Which teams will face each other in the next play-off round and who will be in the Super Bowl on Sunday, Feb. 2? Ohr Chadash Teen Page staff writer Jordan Eisen handicaps the remaining teams below. Eisen is the author of a sports blog at https://fieldofvisionsports.blogspot.com.
Kansas City Chiefs
Coming off of his all-time, MVP season, quarterback Patrick Mahomes has negatively regressed as expected. Though not as great as last year, Mahomes is still the best in the league.
Surrounded by an offense with speed at every position, most importantly wide receiver Tyreek Hill, Mahomes has no problem launching the ball deep. Complemented by another speed threat in running back Damien Williams, the Chiefs’ offense is a threat to be reckoned with.
In Mahomes’ second playoff run, expect him to take a step forward from his playoff campaign last year. A vital reason for that is the defense. Though not great, in the latter half of the season when they began playing man coverage, the unit has been slightly above average, which is enough to bring this historic offense to the Super Bowl.
Unlike other contenders in the playoffs, the Chiefs have a lot of youth and their Super Bowl window will be open for awhile. Mahomes is the next great quarterback and he could earn his first ring as soon as this year.
It’s hard to believe in the Titans’ success, but a Super Bowl has been won like this before: the Philadelphia Eagles led by Nick Foles. The key for the Titans is to embrace their underdog mentality just as the Eagles did.
At the moment, the Titans have the most confidence, which is terrifying for whomever their opposition is. If this odd streak comes to an end, the Titans could easily be beat by any remaining team. On the other hand, if they maintain their momentum, they’ll remain nearly impossible to beat.
The key to their success is due to many factors but the most obvious is running back Derrick Henry. Playing two of the most dominant playoff games in recent memory, his unique running style doesn’t work efficiently unless he’s given the opportunity to punish the other team to an extent that they’re so worn down it’s hard to tackle him.
However, his running style is simple to stop, get an early lead so that he doesn’t have a chance to wear down the defense. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill might be OK, but he’s not good enough to win a shootout against three of the best teams in the league.
If the Titans win it all, it’ll either be because their defense did enough to allow for them to run Henry non-stop or Tannehill proves himself to be competent enough to contend with some of the best offenses in the league.
San Francisco 49ers
Ever since their undefeated record gained fame, the 49ers have been ranked with the best in the league. Though the reason for this is difficult to determine, it’s the combination of a great running game and defense that makes this team special.
Their offensive talent resembles that of the Titans, but the reason why the 49ers are considered one of the strongest playoff teams, and the Titans one of the weakest, is their defense. While the 49ers’ secondary is adequate, their pass rush is elite, ranking third in sacks, there’s constant pressure on the opposing quarterback.
While their defense tends to keep points off the board, the offense typically gains a quick lead, allowing them to conservatively run the ball for the remaining time. This is the ideal strategy for most teams, but it doesn’t typically work. The reason that it works for the 49ers is because even when they’re conservative, they continue scoring.
The duo of a strong running game and pass rush is great, but it’s not enough to get a team this far -- that’s where quarterback Jimmy Garoppollo comes in. Garoppollo has proven to be the difference between a win and a loss multiple times, so if he continues, they can beat anyone.
Green Bay Packers
The Packers other than a few exceptions are the strangest team in the league. When looking at solely talent, it makes sense that they’re 13-3 and one of the final four teams, but to watch them play raises questions.
While their defense is certainly better than in years past, with an offense that’s fairly inefficient it shouldn’t be enough to take them this deep into the season. The offense simply looks like the same old “McCarthy system” that they’ve been running.
In addition to a subpar scheme, quarterback Aaron Rodgers is beginning to slow down, too. He’s still great, but last year, he was in contention of being the best of all time -- simply put he’s not really in that conversation anymore.
Running back Aaron Jones has played a big role in the Packers’ success by picking up some of Rodgers’ slack. Without a question, he’s good, but in 2020, Packers fans should expect major regression from the offense unless word comes out that Rodgers has been playing injured.
All in all, this team is well above average on both sides of the ball, which is a great starting point to win the Super Bowl. Though this may not be their year and their star quarterback is aging, this team has a bright future if some changes are made.