Extreme reaction from participants in the NFL conference finals

Is the Chiefs’ productive, explosive offense back? Let’s put this and other “overreactions” to the test about the four teams that will compete in the NFL conference finals.

The conference finals are set and the AFC and NFC titles will be played for by teams that have proven themselves dominant in the present or that have a bright future.

In the AFC, the Kansas City Chiefs will play their sixth consecutive championship game, but first away from Arrowhead Stadium, when they visit the Baltimore Ravens, while in the NFC, the San Francisco 49ers return for the fourth time in the last five years. The conference finals will host the Detroit Lions, who have reached this level for the first time since 1991.

Let’s examine the overreactions of the winners of divisional round duels.

Defense is the real reason the Ravens are in the AFC Championship Game

The Baltimore Ravens defense dictated the pace of the game by allowing only three points to the Houston Texans offense, who scored a touchdown that tied the score at 10–10 with a punt return and, moreover, all the way to Baltimore’s 25-yard line. Couldn’t reach. game.

The performance of coordinator McDonald’s defense was so impressive that they did not even need a steal or sack to stop a Texans attack that could only convert four of 12 third-down conversion attempts.

Verdict: This is an overreaction

Yes, Stroud is a rookie quarterback who was in his second playoff game, but Houston had averaged 31.3 points over its last three games and the way the Ravens’ defense stopped the Texans’ offense in its tracks was spectacular, but we Let’s not forget that on the other side of the ball we have a versatile Lamar Jackson leading an attack that is dangerous in the ground game and in the air.

What makes the Ravens dangerous is that their offense complements their defense and vice versa.

Chiefs offense returns to level for 2022 season edition

In the Divisional Round duel against the Buffalo Bills, the Chiefs offense added eight explosive plays (20 or more yards), but three of them were through the air on passes in which the ball flew 20 or more yards and in those completions, Patrick Mahomes was perfect with one touchdown pass (22 yards to Travis Kelce) and 84 total yards.

On the ground, Isiah Pacheco contributed a total of 20 or more yards per game with a 29-yard run; Clyde Edwards-Helaire had a 28-yard run and Mahomes had a 24-yard run.

Verdict: Not an overreaction

If you take a cold look at their 2023-24 season, the Chiefs lost several games due to execution failures, especially dropped passes. Execution and penalties took away Kansas City’s chance to finish with the first or second seed in the AFC, and although those errors hurt their numbers, the productivity was there.

The Chiefs’ offense ranked ninth in yards per game and sixth in passing yards per game in the regular season and in the playoffs, receivers have reduced dropped passes and the offense is more reliant on the running game with the aggressive and efficient Pacheco. .

The offense has improved just when the Chiefs needed it most and, without being as explosive as they were in 2022, can find the perfect hitting to put themselves in position to win.

Defense will be what gives the 49ers a new Super Bowl championship ring

The 49ers’ defensive line looked sloppy at times attempting to put pressure on Jordan Love, but once the defensive front line found a way to put pressure on the Green Bay quarterback, San Francisco advanced to the NFC Championship Game. Packers.

The Gambas defense intercepted Love twice, and in the first quarter, with 2:02 left in the third quarter, it closed the door for the Packers attack, which could only get as close as one field goal attempt, but they missed. His interception by Drew Greenlaw, his second in the duel, sealed the victory for the 49ers.

Verdict: Not an overreaction

Brock Purdy silenced his critics by directing a drive in which the 49ers changed the score with Christian McCaffrey’s six-yard touchdown run with 1:07 remaining, but during the first three quarters of the game against Green Bay, The San Francisco quarterback was erratic. ,

Losing Deebo Samuel to injury, who is a “thousand of uses” to San Francisco’s offense and who, if he plays in the NFC Finals, may not be 100 percent, had a lot to do with Purdy’s erratic performance. . , so the 49ers defense will be forced to take another step forward against the dynamic Detroit offense.

The Lions will be the team to beat in the NFC for the next three years

In the win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, running back Jahmir Gibbs (1st round) rushed nine times for 79 yards, including a 31-yard run to the end zone, and caught four passes for 40 yards, against tight end Sam LaPorta (second round) had nine receptions for 65 yards, while defensive back Brian Branch (second round) recorded nine tackles, eight unassisted and two for loss of yards, in addition to one sack.

This is just one example of how invaluable the 2023 draft class and the contributions of the youth on the Lions roster have been in transforming this team from mediocrity to contender, a label Detroit plans to maintain with leadership elements like defensive end Aiden Hutchinson Is. Who is in his second season in the NFL.

Verdict: This is an overreaction

After decades of mediocrity, the Lions have become a relevant team from almost one year to the next and the experience they have gained in 2023 is invaluable, but the NFC is set to compete for conference titles in the immediate future. There are teams armed, their rivals in the NFC Finals, the 49ers, the Philadelphia Eagles or even the Dallas Cowboys, or that, although perhaps slower in development, they also fight for supremacy in that conference like the Packers, Los Angeles Are on the right track. Angeles Rams or Seattle Seahawks.

One component that has helped the Lions emerge as a contender is coach Dan Campbell’s mentality and that will help them think about the playoffs more often than they have in the past three decades, but beating an opponent in the NFC is going to be somewhat difficult. Seems like To achieve that with multiple teams ready for the same thing and with more experience in handling that role.

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