Monday, January 30, 2023

NFL Divisional Round Takeaways: Top-seeded Chiefs and Eagles take care of business


Jalen Hurts remains to be damage, however he’s not injured — and that’s an necessary distinction for the top-seeded Eagles.

After steering clear of the damage report all week, Hurts, who sprained his throwing shoulder in Week 15, notched three whole touchdowns to assist Philadelphia run over the New York Giants on Saturday night time.

And we do imply run over. Philadelphia rushed 44 occasions for 268 yards, gaining extra on the bottom than New York gained in any respect.

Pounding the rock is necessary to the Eagles’ id, which explains why they ranked fifth as a dashing offence this season (147.6 rush yards/recreation). However whereas Hurts sat out in Weeks 16 and 17, the crew ran for simply 87 and 67 yards, respectively, on a feeble 3.5 yards per carry.

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Hurts returned within the season finale in opposition to the Giants, however he had his least environment friendly dashing efficiency of the 12 months (13 yards on 9 carries) whereas dealing with nothing however backups. Guiding his squad to a snug win in a playoff setting is a pleasant step ahead.

The well being of Hurts’ shoulder remains to be a storyline to observe, although. At this level within the season, it’s honest to imagine most gamers are banged up — however few have the expertise to have an effect on a recreation like Philly’s dual-threat quarterback.

On an evening the place the NFC and AFC’s No. 1 seeds each superior, listed here are our different takeaways from Saturday’s divisional spherical motion.

What’s subsequent for Jones and the G-men?

Enjoying on a prove-it contract in 2022, Daniel Jones confirmed the Giants that he’s value a brand new deal.

New York declined to train Jones’s fifth-year possibility in August, which is honest when you think about his 49 turnovers over 38 video games from 2019-21. Carelessness received’t maintain you round.

However beneath first-year coach Brian Daboll, Jones reduce down on his turnovers (9 in 17 video games) whereas establishing a much more threatening — and thus, invaluable — presence together with his legs.

Jones joined Hurts, Justin Fields, Lamar Jackson and Josh Allen within the higher crust of dashing quarterbacks. All 5 had 700-plus dashing yards, whereas no person else within the league made it to 450.

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With an unglamorous solid of cross catchers, Jones’s willingness to maintain the ball usually stored the Giants in video games.

So, then, how will he be repaid? New York tasks to have greater than $52 million in cap house, in line with Spotrac, which is among the many highest sums within the league.

This could possibly be an offseason of upheaval for the Giants, with guys like Jones, Saquon Barkley and Darius Slayton all set totally free company. However 2022 performances — paired with a optimistic path for the crew — ought to encourage New York to convey again its prime contributors.

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Henne-thing is feasible

Backup quarterbacks are insurance coverage insurance policies, personified. You by no means need to use yours, however in a bind, it’s awfully comforting to have a great one.

Kansas Metropolis referred to as on its backup, Chad Henne, early within the second quarter after a Jacksonville defender landed on Patrick Mahomes’ proper ankle.

As Mahomes skipped gingerly to the locker room, Henne’s entrance marked a possible inflection level. The Chiefs led by three, beginning a possession on their very own doorstep. What adopted was a no-nonsense, 98-yard drive culminating with a landing cross for the vet.

For a man taking his first significant snaps since Week 7 of final season — with just one begin since 2014 — that’s not too shabby. And positive, rookie tailback Isiah Pacheco bruised his method to 57 rush yards on the drive, however Henne ensured the offence hummed and not using a hitch.

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The Chiefs by no means trailed on Saturday, which misleadingly saps some drama from what Henne orchestrated. That 98-yard drive was the longest drive in Kansas Metropolis’s postseason historical past, per ESPN Stats & Info.

Put an inexperienced quarterback in his footwear, and we’d’ve seen the sport transfer in a distinct path.

For as good as Henne’s low-heartbeat contributions have been, although, the Chiefs have been absolutely relieved to have Mahomes return to motion. He performed your complete second half, hopping off his one good ankle to ship a decisive landing cross with seven minutes left.  

Mahomes said afterward that his X-rays got here again destructive and he’ll be “good to go” for the convention championship. The Chiefs are clearly at their greatest with the MVP-in-waiting beneath centre, however now we all know this crew has a serviceable backup plan, too.

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Began from the underside

Jacksonville’s unprecedented rebellion ended at Arrowhead. However there’s rather a lot to love about this crew shifting ahead:

• The Jaguars are the primary crew in NFL historical past to win a playoff recreation after ending within the league basement the earlier season (for these scoring at house, in addition they completed final in 2020).

• After main the NFL in interceptions as a rookie, Trevor Lawrence bounced again in a serious method beneath the tutelage of former Tremendous Bowl-winning coach Doug Pederson. Jacksonville’s City Meyer experiment appears like a lifetime in the past, doesn’t it?

• Christian Kirk and Zay Jones, each of whom set career-high marks in yards and receptions this season, are beneath contract for 2 extra years. And let’s not overlook this crew traded for Calvin Ridley throughout the season.

• With the fourth-youngest roster, Jacksonville completed tenth in scoring offence and twelfth in scoring defence.

Enjoying in a division with the getting old Titans, directionless Colts and hapless Texans, Jacksonville may very feasibly be favoured to win the AFC South once more subsequent 12 months.

So if you happen to’re a Jaguars fan, grasp your head excessive. There must be sunny skies forward in North Florida.



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