Sports

NFL Playoffs 2022: How the leaders can lose to every potential opponent

If you’re a fan of the Kansas City Chiefs, this is the best time of the year: the football game.

Recent years filled with very high levels of success have often left fans – and the team, for that matter – poised to fast-forward to these very moments.

After a highly unpredictable regular season, the Chiefs finished with a 12-5 record, earning the No. 2 seed in the AFC playoffs. But unlike what happened two years ago – when they led the second seed to a Super Bowl victory – they wouldn’t say goodbye during Wild Card Weekend. Instead, they host seventh-seeded Pittsburgh on Sunday evening (9-7-1).

Let’s break down all the AFC teams the Chiefs could encounter on their way to their third consecutive Super Bowl appearance.

Seeds: 7

When will they play: Wild Card Tour – This Sunday at 7:15 PM Arrowhead time

Just a few weeks ago – in a game where Travis Kelsey was unavailable and wide receiver Terek Hill played very little – Kansas City beat the Steelers 36-10 at Arrowhead. At one point, the leaders advanced 30-0. So we’ve already seen how bad a confrontation this seems to be for the Steelers – even when they’re not playing against the Chiefs’ best offensive playmakers. Kansas City enters this game as a 12.5-point favorite. On paper, presidents Must Winning the match – I hope it’s a little stressful.

But this is the always unpredictable NFL. Pittsburgh’s top coach Mike Tomlin is led by defensive end TJ Watt, whose 22.5 sacks have tied the record for a single season in the league. As a team, the Steelers led the league with 55 sacks in 2021. But when the teams played in Week 16, Watt hit a rib injury.

If Pittsburgh pulls off a surprise, it will be because Watt and fellow defensive tackle Alex Highsmith can consistently put pressure on quarterback Patrick Mahomes. To score enough to have a chance of winning, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger must be on standby, throwing deep balls to the sidelines — and perhaps most importantly, the dynamic wide receiver of Deontay Johnson and Chase Claepool must consistently outplay the Kansas City linebacker. One-to-one at the pickup point.

Seeds: 3
When can they play: Division Round

At the moment, it seems very likely that last year’s AFC Championship match will be replayed. But this season, it will happen Owns To be in the division round.

In the fifth week, Buffalo defeated Kansas City 38-20 at Arrowhead. After that match, Buffalo only went 7-5 – while The Chiefs went 10-2. But in terms of scoring and yards, Bills still ranks in the top five overall in both attack and defence. This is so amazing.

Lately, Bills quarterback Josh Allen has been a more inconsistent version of himself — a fearsome position for a team that probably needs to put four good games together to win the Super Bowl.

So, if Kansas City loses again to Buffalo at Arrowhead, it will be because Allen has been on his “A” game, makes good decisions and displays above-average accuracy. Defensively, Buffalo will have to do everything in his power to control the Chief’s attack. If Andy Reed and Patrick Mahomes aren’t patient enough to commit to a game of running — pushing the ball down the field in small bits — the Buffalo defense can pause enough to keep the scoring low. I would say this is the toughest possible match in the AFC – simply because Buffalo has the best overall combination of quarterback, defense and special teams.

Seeds: 4
When they can play: Divisional Round or AFC Championship

It will be very interesting for Chiefs fans to see the team avenge what happened during Week 17 in Cincinnati, when Kansas City lost 34-31.

The Bengals are a fun young team – but based on what we saw a couple of weeks ago, the hype will probably be a little louder. The team ranks 17th in the DVOA overall, which is an advanced metric that can be a great indicator of how good a team really is. Cincinnati’s best ball is of championship caliber – but its worst led to the New York Jets losing.

For Kansas City to lose again – this time at home – it would be either injuries sustained before the game or the failure of the Chiefs’ defensive coaching staff to adapt to what happened in the last game. I wouldn’t bet on that. Bosses will adapt. They’ll continually dash up to four defenders against quarterback Joe Burrow – and they’ll win.

Seeds: 5
When they can play: Divisional Round or AFC Championship

the Raiders In the playoffs? After seeing The Chiefs beat them 89-23 in two regular season games, that just doesn’t feel right. But this season, The Raiders is a great story of perseverance – overcoming many obstacles to get to where they are. However, Las Vegas is still a mediocre team on nearly every meaningful measure (21st DVOA, 26th scoring defense, 18th scoring offense).

For the team to pull off an upset in Kansas City, the Chiefs will have to play pretty badly — and like the Steelers, the Raiders will need a lot of pressure from defensive backs Max Crosby and Yannick Njakwe to make turnovers. Meanwhile, quarterback Derek Carr and his receivers will need to play their best game of the season.

Seeds: 1
When can they play: Asian Championship

If I had to guess, I’d say Kansas City is going to visit Tennessee for the Asian Football Championship. It will be a great opportunity to avenge October’s brutal and ugly 27-3 loss.

It all goes back to the Tennessee star dating Derek Henry. After returning from a foot injury that made him miss the second half of the season, Henry needs to be close to his best in order for the Titans to reach the Super Bowl.

Whether or not Henry was on the field, quarterback Ryan Tanehill’s production didn’t change much; He struggled pretty much in 2021. With Henry, Tanehill had 10 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. Without him, he had 11 touchdown passes and seven interceptions. But if the retreat is again ready to take on the full load of work, Henry can succeed in those key moments when playing Must made.

If the Titans beat the bosses, it will be because Henry has enabled them to stay in favorable distance positions – second, third and short – and Tanehill has pinpointed passes to wide receivers AJ Brown and Julio Jones in play-action concepts. Kansas City’s offensive tackles can struggle against the passing speed of impulsive Bud Dupree and Harold Landry, too. As you can tell by now, the fast bursts and wide dynamic receivers on the perimeter are the kinds of matches that should scare Chiefs fans the most.

Seeds: 6
When can they play: Asian Championship

The Patriots are the biggest long shot among potential Kansas City opponents. A defensive soccer team — as evidenced by its second-highest goal-scoring defense — New England free-passers are possessed by Matt Godon, who has led the team with 12.5 sacks this season. Cornerback JC Jackson – with eight interceptions and 23 defensive passes – is one of the best men’s coverage in the league.

Offensively, the Patriots rely on backs Damian Harris (929 yards for 4.6 yards per carry) and Ramondry Stephenson (606 yards dash and 4.6 yards per carry), who combine to make up the league’s eighth-ranked dash offense. Rising quarterback, Mac Jones, had an impressive opening campaign – but he’s still just a game manager who doesn’t have the weapons around him to give New England a championship-quality attack.

If New England defeats Kansas City, it will be because the Patriots chiefs can’t handle their racing backs to force pass-accelerating scenarios appropriate to their defensive line. New England head coach Bill Belichick will also have to lead a brilliant defensive performance as the First Division minor does an impressive job covering Kansas City’s receivers.

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