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2018 NFL Conference Championships - Defense is Dead

greyshark

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Time for the conference championships! There was some hype around defense as the season turned to December, but the top defenses by DVOA in the league - Chicago (1st), Baltimore (3rd), Houston (7th), Chargers (8th), Dallas (9th), and Indianapolis (10th) all went down in the first two rounds. Even the rejuvenated Eagles could not take down the mighty Saints last week, so we're left with four of the top five offenses in the league (again by DVOA) - Kansas City (1st), Los Angeles (2nd), New Orleans (4th), and New England (5th).

Both of these games are rematches of very high scoring affairs, with New England taking down KC 43-40 in Week 6 and the Saints beating the Rams 45-35 in Week 9. So obviously expect us to end up with 12-9 and 16-10 finishes. Here are my picks for the weekend:

Kansas City over New England: Tough to bet against Belichick in January, but KC's defense is better at home, and they have the MVP in Mahomes. I like them in a close game that comes down to the wire.

New Orleans over Los Angeles: I think the Saints are the best team in the league - they've got the best defense of the final four and and offense that has looked unstoppable at times.

NFL GAF, who do you have going to the Super Bowl?
 
Nov 5, 2016
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I’m picking Kansas City over New England.

NE had 5 losses to non-playoff teams including two blowout losses to teams with terrible records (DET and JAX). They also had the historic blunder to lose against Miami in Miami.

Had they just not shit the bed ONCE out of those five times they would be hosting KC and probably going to another SB.

Instead they travel to KC where I’ve seen KC blow out the Patriots as recently has a couple years ago. Patriots won the first game despite giving up like 3 different 70+ yard plays. I don’t think they get torched that bad again, however they also don’t have Josh Gordon this time around.

31-24 Chiefs

I have no idea about the NFC game. It’s a toss up. Two talented, well coaches teams. I’m leaning LA. Saints are tough as hell at home though.

I would love to see a legends matchup of Brees vs Brady in the SB. Doubt it happens tho
 
Nov 5, 2016
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Three things I like about the Rams:

CJ Anderson: former bronco
Aqib Talib: former bronco and too tier CB that we traded for basicsllg nothing. Thanks Elway!
Wade Phillips: coached our defense to the super bowl, one of best defenses in recent years. Huge mistake to let him go. Thanks Elway!
 

greyshark

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One reason I’m pessimistic about the Rams chances- the Saints have one of the best run defenses in the league. The Rams have less depth at WR than they had earlier in they year, and if they can take away Gurley it will be tough on the Rams to keep up with the Saints.
 

switchback27

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One reason I’m pessimistic about the Rams chances- the Saints have one of the best run defenses in the league. The Rams have less depth at WR than they had earlier in they year, and if they can take away Gurley it will be tough on the Rams to keep up with the Saints.

But the Cowboys weren't slouches on run defense either (no.5), and the Rams ran all over them. Also, the Saints will be missing Sheldon Rankins, which is pretty significant.

I'm rooting for the Rams, seeing two Cal boys (Goff and CJ Anderson) and an old former Bengal who never got the respect he deserved because it's Cincinnati (Andrew Whitworth) go to the Super Bowl will be fun (and yes, I do know that Cameron Jordan is another Golden Bear).

I don't hate the Patriots, but I want to see the Chiefs advance--I want to see that moment in time when another team just outplays B&B Patriots and we all realize it's the end of a magical era in Foxboro. Actually, seeing that sentence, maybe I do hate the Pats.

If the matchups go how I want and it's Chiefs vs. Rams, it'll be like that Rams-Vikes game--tons of offense, but one defensive play is ultimately the one thing that tips the game towards one team.
 

Bolivar687

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It's defense wins Championships, not divisional or wild card weekends.

KC's magic just might be too hard to stop, and while I think the Rams are still trending upward, the experience of Payton and Brees will hold out.

Looking forward to a good weekend of football.
 

manfestival

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I have this awful gut feeling that we are going to end up with saints vs patriots. I would much rather see chiefs vs rams.

I cannot support the saints as a Bucs fan and I cannot support the patriots because I am a decent human being with common sense and a sense of individuality.
 

manfestival

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Not even worth it for the Brees vs Brady legends angle?
I have massive amounts of respect for Brees as a player and a person. His team on the other hand, no. Also to support Brady is to support all that is evil. He is the physical manifestation of Jafar.
 

