NFC East Reporter
There are 29 NFL groups nonetheless technically alive within the chase for a Tremendous Bowl championship, together with perhaps 18 which have a sensible shot of at the very least making an actual run. However because the NFL heads into Week 15 that large area is beginning to slender.
And with simply 57 days till Tremendous Bowl LVII, time is beginning to run out.
The NFL is now squarely within the stretch run of the common season and the postseason match is imminent, with groups throughout the nation beginning setting their sight on soccer’s largest recreation. Tremendous Bowl LVII will happen on Feb. 12, 2023 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., with greater than 110 million folks all over the world anticipated to tune in to the printed on FOX.
Will probably be the fourth Tremendous Bowl in Arizona, and the third at that stadium. And with the defending champion Los Angeles Rams (4-9) on the point of elimination, it virtually definitely would be the 18th straight Tremendous Bowl performed with out a repeat champion — the longest stretch with out back-to-back winners within the 57-year historical past of the sport.
Will probably be the primary Tremendous Bowl referred to as by FOX’s prime broadcast workforce of Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen. It’s going to be Rihanna’s first time because the star of the halftime present. And there is at the very least an opportunity that the Dallas Cowboys will attain the Tremendous Bowl for the primary time in 27 years, or the Buffalo Payments for the primary time in 29, the Miami Dolphins for the primary time in 38, or the Minnesota Vikings for the primary time in 47.
What different Tremendous storylines will there be? That’ll be sorted out over the following 57 days. For now, here is a take a look at the highest 15 contenders to achieve Tremendous Bowl LVII and the largest query every of them should reply between every now and then:
1. Philadelphia Eagles (12-1)
Is their run protection as much as the problem? The one flaw they’ve proven all season lengthy has often been their lack of ability to cease the run. They’ve lapses in tackling at instances and the groups which have come closest to beating them — together with the one which did — stayed within the recreation with a robust speeding assault. They’re excellent in each different section of the sport. In the event that they cease the run, they may be inconceivable to beat.
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2. Kansas Metropolis Chiefs (10-3)
Can they maintain on to the soccer? Patrick Mahomes is taking part in like an MVP and he is obtained greater than sufficient offensive expertise round him. However they’re instantly a turnover-plagued workforce. Their minus-4 turnover differential places them close to the underside of the NFL. They’ve given the ball away 19 instances, together with on 11 Mahomes’ interceptions. They will not get away with that towards higher groups.
3. Dallas Cowboys (10-3)
Will Dak Prescott show to be a championship-caliber quarterback? He is been usually terrific since coming back from a thumb harm, and he is turned the offense right into a juggernaut. And with a robust, two-pronged speeding assault and a stellar protection, the Cowboys haven’t any weak link. However Prescott has been oddly interception susceptible, with 5 in his final three video games and 7 in his final 5. That may’t occur within the playoffs towards groups that can make them pay.
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4. Buffalo Payments (10-3)
Is Josh Allen OK? The Payments QB seemed like an MVP candidate via the primary half of the season. However ever since he sprained his elbow whereas being battered in a loss to the Jets in Week 9, he hasn’t seemed fairly the identical. He is nonetheless good, and higher than most, however neither he nor the Payments offense have been as explosive as they’d been. They will want to search out their outdated type to get via a loaded AFC.
5. Cincinnati Bengals (9-4)
Can they preserve QB Joe Burrow upright? It seems like the reply is “Sure.” He is been sacked 35 instances this season — fourth most within the NFL — however solely six instances within the final 5 video games. It is no coincidence the Bengals have received all 5 whereas Burrow has averaged 271.2 yards and thrown 10 touchdowns with simply three interceptions. They’re clicking in each section proper now. If Burrow will get time to throw, their offense is as harmful as any within the league.
6. San Francisco 49ers (10-4)
Is their protection ok to win a championship? It may be, and it will must be now that quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is out for the season (in all probability) with a damaged foot, leaving the offense in Brock Purdy’s fingers. The 49ers are first in complete protection (286.8 yards per recreation), first in scoring protection (15.2), second in interceptions (14) and eighth in sacks (36). Purdy has performed effectively and the working recreation is powerful, however it’s the protection that should carry this workforce.
