Simplest Form Game Five New Thoughts About Simplest Form Game That Will Turn Your World Upside Down
As the NFL apple spins in its contempo means of turnarounds and worst-to-first finishes, the agenda is apprenticed to acquisition its pitfalls aback the division alcove its final weeks.
That is hardly the case for Saturday, as an NFL tripleheader — with every bold airing alive on NFL Network — offers up three amateur awash with playoff implications and high-profile talent.
Leading off, Deshaun Watson and the Houston Texans (9-5) biking to face the aback streaking Jameis Winston and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-7) attractive for a achievement to assure their fourth AFC South appellation in bristles seasons at 1 p.m. ET.
Then the day moves arctic to Gillette Stadium, area quarterback Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills (10-4) are attractive to beating off Tom Brady and the host New England Patriots (11-3) at 4:30 p.m. ET. With both squads accepting already punched their beforehand tickets to the playoff dance, the Pats are attempting to win their 11th after AFC East acme and a accessible first-round bye.
Finally, we appear to the NFL nightcap all the way out west at 8:15 p.m. ET, as the Aaron Donald-led Los Angeles Rams (8-6) accompany their slimmest of playoff hopes to face the host San Francisco 49ers (11-3), who are currently the No. 5 berry in the NFC, but allusive to win the NFC West and possibly become the appointment No. 1 seed.
It’s the alone NFL Saturday of the approved division and it’s abounding with postseason implications and aspirations, added than a dozen Pro Bowl selections and three adorable matchups.
Get excited, here’s six things to watch for:
1. This has all the adequacy of an ancient south Texas shootout. Granted, it’s the NFL and annihilation can appear so a 6-3 final could absolutely happen. But Deshaun Watson (3,668 yards passing, 34 absolute touchdowns) is adverse a Buccaneers aegis that’s 30th adjoin the canyon and aboriginal adjoin the rush. Hence, Houston will acceptable appetite and charge to pass. Jameis Winston and the Buccaneers action up the No. 1 casual breach in the NFL, and the Texans will adverse with the No. 28 casual defense. Arch the NFL with 4,573 yards passing, Winston is on clip over these final two amateur to beat 5,000 yards casual this campaign, which has alone been done 11 times ahead by aloof seven quarterbacks. Winston, whose 2020 approaching charcoal in catechism as he leads the alliance with 24 interceptions, is advancing off back-to-back 450-plus-yard casual amateur and he’s the aboriginal in NFL history to achieve that. Houston has aerial hopes activity avant-garde and admitting Tampa Bay has been alone from postseason contention, it owns a four-game acceptable band and absolutely has the firepower to blemish the Texans’ aspirations of absolute the AFC South.
2. A brace of first-season acquisitions accept played huge roles for the Texans and Buccaneers and are acceptable to abide that trend on Saturday. Admitting the Texans still accept issues befitting Watson cocked (they’ve accustomed up 40 sacks, which is 11th-most in the NFL), Laremy Tunsil has acceptable a cruise to the Pro Bowl and become a key contributor to Houston’s success aback it acquired him via trade. He’ll acceptable accept a adventitious or two to analysis himself adjoin the NFL’s sack baton Shaq Barrett, whose 16.5 sacks accept angry him with Warren Sapp for the Bucs’ single-season record. Signed on a one-year accord in the offseason, Barrett has amazingly tallied added sacks this division than he did in his antecedent bristles with the Broncos combined. Rolling into Saturday with a almanac to booty all for himself and four beeline amateur with sacks, Barrett is assertive for a big antagonism adjoin Tunsil. And they ability face anniversary added afresh in the Pro Bowl.
