The Four Teams Moving On From The Wild Card Round

Nicholas Cothrel

Indianapolis Colts

Key factors from the game:

  • Marlon Mack rushed for 148-yards.
  • Colts scored all three touchdowns before halftime.
  • Andrew Luck rushed the ball eight times for 29-yards.
  • Colts had 200-yards rushing and 200-yards passing.
  • Kenny Moore had one interception and two passes deflected.

The Colts will head to Arrowhead stadium to take on Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. Kansas City is the number one seed in the AFC and will have home field advantage throughout the playoffs. The Chiefs have struggled dramatically in the playoffs, loosing 10 of their last 11 playoff games.

Andrew Luck appeared to be calm and confident sitting back in the pocket during the game playing the Texans in the Wild Card round. The Colts offensive line has provided tremendous protection for Luck, only allowing him to get sacked 18 times during the regular season.

The Colts offense was successful on the ground game and in the passing game against Houston. They rushed for 200-yards and had 222- yards passing. Indianapolis will have a big task at hand, matching up against the Chiefs high-powered offense. A big factor in the game will be, who controls the time of possession. The Chiefs averaged 35 points per game in the regular season. The Colts will have to maintain their rhythm on offense to stay in reach with the Chiefs high-flying offense.

Dallas Cowboys

Key factors from the game:

  • Another 100-yard rushing performance by Ezekiel Elliott (record of 7-1 when Elliot gets 100-yards).
  • Cowboys defense only allowed 73-yards rushing.
  • Cooper had his third 100-yard receiving game since joining the Cowboys.
  • Dak Prescott completed a pass to eight different receivers.
  • Prescott had one rushing touchdown and one passing touchdown. 

The Cowboys came away with the victory over the Seahawks, late in the fourth quarter with the final score of 24-22. They will head west to Los Angeles to take on the Rams in the divisional round.

The Cowboys produce a defense that is young, explosive and play well together as a defensive unit. They are led by their linebacking core, of Jaylon Smith, Leighton Vander Esch and Sean Lee. They also have Demarcus Lawrence on the defensive line who had 10.5 sacks this year and really puts pressure on opposing quarterbacks.

Offensively they have stars at the skill positions, with Ezekiel Elliot at running back, who led the league in rushing yards. To go alongside of Elliot, they traded a first round pick to acquire wide receiver Amari Cooper. Elliot and Cooper are the focal point of the Cowboys offense, where they win or lose through those two dynamic weapons.

A matchup to look for in the divisional round will be the Cowboys top-tier defense against the Rams talented offense.

Los Angeles Chargers

Key factors from the game:

  • Chargers sacked Lamar Jackson seven times.
  • Michael Badgley went 5/5 on field goals (Long: 50-yard FG).
  • Adrian Phillips had one interception and three passes deflected.
  • Phillip Rivers completed a pass to nine different receivers.
  • Rivers snapped his three game interception streak.

The Chargers came away victorious in Baltimore. They will head to Foxborough, Massachusetts to take on Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.

The Chargers used seven defensive backs on almost every snap during their game against Baltimore. It helped contain the speedy Lamar Jackson from getting loose. In fact, they even had their pro bowl safety Derwin James, playing snaps at the linebacker position.

The Chargers offensive personnel has standout guys on offense and defense, which makes them a difficult team to matchup against. They had a league-high seven players selected to the pro bowl. Whereas the Patriots only had Tom Brady and Stephon Gilmore selected to the pro bowl.

Phillip Rivers is 0-7 in his career against Tom Brady. Although, Rivers is 8-1 this season on the road.

A matchup to watch for will be how Keenan Allen and Stephon Gilmore go at each other. Allen is the Chargers primary target and they look his way a lot on crucial downs. He was third in the league last season with 1,393-yards receiving.

Philadelphia Eagles

Key factors from the game:

  • Bears had more passing yards and rushing yards than the Eagles.
  • Eagles had six receivers with more than 20-yards receiving.
  • Nick Foles had two passing touchdowns in the second half.
  • Eagles defense had 10 passes deflected.
  • Newly acquired Golden Tate caught a touchdown pass to help secure the victory.

The Eagles will take on the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in the divisional round. The Eagles have won four straight games with Nick Foles under center. Foles has beaten the Rams, Texans, Redskins and now the Bears since taking over as the starting quarterback.

The Eagles secondary has faced a lot of injuries this season, forcing them to play guys with little experience. Rookie Avonte Maddox and second year Rasul Douglas are the eagles two starting corner backs. As they start to accumulate more playing time, their production has improved throughout the season.

Foles has shown up and produced at a high level in the playoffs, just as he did last season. The Eagles will have some decisions to make at the end of the season with Foles becoming a free agent and Wentz continuing to face injuries year-after-year.

Foles is going to have a steep hill to climb, facing the Saints next week. Brees and the Saints are one of the most complete teams from top to bottom. A matchup to look for will be the Saints defense against the Eagles passing game.

(Photo: Logan Bowles/ NFL)

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