DadEggs

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hoping that patriots dont make it...and they shouldnt. BUT! its gonna be very cold in KC and its belicheck/brady so no matter what odds are in their favor for some hocus pocus bullshit.
 
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hoping that patriots dont make it...and they shouldnt. BUT! its gonna be very cold in KC and its belicheck/brady so no matter what odds are in their favor for some hocus pocus bullshit.

I have this feeling the game is going to be decided by some crucial blown call by the refs, like a phantom face mask on Brady or something like that to extend a Patriots scoring drive.

Been a historically bad year for refs, even with an already awful standard of reffing in NFL
 

demigod

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hoping that patriots dont make it...and they shouldnt. BUT! its gonna be very cold in KC and its belicheck/brady so no matter what odds are in their favor for some hocus pocus bullshit.

If Patriots don't win it all this year, the NFL will come up with a new rule where you're not allowed to go 2 feet near the QB.
 

greyshark

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But the Cowboys weren't slouches on run defense either (no.5), and the Rams ran all over them. Also, the Saints will be missing Sheldon Rankins, which is pretty significant.

Fair points - my bitterness prevented me from watching any football last weekend. Should be interesting to see what adjustments both teams will make based off their first game.
 

greyshark

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The Patriots are trying to play up the angle that nobody believes in them - does anyone actually think that? This is one of the most successful teams of the last 20 years (heck THE most successful team of the last 20 years) and they are a slight betting underdog on the road to the team that has the reigning MVP. Anything other than the current betting line would be a slap in the face to the Number 1 seeded Chiefs.
 
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The Patriots are trying to play up the angle that nobody believes in them - does anyone actually think that? This is one of the most successful teams of the last 20 years (heck THE most successful team of the last 20 years) and they are a slight betting underdog on the road to the team that has the reigning MVP. Anything other than the current betting line would be a slap in the face to the Number 1 seeded Chiefs.

Seems like a pretty old school motivational technique. They probably could have kept it in their locker room. Being an underdog is one thing, telling everyone you’re an underdog is another.
 

switchback27

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Seems like a pretty old school motivational technique. They probably could have kept it in their locker room. Being an underdog is one thing, telling everyone you’re an underdog is another.

Worked for the Eagles last year, didn't it?
 

greyshark

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I guess - but in my mind everyone WAS counting out the Eagles last year. They were the only 1 seed in NFL history to be home underdogs in the divisional round.

And the Giants were enormous underdogs going into that Super Bowl - I think around 2 TD’s.

I’m not intending to discount the ‘nobody believes in us’ motivator, I just feel like the Patriots are trying to manufacture something that isn’t there. Will it be as effective if you “know” the naysayers aren’t actually real?
 
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Sports psychology is pretty interesting stuff.

They lost 5 games against non-playoff teams, two blowout losses to straight I bad teams. The vibe I get is most people expect the Chiefs to win.

All year long I’ve heard the talk about Brady’s decline, which is largely accurate. He single handedly cost them two games and has had career low/worst stretches/games this season

The defense had been blasted as well for looking horrible at various times throughout the year:

Sports are funny. Nothing isn’t worth trying in order to be ready to win a championship. Manufacture whatever it takes in the preparation to manufacture a victory.

It looks corny because the the Patriots, but the Patriots really weren’t “The Patriots” this year if you realy followed them closely. Ignore the 2 seed.
 

switchback27

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That it did.

Worked for all of teams who beat the Pats in SBs. Especially those Giants teams, ESPECIALLY the 16-0 year

Worked for the Jets that time when they beat the Pats, and Bart Scott made that hilarious post-game interview.

"To all the non-believers! Especially you, Tom Jackson!"

 

Hobbesian

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Anyone got any links for a cable cutter? I need to watch these games.

Or will local channels suffice.

Hoping for a Patriots/Saints Super Bowl. That should be fun.
 

cryptoadam

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Anyone got any links for a cable cutter? I need to watch these games.

Or will local channels suffice.

Hoping for a Patriots/Saints Super Bowl. That should be fun.

I have a link but not sure if I can share it on here because of rules

If you want NFL then STREAMS is your game. Google and reddit too. wink wink.
 

greyshark

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Man - as bad as this has been for the Rams, they could have kept it 6-0 if they got a stop there. Terrible penalty.