Belichick. Reid. Brady. Mahomes. Gronkowski. Kelce. Edelman. Tyreek. Two bad defenses. The AFC Championship Game should be explosive. Will the Patriots reach the Super Bowl for the 11th time? Or will Kansas City bring the Lamar Hunt Trophy home?
The Chiefs get the hottest team in the NFL, the Indianapolis Colts, in a matchup of the top two teams in weighted DVOA. Meanwhile, the Patriots get a Chargers team that had superior stats and more wins during the regular season. We go through all the matchup numbers and tell you what to watch for this weekend in the AFC.
Can the four remaining NFC teams properly exploit their opponents' weaknesses this weekend? The Eagles haven't thrown deep much with Nick Foles at quarterback, but the Saints can be torched deep. The Rams can't stop the run, but the Cowboys run-first offense isn't as efficient as you might expect. These are just a couple of the matchups analyzed in our NFC divisional playoff preview.
How will the loss of Earl Thomas and the addition of Amari Cooper affect Seattle's rematch against Dallas? And is there hope for Nick Foles to pull off a second miracle playoff run, or will Chicago's historically great defense be too much to overcome?
The AFC wild-card round brings us two rematches from the regular season. Saturday, the Colts are one of the hottest teams in the NFL, but their stalwart offensive line will have to stop Houston's pairing of J.J. Watt with Jadaveon Clowney. Sunday, the Ravens are red hot on defense and a bit misunderstood on offense; can the Chargers get up on them early and force the Ravens to throw?
The Patriots will look to speed things up while the Eagles look to slow things down in a Super Bowl that presents a closer matchup than a Brady-Foles quarterback duel might otherwise suggest.
To stop Blake Bortles, the Patriots will have to stop throws in the short middle of the field. To stop Tom Brady, the Jaguars will have to get pressure with four even though Brady was among the best QBs in the league under pressure this season.
Somebody has to Jeff Hostetler their way into Super Bowl LII. Will it be the Eagles, with a tenacious defense and home-field advantage? Or will it be the Vikings, who've gotten a better performance (and more of it) from backup-turned-MVP candidate Case Keenum?
Philadelphia is a historic home underdog, but is that underrating the Eagles defense? Or is it the Atlanta defense that needs more respect given recent improvement? Then: Sunday is the matchup between two great and balanced teams. Can New Orleans win in Minnesota?