AFC: Houston Texans (Fallen2244) @ New England Patriots (SGOTheNatural)
Overview: After starting the season 9-0, the Houston Texans dropped back down to earth, dropping 5 of their last 7 regular season games. However, after knocking off the Ravens and Titans in the first two rounds of the 2020 playoffs, the Texans find themselves one win away from a Super Bowl appearance. The Patriots, completing the 2020 campaign with a league leading 15-1 record look to cap off an amazing season with a Super Bowl bid. It is Superbowl or bust for SGOTheNatural and his New England Patriots as they host the Houston Texans. This game has a lot riding on it for both coaches. Fallen2244 is looking to finally cement himself as a legitimate top tier coach in PML after years of teetering on the cusp the PML S-Tier. On the other side, with the departure of Mole, SGOTheNatural is looking to prove himself as the uncontested top dog in PML.
Quarterback: Deshaun Watson finishes the season as the best QB in the league with a historic stat line. His final stat line includes 5,382 yards passing to go with 60 touchdown passes. Fallen2244 has taken full advantage of not only Watsons arm, but his legs as well as he also accumulated 261 yards on the ground with a pair of touchdowns on 16 yards per carry. SGOTheNatural comes into the game with the 3rd best QB in the AFC, Cam Newton, whom was no slouch in his own right. Newton finished the season with 4,399 yards passing to go with 50 touchdown passes. By the QB comparison alone, we are set for a shootout here as they combined for 90 touchdown passes in the regular season! Look for the air yards to rack up in this one as it may come down to who has the ball last.
Running Backs: Fallen2244 has proved Duke Johnson is more than a utility or pass catching back. Duke Johnson accumulated 1,324 yards on the ground with 11 touchdowns as he finally was given the chance to be a lead back in the NFL. Both teams have a similar stat line as Phillip Lindsay, coming over from the Broncos in a mid-season trade, ran for 1,127 yards with 17 touchdowns. Both keep it modest with a respectable 80 yards per game. Additionally, the two teams sport a running QB who could take the big yards when they see an opportunity. The advantage however must go with the Texans as they proved Duke Johnson is as valuable as ever as he nearly approached 1,000 yards in air with 5 touchdowns.
Wide Receiver: Will Fuller finished as the number 1 receiver in the AFC and arguably the entire NFL with a monstrous 1,829 yards and 28 touchdown receptions! Fallen2244 was able to pass at a historic rate as Goodwin (1,217/16), Cooks (1,189/10), Du. Johnson (856/5) also overachieved through the air this season. SGO will have a difficult time locking down all 4 of these playmakers. The Patriots are led by 5th year player Demiere Byrd who has established himself as SGOTheNaturals clear number one target in the passing attack finishing with 1,671 and 20 touchdowns. After Byrd, the Patriots use a very well-rounded passing attack to keep the defense off guard. Look for SGO to spread the ball around the field to confuse Fallen2244 and the Texans defense.
Tight End: The Patriots utilized two tight ends, Asiasi and Keene throughout the season in a balanced passing attack. Look for them to utilize them vs the Texans in bigger formations and two TE sets. Keep an eye on Darren Fells of the Texans as Fallen has looked his way many times inside the redzone.
Offensive Line: The New England Patriots come away with one of, if not, the best offensive line in football this season with three offensive linemen finishing as finalist for the AFC Best OL. Newton was only sacked 10 times this season, and this is anchored by the right side of the line who have given up zero of those sacks. However, both teams have proven to utilize their lines to buy time in the pocket and effectively run the ball throughout the season.
Defensive Line: The Patriots have had much success coming from both ends as Winovich and Simon both had 8 sacks. Put them with Lawrence Guy, look for SGO to bring the pressure to disrupt the high-powered Texans passing attack and force turnovers through the air. The Texans are led by superstar J.J. Watt who is still looking for a ring in his 9th season in the NFL.
Linebackers: In an effort to keep up with the speed of the Texans passing attack, SGO will use 1st year pro Noah Dawkins and his 90 speed to contain the middle of the field. Dont’a Hightower will be moving over to ROLB where his 95 play recognition will be needed more than ever in the AFC title game. The Texans Zach Cunningham who led the team with 112 tackles will pair up with Benardrick McKinney (91 tackles) to counter. I have to go with the higher overalls on this one and give the edge to the Texans.
Secondary: A lot of star power here that will be put to the test this week. The Texans feature AFC Defensive Player of the Year front-runner Justin Reid who finished the season with 111 tackles along with 10 interceptions. He will take the field with another front runner for the AFC Defensive Player of the Year Award, Keion Crossen who as well had a great season statistically. If any one team is able to disrupt the firing Texans passing game, this will be the team. Featuring Stephon Gilmore (99), Jason McCourty (88), Jonathan Jones (88), and JC Jackson (83) at cornerback, the talent and depth is obviously there. Then we have Devin McCourty (94) and Patrick Chung (84) at safeties. The New England defensive backs vs the Texans wide receivers will be the matchup I am looking forward to the most.
Final Prediction: SGO is coming into this game locked and ready. He also has the experience of the big stage as well. I must go with the Patriots on this one as the their secondary will give Fallen fits as he tries to move the ball through the air.