As I see the NFL playoff games this weekend here

first_img As I see the NFL playoff games this weekend, here’s the one player I think will be the fulcrum to determine the outcome of the game. Tweet me yours @doug987fm. Comments   Share   GAME 1Kansas City at New EnglandSaturday – 2:35 kickoffEric BerryIn order for the Patriots to win, Tom Brady has to get rid of the ball fast. If Justin Houston and Tamba Hali can be what they used to be when both were healthy, Brady will be looking for short throws to Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola.  Eric Berry has the chance to come up huge or be torched. Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning yells to his team during the second half in an NFL football game against the San Diego Chargers, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey) For the first time in Manning’s career, he must not lose the game. If Manning tries to win the game for the Broncos, Pittsburgh is in the AFC Championship Game. We all love a fairy tale. Manning has been great for the NFL and he’s one of the legends of the game as a player and as a person. He deserves to go out on a white horse (Bronco) and ride into another version of “Manning versus Brady.” There’s just one catch. He can’t physically do what his mind is telling him to do. Denver has a great chance to host the AFC Championship Game as long as Manning plays more like Trent Dilfer and less like Ryan Leaf. GAME 3Seattle at CarolinaSunday – 11:05 kickoffLuke KuechlyEither Kuechly is the best overall LB in the league or there’s a short list of players ahead of him. He can do so many things well but everything he has will be tested against the Seattle offense. The teams have met once this year, but Seattle wasn’t clicking like they are now so that game means very little.If Kuechly stays in to spy Russell Wilson, can he still take away the Seattle crossing routes?  If Kuechly is preoccupied with Wilson’s boots, waggles and read-options, he can’t be as effective as when he simply reads the eyes of the classic drop back passer. There’s going to be so much attention paid to Cam Newton versus the Legion of Boom, and rightly so.  However, if Kuechly has a bad game, Newton won’t be able to cover it up against Seattle’s defense.GAME 4Pittsburgh at DenverSunday – 2:40 kickoffPeyton ManningThis is the easiest one of the four games to narrow it down to one player. What does this man have left?With all the rest, he did look good in the last game of the season.  A Week 17 game can’t erase the 2015 season, though. Manning has contributed very little to the success of the Denver Broncos this year. He wasn’t even a game manager during most of the games. The Denver defense snatched victory from Manning’s jaws of defeat on multiple occasions.center_img Berry must decide when to come to help against the run and diagnose the play fake. Berry can’t let anyone deep down the field but he also must control the dink and dunk that moves the chains. If he plays well, the Chiefs have a chance for their first AFC Championship game appearance since losing to Jim Kelly and the K-Gun in Buffalo two decades ago.GAME 2Green Bay at ArizonaSaturday – 6:15 kickoffEddie LacyThe Cardinals have too many offensive weapons for Green Bay’s defense to completely shut down. This might not be an offensively explosive game, but it certainly won’t be a replay of Vikings/Seahawks. The Packers will need to score to keep up with Arizona’s offense.The play-action pass will be huge for Green Bay and the only way it works is if Lacy runs like he did in the last three quarters of the Packers’ win in Washington.  Lacy can be a stud but he’s been hit-or-miss (mostly miss) for stretches this year. If it’s an arm’s race, I’m taking Carson Palmer. I’m not claiming Carson’s had a better career than Aaron Rodgers, but I’ll take the Cardinals’ offense as a whole every day in 2015.  The Packers can’t win this game without Lacy being a major threat. Top Stories The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impactlast_img

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