Final Match-ups Before SB LIII

Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara flexing on the field vs the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday evening. Photo via neworleanssaints.com, Michael C. Hebert

January 16, 2019 — Last weeks match-ups were a little disappointing for me, I was rooting for the Saints (my only victory), Chargers, Cowboys & I guess the Chiefs? I feel like it is against Raider law to root for the Chiefs so I solely watched that game as a viewer not a fan.

My prediction is that Tom Brady is going to the Super Bowl again. Patriots have been in the Super Bowl four times in the past nine years and rest assured they want redemption from last year. If anyone could’ve beat the Patriots this season I was almost certain it would be the Chargers (following Mahomes). Phillip Rivers has an electric offense and I haven’t seem him move out of the pocket this often in a while.

But unfortunately, Brady demolished the Chargers, plain and simple. “They [Chargers] will not be able to stop us today,” Brady said to his teammates on the sideline (www.boston.com, Bird, Hayden “Tom Brady told teammates the Chargers ‘can’t stop us’ in mic’d up clip”). Brady did what he knows best: he drove down the field, brought the team to the goal line and Sony Michel ran in touchdown after touchdown.

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Tom Brady, Sony Michel, James White and Rob Gronkowski gather in a huddle during the Divisional Playoff game at Gillette Stadium on Sunday Jan 13, 2019. Photo by Elise Amendola AP images, http://www.patriots.com

When Rivers answered with a deep TD pass to Keenan Allen I thought the Chargers had a chance, but following that TD the Chargers were unable to move the chains the rest of the half. That’s basically how the Patriots beat the them; the defense was superior. We expect Brady to perform out of bounds when he hits the turf, but it is up to the opposing QB to overcome the Patriots defense. Sadly for Rivers this was unattainable.

Another key factor were the penalties, five penalties for 33 yards. I know that doesn’t seem like much, but when Brady is handed a free first down it’s almost certain he’ll get some points on the board based off your mistake. That’s something KC needs to be aware of, less flags for Brady, less game time and gained yards for his dynamite offense.

Patrick Mahomes, a rising superstar, will need to play his absolute best this Sunday January 20. When the Chiefs and Patriots first competed in Week 6, it is safe to say Mahomes was pretty star struck. It didn’t help that the Patriots defense was all over him. The entire first half he threw a ton of incomplete passes and seemed scattered in the pocket. Although the score ended 40-43, Mahomes had to gather his efforts to catch up and nearly defeat the Patriots in the second half.

Mahomes played A1 against the Colts though, I truly didn’t expect anything else. He completed 27 passes for 278 yards, but no touchdowns, his first time since week four. Regardless, his no look passes and quick feet led the team to run all over the Colts. After their second TD, the Colts defense sacked Mahomes a couple times, but once Andrew Luck had the ball back in his hands he was unable to complete a first down. Sounds similar to the Chargers game, right? The match up between Brady and Mahomes is going to be one of the best of the season (and I really hope Mahomes comes out on top!!)


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Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott is tackled by the Rams during the NFL divisional playoff game Saturday Jan. 12. Photo by Mark J. Terill, AP Photo.

Cowboys vs Rams

This was a tough one for me because I really hoped Dak Prescott would throw some dime pieces to Amari Cooper and win the game. That was so far from reality. Cowboys held the Rams to two field goals early on, but the running game was too strong for the Cowboys defense. It all came down to the running game; the Rams had 273 rushing yards compared to the Cowboys 50 yards 🙄, thanks to the help of CJ Anderson who had 123 rushing yards and two touchdowns.

Cowboys were unable to utilize Ezekiel Elliott as they have been all season in this game, the Rams defense held the run game back. In the last five games, not including this one, Elliott had 481 rushing yards, against the Rams he only had 47. This clip of Elliott getting stuffed on a fourth-and-one conversion pretty much sums up the determination of the Rams defense during this game:


Saints vs Eagles

The New Orleans Saints started off a little shaky in the NFC Divisional Playoff game against the Eagles, but found their rhythm in the end. On the Saints first possession, Drew Brees threw an interception and allowed the Eagles to score a touchdown pretty quickly. Eagles were up by four at the end of the half, but the Saints defense truly stepped up and held them to their 14 points for the rest of the game.

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Team stats via ESPN.com

Brees took control of the game in the second half and completed 301 yards and two touchdowns for a final score of 20-14. As you can see in the comparison chart from ESPN, the time of Saints possession vs Eagles really affected their chances to get ahead. It felt like Brees had control of the ball the entire third quarter (which he did after their holding penalty). The Eagles were left with about 35 seconds in the third and failed to convert their third-and-eight possession into a first down. Following that play, Brees made his way down the field and attempted a hand-off pass to Alvin Kamara who was stuffed on third down.

 

When K Wil Lutz missed his 52-yard field goal attempt, I thought to myself, ‘Nick Foles is definitely going to come back. Three minutes on the clock? This guy demolished Brady in the Super Bowl and he would love the chance to do it again.’

But instead, Foles did this:

Such an unfortunate way to end the season for the Eagles. I was predicting they would be the only team to give Brady a run for his money, but that chance will have to wait until next year.

My hopes are the Chiefs upset the Patriots in a fashion that proves Patrick Mahomes is prepared to compete in the Super Bowl and the Saints devastate the Rams one more time. Too bad I’m just a dreamer and I know the Patriots and Rams are going to the Super Bowl -__-.

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