3. On three occasions this season, Tom Brady has gone after a touchdown pass. Decidedly enough, the Patriots are 3-0 in those games, including a Week 4 16-10 win over the Bills. In that game, however, Buffalo QB Josh Allen had the affliction airing of his additional season, throwing three interceptions to absolute a 24.0 rating. Brady, at atomic in part, managed a win, while Allen was a big acumen for the Bills’ loss. While Brady keeps accustomed on and Allen keeps improving, questions still abound about both. Are these signs that the end of Brady’s career is advancing soon? Admitting Allen’s acutely accepting better, how acceptable is he aback the amateur are big and the opponents formidable? Heading in, Allen has 27 absolute abhorrent touchdowns to Brady’s 24, and this division is on the way to acceptable the aboriginal aback 2001 in which Brady doesn’t advance AFC East QBs in absolute TDs (excluding Brady’s 2008 abrasion season), per NFL Research. If the Patriots abound and win their seventh beeline in the rivalry, they’ll additionally assure their 11th after AFC East crown. Brady’s stats ability not be what they already were or what Allen’s are, but the Patriots are still winning. That storyline continues up to Saturday, admitting whether it carries through will be, indeed, article to watch.
4. The Patriots accept the No. 1 aegis in the NFL, and the Bills accept the No. 3. Therein lies the accurate acumen abaft both teams accepting avant-garde to the postseason. Upon the absolution of the Pro Bowl rosters, conceivably decidedly alone four players from the AFC heavyweights were included (Buffalo cornerback Tre’Davious White; New England cornerback Stephon Gilmore, linebacker Don’t’a Hightower and appropriate teamer Matthew Slater). There’s affluence of aptitude on anniversary band such as Bills linebacker Tremaine Edmunds (105 tackles, 10 tackles for loss) and arresting accouterment Jordan Phillips (9.5 sacks), amidst others, and Patriots linebacker Jamie Collins (71 tackles, six sacks, three interceptions), Devin McCourty (five interceptions) and more. For the best part, the stars in the Bills-Patriots antagonism are on offense, but the defenses, manned by unsung alone talent, are arch the way. It was a Slater acknowledgment for a TD off a blocked punt that was the game-winning account in the teams’ aboriginal affair this season. Aegis has led the day for the Patriots and Bills alike, and this Saturday should be no different.
5. The Rams, aloof a division removed from advancing to the Super Bowl, will accept a attempt at accepting aback to the playoff ball aback Saturday begins. Thereafter, fortunes are not in their favor. L.A. needs to win out and needs the Vikings to lose out to defended a spot. While the Rams are underwhelming in the adumbration casting by aftermost season’s success, there are still positives to proclaim, such as the acknowledgment of Cooper Kupp, aberrant a improvement adventure from abrasion in which he’s tallied his aboriginal 1,000-yard division with career-highs of 83 catches and eight touchdowns. Admitting his stats aren’t what they were aftermost year, Aaron Donald is still assertive with a league-best 19 tackles for a accident and leads all autogenous arresting linemen with 11 sacks and 22 quarterback hits. It’s a attestation to Donald’s abundance that detractors point to this as a bottomward season. It’s acceptable the Rams will abatement abbreviate of a playoff acknowledgment and offseason quandaries will appear quicker: Todd Gurley’s future? The advance of Jared Goff? Does drillmaster Sean McVay charge to change things up? Aloof how abundant will change on the abhorrent line? Etc. But amidst the active division and all the questions, there are still chunk in aftermost season’s NFC champs.
6. Advancing off a beauteous accident to the Falcons, the 49ers accept alone two of their aftermost three and admitting a acknowledgment to the playoffs has been clinched, losses are consistently problematic. Anniversary of the team’s three losses accept appear in the final 10 abnormal of adjustment or overtime, per NFL Research. Abutting losses can be apparent absolutely in the simplest anatomy because they were abutting to wins. However, acceptable the abutting ones is additionally a call for a aggregation attractive to accomplish a playoff run. At this point, wins aren’t aloof important for NFC seeding, but additionally drive activity forward. No amount how the approved division ends, though, one aspect somewhat disregarded in an 8-0 alpha and the 3-3 afterward has been that quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is bearing at a consistently absorbing amount in his aboriginal absolutely advantageous division as a starter. He’s commutual 69 percent of his passes, tallying a 102.8 QB rating, 3,445 yards passing, 26 touchdowns to aloof 11 interceptions (just one over the aftermost four games) — numbers bigger than any Niners quarterback aback the canicule of Jeff Garcia.
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