NFL

Brady v Rogers, and a Chiefs shock

{Photograph}: Mark LoMoglio/AP

What the Buccaneers have to do to win: Surprisingly for 2 quarterbacks who’ve dominated the NFL for a lot of the century, there isn’t loads of historical past to go on between Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers – this shall be solely their fourth assembly as starters. Brady gained their earlier sport, a 38-10 beatdown in Week 6 of this season, when the protection harried Rodgers all day, sacking him 5 instances. Rodgers, who has been largely flawless since, is unlikely to be bullied once more although. So Tampa Bay might should beat the Packers in a shootout, hoping their formidable offensive weapons all click on directly. That may put stress on backup Bucs guard Aaron Stinnie, who made his first ever NFL begin towards the Saints final week (and did fairly nicely).

What the Packers must do to win: Just like the Buccaneers, the Packers have a weakened offensive line. It held up nicely sufficient towards the perfect protection within the league, the Rams, final week however Los Angeles’ largest risk, Aaron Donald, was hampered by a rib damage. Rodgers has been so good this 12 months that it’s onerous to see him being outscored by the Buccaneers if he will get sufficient safety. Some have argued that the frigid Lambeau Area will hand the Packers a giant benefit over a warm-weather crew like Tampa Bay. However Tom Brady performed loads of video games within the New England winter and that appeared to work out wonderful for him.

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Key participant: Rob Gronkowski, tight finish, Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Gronk’s greatest days are behind him and he’s now not the unstoppable power he was a couple of years in the past. So his significance on this sport lies not a lot in his skills however who he matches up towards. If the Packers have one apparent weak spot, it’s their linebackers. Search for Brady to return to a well-known security blanket and discover Gronk in the course of the sphere as this sport goes on.

Prediction: Packers. The Buccaneers struggled to shake off 7-9 Washington within the wildcard spherical and have been helped by a sequence of Drew Brees turnovers towards the Saints final week. Brady and his new teammates gel way more than they did at first of the season, however are nonetheless not the risk they need to be, given their expertise. I don’t assume they’re on the stage the place they’ll beat Rodgers and Davante Adams this time round.

Buffalo Payments at Kansas City Chiefs
Sunday, 6.40pm ET/11.40pm GMT

Patrick Mahomes is the reigning Super Bowl MVP
Patrick Mahomes is the reigning Tremendous Bowl MVP. {Photograph}: Jason Behnken/AP

What the Payments have to do to win: The Chiefs can achieve this a lot harm, so rapidly, via the air with the likes of Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill that encouraging them to go to the run sport, maybe by not packing the field, is one choice. Josh Allen has advanced past recognition in a brief area of time, partly due to the array of weapons he has, from the just about inconceivable to cowl Stefon Diggs to Cole Beasley to tight finish Dawson Knox. The Payments might want to preserve that chemistry happening Sunday.

What the Chiefs have to do to win: As talked about above, Allen’s progress this season has been extraordinary and he’s now not the turnover machine he was. However he nonetheless makes errors and the Chiefs’ standout defensive skills, whether or not it’s Tyrann Matthieu or Chris Jones, are able to forcing him into making errors. If the Payments do handle to make the Chiefs flip to the run sport, the health of Clyde Edwards-Helaire, coming back from damage, may very well be telling.

Key participant: Patrick Mahomes, quarterback, Kansas Metropolis Chiefs. Mahomes is the perfect participant within the NFL, so he’s an important participant in any sport he performs. However his influence on Sunday feels significantly telling. Mahomes was compelled out of final week’s win over the Browns as a result of concussion – and he has been restricted in apply – however he’ll virtually definitely begin. The query is what model of Mahomes performs. The concussion doesn’t seem to have been too damaging (a minimum of within the short-term) however extra worrying for the Chiefs is the truth that Mahomes can also be affected by turf toe. Mahomes is not any Lamar Jackson, he gained’t scorch you for 50 yards, however his mobility and skill to beat the frenzy is a crucial a part of his sport.

Prediction: Payments. A totally match Mahomes beats Allen 90% of the time. However a restricted Mahomes, who has been excellent somewhat than nice in his current video games, is a unique proposition. The lingering results of the concussion and his diminished mobility will hand this one to the Payments … simply.

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