Playoff Surrounds and Big Questions for AFC and NFC Title Games


Four other teams in less, there are still four looking for a Super Bowl title. As we did last week, we say goodbye to the four teams that lost their playoff games this weekend in the "Overreaction Monday" style. And for the remaining four teams, we try to answer a big question that is always asked as they face their last match or both.

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Chargers | The chefs | Colts | Cowboys | Eagles | Patriots | Rams | saints


Philip Rivers will never win the Super Bowl

The Chargers of the season were 12-4 in the regular season – one game better than the Patriots – and 9-0 outside of Los Angeles, counting for their victory at Bltimore in Baltimore. The Patriots this season would have been under-attacked and would have marked the beginning of a decline. If Rivers can not beat Tom Brady (against who he is now aged 0 to 8) with the Chargers team this season, there's no reason to think that he's will never do. And not only could he not beat the Patriots, but the Chargers could not even stay away from Sunday. It was an embarrassing performance on both sides of the ball by one of the best-aligned teams in the league.

The verdict of Graziano: Not an overreaction. "Never" is very long, but the rest of Rivers' career probably is not. He just turned 37 and there is no guarantee that he will have a better team than this one over the next two, three, four or years before his retirement.

In addition, Brady does not seem ready to retire anytime soon, so he will stay on the way to Rivers, even though he may continue to play in the playoffs. And then there is Patrick Mahomes' little business, who is only 23 years old and who has just finished a probable MVP season for a team of chefs who finished in front of the Chargers in the standings (albeit by break). tie) to win the division for the second year in a row. Sunday was a disappointing and disappointing end to a brilliant Chargers season, and it's no exaggeration to worry that they will not have a better chance of cashing in one than they had in 2018.

The Colts should sign The Veon Bell and trade against Antonio Brown

Indianapolis was one of the surprises of the season, winning nine of its last 10 regular-season games to qualify for the playoffs after a 1-5 start and beating the Texans in Houston during the wild game. It was a hyper-accelerated rebuild led by general manager Chris Ballard and coach Frank Reich, assisted by the return of Andrew Luck after his injury at the NFL quarterback summit.

They left the playoffs on Saturday night with a loss to the top ranked Chiefs in Kansas City, but the future looks bright, and the Colts project expects to have more salary cap space in 2019 (possibly be over $ 120 million) compared to any other team in the group. league. They should be able to add who they want in the offseason, and both Steelers stars are extremely available. Bell will be a free agent once the league New Year starts in March and Brown's relationship with the Steelers seems to have reached a breaking point.

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    The verdict of Graziano: OVERREACTION. In fact, I like Bell for the Colts, although I do not expect Ballard to spend that way as a running back. And while they are in dire need of broadband support, they are already supporting a $ 15 million markup for T.Y. Hilton, who has two more years of contract and is looking for a new contract soon.

    Even if they need help at wide receiver, Colts big spenders should be on the defensive side of the ball, where the group this season has outperformed and could use some reinforcements. The Colts are in a position where they can spend their money and their space limit on their own young stars as they begin to need enlargements. It's not like they should not go out and seek free will help; it's just that their economic conditions allow them to focus on building a complete list of depth as opposed to correcting holes with flashy additions. It's good to be the Colts right now.

    The Cowboys must move from Jason Garrett

    Saturday's victory over the Seahawks was only Garrett's second win in eight seasons or so as a Dallas coach. That number remained unchanged after the Cowboys' loss to the Rams in Los Angeles. During Garrett's entire eight seasons as a head coach, the Cowboys have only appeared in the playoffs three times and have not even managed to reach a single conference league match. The Cowboys have not played in the Super Bowl for 23 years, which is far too long for a franchise as rich as this one.

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    The verdict of Graziano: OVERREACTION. It is not that the success in the playoffs is not important. It's just that it's too often remembered as only What's important Since the start of the 2016 season – counting for the playoffs – three NFL teams have won more games than the Garrett Cowboys. These are the Patriots, Steelers and Chiefs. Garrett has had four victory seasons and has won three division titles in the last five years. 4-12 2015 Cowboys is the only season in which Garrett finished under the .500 mark. It's easy to understand why the fans are tired of the lack of success in the playoffs, but Garrett still has his team in position to reach the playoffs, one never hears about discord in the locker room and the property always seemed to like him. I do not think he's going away and I do not think he should do it either.

    Nick Foles launched his last pass as Philadelphia Eagle

    Foles has been 4-1 as a Philadelphia starter over the past two seasons, including a Super Bowl MVP performance that will live forever in the hearts of the city's rabid fans. But the team still believes in choosing the first round of 2016, Carson Wentz, as a quarter-long franchise. The Eagles could choose the $ 20.5 million Foles contractual option for 2019 if they wanted to keep it as a replacement or if they thought they could trade it for something else. value, but it is also possible that they wish him good luck and pass one of the most incredible chapters in the history of the franchise.

