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Josh Ferguson Jersey

Postprzez hongwei28 » Śr lis 07, 2018 1:40 am

Four of the five teams that gave up the fewest points during the regular season are the last four left with a shot at the Super Bowl Micah Hyde Jersey , something that had never happened since the NFL-AFL merger nearly a half-century ago.

And three of the four toughest to gain yards against are still around, too.

Still think that all a team needs to succeed in the modern game is an elite QB? Go ahead and take a close look at Sunday’s matchups for the conference championship games.

Sure, Tom Brady (assuming his injured right hand is good to go) and the New England Patriots will be playing for the AFC title, just like they always do, but they’ll be going up against Blake Bortles and the Jacksonville Jaguars. Over in the NFC, the Philadelphia Eagles will send Nick Foles out to face the Minnesota Vikings and Case Keenum, hardly a marquee matchup between quarterbacks, and one set up by injuries to other signal-callers.

What this quartet of teams does have in common is solid defense, showing once again that while everyone is paying so much attention to one side of the ball, it’s the other that might truly matter the most. The more league rules and officiating tend to favor offenses, the more figuring out ways to slow that down is imperative.

”When you have a defense that can shut that type of firepower down,” said Brian Robison, a linebacker on the Vikings defense that ranked No. 1 in yards and points allowed, ”it allows you to win ballgames.”

Minnesota gave up 15.8 points per game. Jacksonville was No. 2 at 16.8, followed by No. 4 Philadelphia’s 18.4 and No. 5 New England’s 18.5.

”There’s teams that have really good defenses that aren’t talked about,” Patriots linebacker Kyle Van Noy said. ”We’re one of them.”

It’s the first time since the 1970 merger there has been that sort of defensive dominance among the NFL’s final four. The closest was at the end of the 2010 season, when teams that ranked No. 1 (Steelers), No. 2 (Packers), No. 4 (Bears) and No. 6 (Jets) in points allowed reached the conference title games.

”The most heralded guys on the field are the quarterbacks. So I would say, nine times out of 10, your detail goes into your offensive planning and things like that,” said Jacksonville’s leading tackler, Telvin Smith, who returned a fumble 50 yards for a touchdown last weekend. ”Offense sells tickets, and defense wins championships. I’m happy I’m on the defensive side.”

He is part of a young, talented and speedy D that rose to prominence quickly via a combination of shrewd drafting (linebackers Smith and Myles Jack Nick O'Leary Jersey , defensive ends Yannick Ngakoue and Dante Fowler Jr., cornerback Jalen Ramsey) and free-agent signings that panned out (defensive lineman Calais Campbell, cornerback A.J. Bouye, safeties Barry Church and Tashaun Gipson).

Take a look at the regular-season rankings in various defensive categories, and you can’t miss the Jaguars. That helps explain how they made it this far with Bortles, whose 84.7 rating ranked 22nd among QBs with at least 100 pass attempts and whose 13 interceptions were exceeded by only six players.

Campbell tied for second in NFL with 14.5 sacks, while Ngakoue added 12 and led the league by forcing six fumbles. Bouye tied for third with six interceptions, while Ramsey, Gipson and Church each had four. As a unit, the Jaguars were No. 2 in yards allowed at 286.1, trailing the No. 1 Vikings (275.9), with the Eagles (306.5) at No. 4. The Jaguars were also second in sacks and total takeaways, while they topped the NFL with seven defensive TDs.

Exceptional defense can carry a team far: In nine of the last 10 seasons, the No. 1 or No. 2 team in points allowed participated in a conference championship game. The exception was 2015, when the Seahawks led the league in that category but lost in the divisional round, and the Bengals ranked second but lost in the wild-card round.

”Now it’s down to, `May the best defense win,”’ Eagles linebacker Nigel Bradham said. ”We each get to showcase what we can do.”



AP Sports Writers Dave Campbell in Eden Prairie, Minnesota; Kyle Hightower in Foxborough, Massachusetts; Mark Long in Jacksonville, Florida; and Rob Maaddi in Philadelphia contributed to this report.




LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles Dodgers starter Kenta Maeda will take the mound Saturday against a Colorado Rockies team that he has had success against over the past three years.

Colorado Rockies starter German Marquez will take the mound Saturday on the road, where he has been excellent outside of the shadow of the Rocky Mountains.

Something has to give at Dodger Stadium in a nationally televised game, when Dodgers right-hander Maeda (5-4, 3.44 ERA) faces off against Rockies right-hander Marquez (5-8, 5.53).

The Rockies won the first game of the series 3-1 on Friday, and Maeda will try halt the Dodgers’ two-game losing streak.

Since returning from the disabled list after being sidelined by a hip strain http://www.officialoilers.com/authentic-adidas-connor-mcdavid-jersey , Maeda has posted a 2.87 ERA over three starts, including a scoreless seven-inning outing Monday against the Chicago Cubs when he struck out nine and picked up the win.

The nine strikeouts were reminiscent of his best stretch of the season before his injury, when he struck out 32 batters over 24 1/3 innings, including a season-best 12 strikeouts in 6 2/3 shutout innings against the Rockies on May 23.

“Ever since coming off the DL, feeling-wise, this is the best I have felt,” Maeda said through an interpreter, after holding the Cubs in check during a 2-1 Dodgers victory Monday. “Overall it was a much better feeling coming into this game than the other ones.”

Especially troublesome for the Rockies is that Maeda figures to be fresh for Saturday’s outing, having thrown just 84 pitches in his latest start. Then there is this: Maeda is 5-2 in eight career appearances (six starts) with a 2.11 ERA against the Rockies with 48 strikeouts.

Marquez has struggled lately, having gone 1-4 in June with an 8.53 ERA, but there is no doubting his road success this year. He has a 7.93 ERA at home, but that mark falls off dramatically to 3.07 in 41 innings on the road. In fact, the Rockies have won four of Marquez’s seven road starts this season.

Marquez is 1-0 with a 3.91 ERA in four career starts against the Dodgers.

His two outings against them this season have been a mixed bag. On May 21 in Los Angeles, Marquez gave up one run over seven innings in a 2-1 Rockies victory. On June 2 at Colorado, he gave up four runs over six innings, although he didn’t factor into the decision as the Dodgers rolled to a 12-4 victory.

In his four starts since then, Marquez has given up at least five runs in each time. He gave up a combined 10 runs (nine earned) in his last two starts, both of which came at home.

“I know I have been in the league two years and if I execute my pitches, it doesn’t matter how long they have known me,” Marquez told reporters, through an interpreter, after he gave up six runs (five earned) on nine hits in 3 1/3 innings in an eventual 8-5 loss to the Miami Marlins on Sunday. “It’s about me executing my pitches.

Marquez will face a Dodgers team that has 54 home runs in June, the most in franchise history for a single month.
hongwei28
 
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