Every week, Senior Producer of NFL Matchup and NFL Films, Greg Cosell, stops by the show to take the audience inside the Herd Film Room to break down the tape from the most talked about performances from the past week.
Today, he’s breaking down the film from the Divisional Round, and looking at the key matchups ahead of this weekend’s AFC and NFC Championship Games.
Roll the tape.
Tom Brady struggled last week against the Texans. The Patriots won the game, but Brady completed fewer than 50% of his passes, and has played poorly in his last two playoff games.
Were his struggles due to a tough Texan defense, or is there evidence he is declining at 39 years-old? What does the film say?
The Texans are very multiple with their defensive front looks and their pass rush concepts out of those looks. Against New England, they were able to consistently generate pressure. Houston’s defensive approach was similar to Denver’s from last year’s playoffs, against whom Brady also struggled.
To have success against Brady, teams need to get pressure, which is difficult because of his pre-snap intelligence and ability to recognize coverages and blitzes. If the Steelers are blitz heavy this week, expect to see Brady run no-huddle, tempo, and the quick passing game to counter it.
Pittsburgh’s defense and pressure schemes have evolved throughout the year, and this week they’ll have to pressure Brady. It doesn’t mean it will work, but the chess match between the Steelers defense and Brady will be crucial in deciding the outcome of the game.
— Chat Sports (@ChatSports) January 15, 2017
Colin thinks the Steelers have as talented of a core group of skill position players in the league with Big Ben, Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown. Statistically,they are only ranked in the middle of the pack.
Is Pittsburgh’s offense underachieving given their star power? What does the film say?
Over the last couple months, Ben Roethlisberger hasn’t played at a high level and has been inconsistent. The Steeler offense has transitioned into being Le’Veon Bell’s offense. In the last five games, Bell has 74 first down runs, and is averaging 6.3 yards per rush on those attempts.
Pittsburgh’s success this week against New England will depend heavily on Bell’s continued effectiveness in the running game.
— Le’Veon Bell (@L_Bell26) January 17, 2017
Colin was extremely impressed with Dak Prescott in Dallas’ loss to Green Bay last week. He was impressed with how Dak overcame a poor first half to play an outstanding second half. What did the film say about Prescott’s performance?
Prescott played well last week after a slow start. As the game progressed, he settled in and made some nice throws, including a 40-yard strike to Dez Bryant while facing inside pressure from a Fire X Cross-Dog Blitz. He also identified and exploited the one-on-one mismatch with Dez Bryant and Packer corner LaDarius Gunter. Gunter can expect to see plenty of balls thrown his way this week when he lines up against Julio Jones in Atlanta.
— Chat Sports (@ChatSports) January 15, 2017
Atlanta isn’t known for their defense, but they have a lot of speed and play fast. They played well against Seattle and effectively shut down Russell Wilson. Aaron Rodgers is playing at a much higher level than Wilson. Is there anything the Falcon defense can do to slow him down?
These teams met in Week 8, and Jared Cook was out for Green Bay. Cook has become an integral part of the Packer offense, and is a plyer to watch this week. Atlanta plays more man coverage than people realize, and Cook could can be a matchup problem if he has a safety covering him in man coverage. How Atlanta handles the Jared Cook matchup could have a major impact on the outcome of the game.
— Chat Sports (@ChatSports) January 16, 2017
How can Matt Ryan and the Atlanta offense exploit Green Bay’s defense?
Green Bay’s defense has not been very good all year. They haven’t been effectively rushing the quarterback, and Clay Matthews’ play has declined from his past Pro Bowl form. The Packer secondary has struggled for various reasons, including several key injuries. In the last two weeks, they’ve lined up cornerback LaDarius Gunter against Odell Beckham and Dez Bryant, and he’s struggled.
Against Atlanta, they’ll have to face the added element of running backs Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman as receivers out of the backfield. Freeman and Coleman could prevent serious matchup problems for the Green Bay defense.
— Chat Sports (@ChatSports) January 14, 2017