    The verdict of Graziano: Not an overreaction. In fact, it does not make sense that the Eagles have a $ 20.5 million backup reserve and the investment in the choice of draft in Wentz makes it unlikely to install Foles as a starter in front of him. . And the contract includes a mutual option for 2019, which means that even if the Eagles had understood the idea of ​​trading Foles, he could get out for $ 2 million and probably make gains as that free agent elsewhere.

    Foles was not the reason they lost Sunday – the last interception was won by Alshon Jeffery – but there comes a time when this second but accidental but glorious act of the Foles Eagles career has to end, and that's probably what precedes the off season. .


    Can the Chiefs' defense do that twice more?

    Kansas City, ranked first, had the 31st defense in the NFL in 2018, allowing an average of 405.5 yards per game. The Chiefs were 31st against the pass and 27th against the race. On average, they allowed 26.3 points per game. But on Saturday, they limited Andrew Luck and the Colts to 13 points (including seven on a blocked punt) and 263 yards of offense.

    The Chiefs '180 yard rushing yards are largely attributable to their impressive 39-minute, 49-second possession time, but the same is true of the Chiefs' defense staging the best offensive in the game. third league at 0-on-9 on the third tries in the match. They will face a tougher Sunday night when the Patriots will come to town, but the fact that the match is taking place at Arrowhead Stadium will be of importance.

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    The Chiefs actually have the sixth-best home league scoring defense, allowing only 18 points per game to opponents in Arrowhead (versus 34.63 on the road). This indicates that they have a chance to fight for a repeat performance next week, although it might be more difficult if they reach the Super Bowl and have to try it in a neutral site. Anyway, Saturday's win left the Chiefs' defense a confident group and considerable relief for a team and base of fans who had not won a home playoff game in 25 years. With this first outing, the Chiefs could play more slowly.

    Can Tom Brady and the Patriots do their show on the road, where they are 3-5 years old this season, and beat the Chiefs? Jasen Vinlove / USA TODAY Sports

    Can patriots dominate like that on the road?

    The Chargers were the league's best team on the road, and they did not even belong on the same field as the Patriots on Sunday in Foxborough, Mass. The win saw New England reach a 9-0 home record this season, but the Pats only have 3 to 5 goals on the road and the AFC championship game will be held in Kansas City. The Patriots averaged 32.88 points per game at home in the regular season, but only 21.63 on the road. They allowed 16.63 points per game at home and 24 on the road. Tom Brady's completion percentage is 5.1 points lower on the road and his QBR is 8.2 points per game. The quarterbacks posted a QBR of 38.9 against the Patriots in Foxborough, but 71.5 on the road.

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    Tom Brady said he was expecting a tough game when the Patriots will face the Chiefs in the AFC Championship game.

    They are a different team from home and are heading to Arrowhead Stadium, where the Chiefs are 8-1 this season. The Patriots have not won a playoff game on the road since January 14, 2007, when they defeated the SAN DIEGO Chargers on the road. Winning playoff games on the road was not much in demand at the time of the Brady / Belichick, but this combination contains 3-4 people as a visiting playoff team. And the way the Patriots played on the road in this regular season raises legitimate concerns about their ability to repeat Sunday's performance, next Sunday, in K.C.

    Can the saints stop the powerful rushed Rams attack without Sheldon Rankins?

    Sunday's Saints' victory was pyrotechnic, as one of their best young defensive line players has torn the Achilles tendon early in the game and will obviously no longer play this season. And against a Rams attack that has racked up 273 rushing yards in 48 races with the tandem of Todd Gurley and C.J. Anderson, it's a hole that they might find difficult to fill. If the Rams could control the ground game as they did against Dallas (they owned the ball for 36:13), they could avoid the kind of shootings they lost in the Superdome in Week 9 and win a part more mediocre. The Eagles did not work Sunday, but they managed to keep the game at a poor score and had a chance to fall behind. And Philly did not have a record like Gurley on Sunday.

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    Ryan Clark joins the SportsCenter to analyze Jared Goff's performance in the Rams' 30-22 win over Dallas.

    Will the Rams' inexperience show up against Sean Payton, Drew Brees and the Saints?

    The Rams faced the Saints in their loss to New Orleans in Week 9, coming back 21 points to tie the game at 35-35 in the fourth quarter, before Brees and the Saints moved away and won by 10 points. Cowboys they can win in different ways: pass the ball in the throat of Dallas with Todd Gurley and CJ Anderson instead of broadcast it with Jared Goff. But this group of Saints is much more experienced in key positions than the Dallas team. Brees is the league's all-time leader in passing yards, and he and Payton have already won a Super Bowl before. The Saints have gone further in the playoffs than the Rams last season, and especially at home, it's possible that their experience advantage plays a role in what should be a close match. Sean McVay became the youngest coach to win a playoff game in the NFL. He and his team are dangerous on both sides of the ball. But Payton would surely like to remind the world that he knew a little about the coaching offense before McVay's arrival.