EIGHT TEAMS RE­MAIN; TAK­ING A LOOK AT THIS WEEK­END’S NFL PLAY­OFF GAMES,

Belleville News-Democrat - - Sports -

SATURDAY IN­DI­ANAPO­LIS AT KANSAS CITY

4:30 p.m. ET, NBC

The Colts are 4-0 in the post­sea­son against the Chiefs, 2-0 at Ar­row­head Sta­dium. They are on quite a roll from go­ing 1-5, with an ef­fi­cient of­fense that pro­tects its quar­ter­back bet­ter than any team, al­low­ing sacks on only 2.7 per­cent of An­drew Luck’s passes. That could be a key be­cause the Chiefs’ de­fense is one-di­men­sional, with a strong pass rush but oth­er­wise plenty of holes.

Kansas City scored a fran­chise-record 565 points, third most in NFL history. All-Pro quar­ter­back Patrick Ma­homes led the league with seven games with a 100plus passer rat­ing (Luck was third with five). Ma­homes set a fran­chise record for TD passes (50), touch down­in­ter­cep­tion dif­fer­en­tial ( plus-38) and 300-yard pass­ing games (10).

Worth fo­cus­ing on: The tight end pro­duc­tion for Indy’s Eric Ebron, who had 15 touch­downs this sea­son, and KC’s Travis Kelce, se­cond among TEs with 1,336 yards re­ceiv­ing. He has a catch in 79 straight games.

SUN­DAY LOS AN­GE­LES CHARG­ERS AT NEW ENG­LAND

1 p.m. ET, CBS

New Eng­land was 8-0 at Gil­lette Sta­dium, the only per­fect home record in the league. And the Charg­ers were a league-best 7-1 on the road.

Quar­ter­back Philip Rivers has a 1-7 record against the Pa­tri­ots, in­clud­ing 0-4 in Foxbor­ough and 0-2 in the play­offs. There is con­cern about lead­ing rusher Melvin Gor­don, who hurt his knee in last week’s win at Bal­ti­more.

Con­versely, Tom Brady is 2-0 in the play­offs and 6-2 in reg­u­lar-sea­son meet­ings.

Worth fo­cus­ing on: If the weather is de­cent, Brady and Rivers will be test­ing de­fen­sive back­fields of vary­ing ac­com­plish­ments. There of­ten have been gap­ing holes in New Eng­land’s cov­er­ages, while the Charg­ers have an All-Pro in rookie safety Der­win James, and an­other stand­out back there in Des­mond King.

PHILADEL­PHIA AT NEW OR­LEANS

4:30 p.m. ET, Fox

They call him St. Nick around Philly, and the way Nick Foles has per­formed, why not? He guided the Ea­gles to the cham­pi­onship and was Su­per Bowl MVP last year after re­plac­ing an in­jured Car­son Wentz. This time, with Wentz side­lined again, Foles got the strug­gling Ea­gles into the post­sea­son, then helped them beat the Bears in the wild-card game.

For the Saints, the league’s top team in the reg­u­lar sea­son. Drew Brees has had per­haps the best sea­son of his Hall of Fame-cal­iber ca­reer. And of all the teams com­ing off byes, New Or­leans is the most bal­anced. Oh, yeah, the Saints also routed the Ea­gles 48-7 in Novem­ber, be­fore Philly won six of the next seven, in­clud­ing the 16-15 ver­dict in Chicago.

Worth fo­cus­ing on: Again, the se­con­daries. The Ea­gles have pros­pered de­spite a rash of in­juries there, and the Saints’ DBs can be had when the guys up front don’t get in a QB’s face.

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