Zeke looks to be fed vs. the Rams porous run D, while Travis Kelce licks his chops awaiting the worst defense against tight ends in the league. Breakout Live examines the top players poised for a breakout game in the NFL Divisional Playoffs.
If America’s team is to have any hopes at an upset in Los Angeles they’ll need to feed Zeke a steady diet of touches similar to the 30 they crammed down his throat vs. Seattle. The Cowboys ran 67 plays vs. the Seahawks, and Elliott had it in his hands on 30 of them. Dallas might want to think about increasing the load for Zeke vs. the Rams. There were only two teams in the NFL that gave up more than 5 ypc on the ground, and the Rams gave up an NFL worst 5.1.
Pat Mahomes’ favorite and most-targeted option in the passing game faces a Colts defense that gave up the most yards and receptions to the tight end position. Indy’s defense gave up an incredible 1234 yards and 106 receptions to opposing tight ends. That’s 26 more receptions and 159 more yards than the 31st team in the league. Meanwhile, Kelce posted the 2nd most receptions and yards with 1336 and 103, respectively. A long day is in store for the Colts defense.
There are some great running backs left in the playoff field with Ezekiel Elliott, Todd Gurley, Melvin Gordon, etc., but nobody is any hotter than Marlon Mack. The 2nd year Colt from the University of South Florida averaged 24.5 carries per game over his last two and has posted at least 119 yards in both contests. Mack set a Colts playoff record last Saturday vs. Houston, who had given up the lowest YPC in the NFL. Kansas City is 1 of 2 teams that gives up over 5.0 ypc.
There’s a ton of pressure on the Rams to perform at the Coliseum after the egg they laid in front of their faithful last year at home vs. the Falcons. The potent Rams offense mustered just 13 points in that one. After seeing Jared Goff struggle down the stretch, the star-studded L.A. defense has to show up on Saturday to stop Ezekiel Elliott. The Rams leading tackler this season wasn’t one of their big names; it was Littleton. Aaron Donald will keep him clean so he can corral Zeke all day.
When you look at the cast of characters among the 8 teams remaining, Rivers stands out as the guy everyone who doesn’t have a dog in the hunt is rooting for. Rivers might be down to his last best chance to catch that elusive Super Bowl ring. He’s 1-7 lifetime vs. New England and has never beaten Tom Brady. Rivers wasn’t relied on much at Baltimore with just 160 yards passing. The Pats trot out the 22nd ranked pass defense against the hungriest man in these playoffs.
With Josh Gordon suspended, Gronk broken down, and Tom Brady looking like he’s a quarterback in his 40s, Michel stands out as New England’s best offensive weapon. The rookie from Georgia was a surprise 1st overall selection by Belichick in last April’s draft. He was selected for such a time as this. The Chargers had their fill of being hyper focused on the run game last week at Baltimore. A little letdown in defensive approach spells a big day for Michel.
Foles wasn’t any part other than a clipboard holder in the 48-7 loss to the Saints in Week 11. It’s not a stretch to say no team believes more in its quarterback than the Eagles do in Nick Foles. The Saints were 28th against the pass this season. Foles just got tuned up last week vs. a rabid Bears defense that finished 3rd overall. He’s the reigning Super Bowl MVP and the Saints don’t have the horses in the secondary to shut Foles and the Eagles passing game down.
Kamara was very good this season but a bit disappointing considering the lofty standards he set for himself as a rookie. His YPC is down 1.5 per attempt and his yards in the passing game dropped despite the same 81 catches. Kamara is fresh after having two weeks off, not playing since Week 16. He wasn’t a major factor vs. Philly the first time around with just 14 touches. This one should be a lot closer, and this is where the Saints RB advantage shines through.