2022 NFL playoffs: 5 players to watch this weekend
It’s Championship Weekend in the 2022 NFL playoffs. As a result it’s time to highlight five players to watch across the two games.
5. Frank Clark, EDGE, Kansas City Chiefs
Clark might be an odd choice on the surface. However, Clark ranks fourth all-time in NFL postseason history with 12 sacks, tied alongside Reggie White. He’s been phenomenal in January throughout his career. If the Chiefs are finally going to beat the Cincinnati Bengals, it starts with getting to quarterback Joe Burrow. Clark is going to be facing backup left tackle Jackson Carman, someone he can beat with the speed rush off the edge.
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4. Mike Hilton, CB, Cincinnati Bengals
Staying with the AFC Championship Game, Hilton is the most versatile corner on the Bengals. The veteran came over from the Pittsburgh Steelers following the 2020 season and he’s proven one of the best players on the team since. A slot corner, Hilton can cover, play the run or be one of the most effective blitzers in football from the defensive backfield. With all the different looks and formations Kansas City presents, Hilton will be essential.
3. A.J. Brown, WR, Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles are going to attack San Francisco’s top-ranked defense on the perimeter. Brown is in prime position to take advantage. A big-bodied receiver with good speed, Brown is going to be worth a few deep balls in the NFC title game, even when he’s covered. In his first year with Philadelphia after an offseason trade from the Tennessee Titans, Brown posted career-highs in targets (145), receptions (88), yards (1,496) and tied a high-water mark with 11 receiving touchdowns.
Read: Joe Burrow On Chiefs Challenge – ‘It’s Gonna Be Fun’
2. Christian McCaffrey, RB, San Francisco 49ers
If the Niners are going to pull the road upset and take down the top-seeded Eagles, it’ll be because McCaffrey has a huge day on the ground. Philadelphia has been susceptible on the ground this year. San Francisco has gotten 746 rushing yards on 4.6 yards per carry across 11 games since acquiring the former First-Team All-Pro back. With Philadelphia boasting four sack artists in the double digits, it’ll be imperative the Niners run the ball and keep rookie quarterback Brock Purdy clean.
1. Patrick Mahomes, QB, Kansas City Chiefs
Mahomes is the obvious choice, especially considering his balky right ankle. If he’s healthy and the Chiefs can protect him against the Bengals, he’s likely to have a big game. Kansas City had the best offense in football this season, and Mahomes was at the epicenter of its success, throwing for 5,250 yards on his way to a likely MVP.