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7. Minnesota Vikings (10-3)
Can their protection cease anybody via the air? The NFL’s worst protection (total and passing) has given up a mean of 335.6 passing yards over the past 5 video games. It is no marvel they’re the primary 10-3 workforce ever to be outscored by their opponents. They did beat the Payments in an extra time shootout, however shedding to the Eagles and Cowboys by a mixed rating of 64-10 is a warning that their move protection may very well be a significant drawback, even within the NFC.
8. Miami Dolphins (8-5)
Can they offer Tua Tagovailoa some run help? They have not thus far. The truth is, they’ve had 100 yards speeding in solely 4 video games all season. That has put monumental strain on their quarterback, who has been excellent (3,004 yards, 22 touchdowns, 5 interceptions in 11 video games) and has essentially the most explosive receiver within the NFL (Tyreek Hill, 100-1,460-6). However it may very well be tough for a one-dimensional workforce within the AFC playoffs.
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9. Baltimore Ravens (9-4)
Will Lamar Jackson be wholesome sufficient to play like Lamar Jackson? For the primary three weeks of the season, he was the most effective quarterback within the NFL, with 10 landing passes and two interceptions. Within the 9 video games since, he is thrown seven landing passes with 5 interceptions. Now he is out with a sprained knee. He is anticipated again earlier than the top of the season, but when he does not play like his outdated self, the Ravens will not go far.
10. Los Angeles Chargers (7-6)
Are they wholesome sufficient to outlive the playoffs? No reliable contender has been extra battered by accidents this season, together with to quarterback Justin Herbert, receivers Mike Williams and Keenan Allen, tackles Rashawn Slater and Trey Pipkins, tight finish Gerald Everett, linebacker Joey Bosa, and extra. They’re beginning to get wholesome, however their depth stays fragile. They’re nonetheless with out some key items, however time will inform if they’ve sufficient.
11. Washington Commanders (7-5-1)
Can Taylor Heinicke keep away from the large mistake within the large spot? There isn’t any doubt he is discovered some magic after taking up at quarterback from Carson Wentz. And thus far, he is even managed to largely keep away from disaster, with solely 5 interceptions in his first seven begins. However he performs on the sting and will be wildly inaccurate at instances. He is obtained a gunslinger fashion that may be an asset … till it isn’t.
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12. Tennessee Titans (7-6)
Is Derrick Henry sufficient to hold the offense? King Henry is having a spectacular season with 1,199 speeding yards and 11 touchdowns via 13 video games. However he is accounted for greater than 42 % of their touchdowns and just below 40 % of their complete yards. Ryan Tannehill is a mediocre quarterback with questionable receivers. For the Titans, it is Henry or bust.
13. Seattle Seahawks (7-7)
They discovered a quarterback, however have they got a ok protection? The revival of QB Geno Smith has been the shock of the season, if not the last decade, within the NFL. However nearly as good as he is been — eight video games with greater than 250 yards passing, a number of landing passes in 11 of 14 video games — he is getting no assist from the protection. The Seahawks are giving up 27 factors and 404.6 yards per recreation throughout their latest 1-4 slide.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-7)
Does Tom Brady have sufficient left to hold one other workforce to a title? He might need to, as a result of the Bucs are the worst speeding workforce within the NFL. They do not even have 1,000 complete yards via 13 video games. Six particular person working backs have greater than Tampa Bay’s 948 complete yards. If that does not decide up, it would put numerous strain on the 45-year-old Brady, who’ll have to show it on within the postseason — maybe for the ultimate time.
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15. New York Giants (7-5-1)
How are they going to have the ability to transfer the soccer? The working recreation was as soon as their power, however Saquon Barkley has been in a hunch the previous month. They common solely 180 passing yards per recreation and have one of many NFL’s worst receiving corps. Their most dependable play has been when quarterback Daniel Jones runs (often for his life), however that hardly looks like sufficient to hold a workforce on the street within the playoffs.
Prime tales from FOX Sports activities:
Ralph Vacchiano is the NFC East reporter for FOX Sports activities, overlaying the Washington Commanders, Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants. He spent the earlier six years overlaying the Giants and Jets for SNY TV in New York, and earlier than that, 16 years overlaying the Giants and the NFL for the New York Each day Information. Comply with him Twitter at @RalphVacchiano.
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Publish date: 2022-12-17 14:30:32
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