We’re practically on the fruits of the 2020-2021 season with solely in the future left of soccer earlier than Tremendous Bowl LV. So far as epic showdowns are involved, Sunday’s video games are a confluence of youth and enthusiasm in addition to knowledge and grit. This previous yr has been a nightmare for many of us, however we are able to nonetheless depend on soccer to make issues only a contact higher.
Take Buffalo Bills followers, for instance. As I beforehand wrote, a number of Payments followers mixed philanthropy, sportsmanship, Reddit, and goodwill to do an ideal factor. After Ravens’ QB Lamar Jackson went down with a concussion of their recreation final week, the Payments fan have rallied to donate practically $500,000 in donations to the Louisville Chapter of Blessing in a Backpack. The affect has been so huge that they’ve expanded their charity work to the encircling space.
Now that, my buddies, is strictly what this world wants proper now. One act of kindness, regardless of how small, can change the course of many, many lives.
Buccaneers @ Packers 3:05 PM EST
I’m not making an attempt to besmirch the Payments-Chiefs recreation, however the Bucs-Packers recreation would be the one to look at on Sunday throughout the Convention Championship video games. If something, will probably be for historic functions. Who wouldn’t need to watch two heavy-weight, future Corridor-of-Famers duke it out for an opportunity to return to the Tremendous Bowl?
This will probably be an epic battle and I’m curious as to how each groups will strategy this matchup. The Buccaneers’ protection has been stellar this yr and shined in final week’s recreation in opposition to the Saints, forcing 4 turnovers, together with three interceptions of Drew Brees.
Out of the 2 groups, the Packers have probably the most well-rounded squad on the talent positions, whereas Tampa’s power rests with their passing and receiving. Fortuitously for Inexperienced Bay, they’re weakest defending the run, however the Buccaneers have been weakest at their run recreation between Ronald Jones and Leonard Fournette. In the course of the first 17 weeks of play, the Packers have allowed 14 touchdowns and practically 1,500 yards to operating backs in addition to 90 receptions to the positions and 5 receiving touchdowns.
The place Inexperienced Bay’s protection is missing in opposition to operating backs, they’re somewhat stout in opposition to huge receivers. Whether or not or not they will defend in opposition to Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown, and Scotty Miller (given all of them are wholesome) stays to be seen. Let’s not neglect about Rob Gronkowski and Cameron Brate who’ve additionally made an affect on offense and add to the numerous weapons out there to Brady.
Can the Bucs Protection include WR Davante Adams? Or deep risk Marquez Valdez-Scantling and slot grasp Allen Lazard? In addition they can’t ignore Robert Tonyan who will be the waiver wire darling of 2020 or the three-headed Cerberus rushing-monster that’s Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams, and AJ Dillon (well being dependent). Tampa could have its palms full.
There is no such thing as a query that there’s an abundance of expertise on each side of the ball. The sport will boil all the way down to the defenses. The workforce that makes the most important stops, vital stops, and that creates factors on protection might decide the victor versus what number of factors the offense can placed on the board.
Whereas I give a slight benefit to the Packers just because their run recreation is stronger, I can’t neglect the final time these two groups met this season. The Packers misplaced in Tampa Bay 10-38, had the fewest first downs (13), fewest whole yards (201), second-fewest passing yards (107), and third-fewest speeding yards (94) this season.
Payments @ Chiefs 6:40 PM EST
I’m not going to sugar-coat this. The Kansas Metropolis Chiefs will want QB Patrick Mahomes beginning to retain a aggressive benefit on this recreation. After struggling a concussion in final week’s recreation in opposition to the Browns, Mahomes has been in concussion protocol. The excellent news is that he has been collaborating in apply with a non-contact jersey and a helmet. Whereas it is a good signal that he’s progressing properly by the protocol, it’s removed from a assured begin.
Rookie RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire was noticed at apply in a restricted capability after lacking a number of weeks as a result of damage whereas Le’Veon Bell didn’t apply. The run recreation isn’t precisely the Chiefs’ bread-and-butter.
The Payments’ protection has information for anybody who thinks that Edwards-Helaire will make an affect. They bottled up the Ravens’ run recreation for his or her worst whole speeding yards in 9 video games with solely 150.
With no important speeding assault to talk of, will the Payments be capable to shut down the Chiefs’ dynamite passing recreation? In fantasy, the Payments rank 14th in opposition to WRs and 15th in opposition to QBs. If Buffalo can channel the identical form of power that shut down the Ravens’ run recreation into their passing protection, create turnovers, and if QB Josh Allen can outpace the Chiefs, we might have a Cinderella Story within the making.
There are a variety of “if’s” in that assertion and so they all middle on Mahomes’ availability on Sunday.
Whereas we’ve got 4 groups devoted to the Convention Championships, there are 28 groups busy making strikes in preparation for 2021.
Maybe probably the most verbose of the brand new head teaching hires on Thursday is Dan Campbell who had a prolonged dissertation about bodily dismemberment in his press convention. Campbell envisions the Lions biting kneecaps off (metaphorically, after all) and taking hunks out of individuals after they get knocked down. It’s visceral, sure. It’s graphic, sure. But it surely additionally embodies the need of Detroit. After Matt Patricia, having a coach embrace the grit and grime that’s laborious work and preventing because the underdog is sort of refreshing. Campbell served as New Orleans’ tight finish coach for 5 years and assistant head coach in addition to taking part in 10 years as a good finish.
The Eagles have employed Nick Sirianni as their new head coach after Doug Pederson’s departure. The 39-year-old was the offensive coordinator for the Indianapolis Colts. Eagles followers needs to be enthusiastic about Sirianni’s shut connection to Frank Reich, former offensive coordinator for the Eagles of their Tremendous Bowl yr. If Sirianni can tackle the multitude of points on offense, together with the tenuous relationship with QB Carson Wentz, the Eagles could also be in a greater place transferring ahead than they had been this yr.