NFL Playoffs: 3 factors that will decide AFC and NFC Championship Games

The AFC and NFC Championship Games are going to be two competitive contests.

AFC Divisional Playoffs - Houston Texans v Baltimore Ravens
AFC Divisional Playoffs - Houston Texans v Baltimore Ravens / Kirby Lee/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
2 of 2
Next

2. Kansas City Chiefs run defense vs. Baltimore Ravens rushing attack

In the Divisional Round versus the Buffalo Bills, the Kansas City Chiefs allowed a whopping 182 yards on the ground. Well, in the Ravens Divisional Round victory over the Houston Texans, they gained 229 yards on the ground. Baltimore is built to run the snot out of the ball, and the Chiefs have allowed at least 100 rushing yards in a game 15 times this year.

I think the game plan here for Baltimore is simple, but Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo is surely a good enough defensive mind to try and counter the rushing attack from Baltimore. This could force the Ravens to air it out more, which would perhaps level the playing field a bit.

3. Chiefs offensive line vs. Ravens pass rush

The Chiefs offensive line, specifically their tackles, are a bit of a liability, and they will face their toughest test yet when they go up against the Ravens pass rush, which is by far the best in the NFL and led the league with 60 sacks in the regular season.

Chiefs RT Jawaan Taylor has been flagged about 482 times this year, and I do think we could see him get called for a false start or two in trying to get a jump on the pass rush. The pass rush may force Patrick Mahomes out of the pocket, but there's a clear downside there; Mahomes is a magician when he gets outside the pocket, so the responsibility would then shift to the defensive backs to ensure Mahomes cannot complete a pass when he gets chased out of the pocket.

I think the Ravens pass rush is going to have to be on their best on Sunday.