Just a little write up for the play-offs purely by the statistics on the AFC side of things!
Lets start with the Ravens!
If we start by looking to the team statistics it's clear to see that what the Ravens got to the play-offs is their defense! Their offense is 6th in points given up and 3rd in pass yards given up #NFZ in Baltimore! The defense did struggle against the run but in the end all that matters is points given up and they are stingy in that area.
If we look at the individuals there's no true one leader on the defense in the turnover department and that is the strength of this squad. It's not one stud corner/safety/linebacker you have to watch out for they can all make plays. The beating heart of this defense to me is Byron Jones though he had a hell of a season and will be important for the team going forward.
For the Ravens to make a deep play-off run they need to get their offense rolling. Only 19th in the league in points scored and 26th in yards gained is not a way to get you past many stud defenses that made the play-offs. However they have proven this year to be able to keep an opponent to one score… the first matchup vs the Bills will be a big one. Rayski who made it to the championship game in both the last 2 seasons is maybe the toughest opponent he could get. But maybe the Ravens can get their revenge for the week 1 loss!
On to the Bills we go
The Bills had a great season on both sides of the ball with their offense being 4th in the league in points scored and the defense being 9th in points given up it's easy to see how they made the play-offs. This however didnt go as smoothly as it seems a surprising loss by the Patriots against the Jags CPU late in the season opened the door for the Bills to take their division and get to the wildcard round. Looking at the offense in Buffalo yards wise you can see it's a run first offense. And at the moment they face stacked boxes that's when the play action plays are being dialed up and QB Burrell can find his completions and move the chains. This offense of moving slowely and steadily down the field is new this year in Buffalo. In the previous seasons lots of the offense came on WR Bryant's shoulders with two 1300+ yard seasons he was the absolute star of the offense. This year however he 'only' got 878 yards and didnt even have the most receiving yards on the team! That honor went out to rookie WR Daniels, the amount of catches also was spread out way more then previous seasons and while Bryant may not be pleased about it Burrell had a great season getting 35 TDS and throwing only 12 picks. The runningbacks who as said before get a lot of touches get roulated threw so quick that you'll never see one of them high on the HB statistic lists but if you put everything together you get some insane rushing stats and 17 TDs on the ground!
On defense this year the playmaker was newcomer Deion Jones, many other teams are still wondering what the Falcons were thinking letting him go and he showed them right this year. Racking up a total of 13 picks and 4 sacks he was the leader of the Bills defense and he will need to continue this great form going into the play-offs to make another SB run for the Bills!
The Bills are one of the favorites to represent the AFC in the Superbowl again this year. Despite not having seed 1 or 2 they are dangerous on both offense and defense and are hard to stop. If we look at their loses this year what sums it up is that when the running game is not working they have a hard time winning the game. Burrell still makes plays but the keeping the ball away from the opponent part of their gameplan loses it's edge. Teams who have to face these Bills in the play-offs better make a phone call to the Patriots coach cause they had their number twice this season and might have some insight in how to stop this well oiled machine!
Then we get to the new kid on the block @TJCallingham the coach of the Raiderssss
New? Well this man is not new to this at all he just wasn't in the league before this season. The Raiders had a heartbreaking week 1 loss and the coach decided he had enough of it and retired. And this however heartbreaking to the fans turned out to be a blessing in disguise by the entry of the McVay of the PFL mister TJ! In his first game he took it all out on divisional rivals the chargers by absolutely smashing them! From there on he kept winning winning and winning in the end only losing once against his other divisional rival and #2 seed in the AFC the Broncos. (the other loss was a sim loss) So how did this man turn it all around? Well in a place all people say you NEED to be able to win championships –> DEFENSE. The Raiders this season were only 2nd in points given up and they are 1st in passing yards giving up (talking about a NFZ). The raiders know how to keep their opponents out of their endzone but have no problem finding theirs, being 12th in points scored they know how to put the points on the board. 12th is maybe not seen as a high powered offense but who needs a high powered offense when you give up so few points as they do? Looking at the playmakers on defense it's ofc. the one and only Khalil Mack racking up 20 sacks and many many QB hurries giving opponents a very short window to make decisions on what to do with the ball. Add to that FS Melifonwu who quarterbacks his defense and gets all people in place to take advantage of the hurried throws and you get a nasty nasty team!
TJ has been around the block and knows what it is to win play-off games he will face the Texans who are as everyone knows the best team in the league (no bias). But with a defense this stingy it's hard to see people stopping them… i have them as one of the top favorites to represent the AFC in the SB this year!
That leaves the as i just said best team in the NFL the Texans!
Nah all kidding aside Hitthesticks needed one season to get his team feeling a bit more like HIS team and get the right players in the right spots. If you ask him now he is probably still not entirely happy with his team but you can see the Texans have only gotten better from last year. They lost the ginger ninja and replaced him by Dobbs who untill this season acomplished nothing. Texans fans were questioning this move but Hitthestick wanted to get more mobile under center and he proved to everyone that he was right. Dobbs had an insane season throwing for 40(!) TDs… let that sink in… 40 TDs. So it hardly comes as a shock that what got the Texans to the play-offs is their high powered offense going 3rd in points scored per game. And 1st in total offensive yards gained per game! There have been some turnover troubles though in Houston which costed them some games with Dobbs throwing 21 picks and the HBs not always able to keep a hold of the ball. The defense in Houston is nothing to shy away from as well though, being 8th in points given up per game combined with their offense it's almost strange they didnt go 16-0. The leader on that team is without question JJ Watt, he gets the sacks he causes the hurries and he stops the run. On offense Nuuuuk is as dangerous as ever catching 16 TDs this season. But don't focus all on him cause his speedy buddy Will Fuller V will break your defense!
As we all know these teams matched up in week 14 and the Texans lost by 4 points. In this game they were unlucky though and Miller struggled to keep control of the Ball. If Houston can control the ball a bit better and cut back on the turnovers i cant see why they wouldn't be able to sustain a long and deep play-off run!
Well that was it, i'm hyped by these insane matchups and i'm sure you all are 2! Best of luck to all the coaches and only time will tell who gets the upper hand in these games.