months award. Jones hasn’t all the time stood out this season, however he is been extraordinarily environment friendly and caring about soccer – primary ideas of assault the place controlling the ball and making good selections are extra necessary than explosive performs.

Jones has been higher at residence than away this season, particularly in the case of scoring objectives and dealing with the ball. In 2022, he achieved a TD/INT ratio of three.3:1 at residence (10 TD, 3 INT), in comparison with 2.5:1 away (5 TD, 2 INT). The divisional playoffs will happen in essentially the most hostile venue Jones has ever performed, given the stakes, and the important thing to the Giants’ likelihood in opposition to Philadelphia will likely be crowd administration – which can attempt to tear it aside.

If Jones can rise above the noise, harassment and viciousness, New York might have an opportunity. If he cannot, this sport is over earlier than it begins.

— James Laptop

The Bengals offensive line vs. The Payments assault

The Bengals’ lack of ability to guard Joe Burrow within the playoffs final season grew to become their most infamous weak point en path to a Tremendous Bowl loss to the Rams final season. The Payments knew they needed to take care of the low season passing rush after dropping to the Chiefs instantly basic AFC Championship sport. Whereas each have taken severe steps to appropriate their shortcomings, the Bengals’ o-line and Payments’ passing rush are nonetheless underneath scrutiny as the 2 sides meet within the Divisional Spherical.

The Bengals line has made progress this season, lowering Burrow’s high 70 sacks within the league in 2021 to 45 this yr. There’s only one drawback: Accidents pile up towards the top of the season, and now Cincinnati will likely be with out three key starters in a playoff sport in opposition to Buffalo. The Payments made an excellent transfer to handle the passing fever by signing future Corridor of Famer Von Miller, however he has not performed since November resulting from damage and continues to be sidelined. Buffalo has a deep 4 up entrance and an excellent defensive sort out in Ed Oliver, however with out Miller they don’t have any world-class passers.

Every week in the past, the Payments’ passing rush allowed Dolphins substitute QB Skyler Thompson to get too comfy behind his lane. The Bengals allowed Burrow to be fired 4 instances in opposition to Baltimore and easily by no means lived as much as their offensive potential because the playoffs started. Who wins within the battle of weak point in opposition to weak point? This may make a giant distinction in figuring out who advances in Bengals vs. payments.

— Ricky O’Donnell

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