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Luck is facing another man-based defense this week, but Indy’s route combinations won’t produce the same playmaking opportunities. The Patriots are too conservative to be out-leveraged downfield. Plus, their personnel is better than the Chiefs’. Aqib Talib, at 6-1, 205 pounds, has the length, strength and fluidity to disrupt the 5-9, 180-pound Hilton. And the Pro Bowl corner almost certainly will have help over the top, as Bill Belichick’s M.O. is to do whatever is necessary to eliminate the opponent’s top weapon. With Hilton covered and offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton finally acknowledging (tacitly) the ineffectiveness of Trent Richardson and the power running game, this contest will be decided by Indy’s ancillary receivers in spread sets. The game plan will focus on quick-timing throws, but a lot will hinge on what happens when Luck extends plays. The X-factor: tight end Coby Fleener. He’ll either be matched against a linebacker in space or shadowed by corner-turned-safety Devin McCourty. If it’s the former, Fleener needs to have a 100-yard type night. If it’s the latter, then either Griff Whalen, Da’Rick Rogers or speedster LaVon Brazill will have to win in true one-on-one scenarios.

NFL Divisional Playoffs: Breaking down all four games this weekend | The MMQB with Peter King
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