x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

IGNOREEverything to gain in play-offsNEWSDAY

assdghj adfghj sdfghj Tomorrow sees the start of the NFL play-offs with San Diego taking on Indianapolis and Arizona facing Atlanta. On Sunday, Miami clash with Baltimore and Minnesota take on Philadelphia. Below is a look at what the teams need to do and also avoid doing to reach the Divisional round. San Diego v Indianapolis The San Diego Chargers need: An enhanced pass rush would be nice from a defence that finished tied for 22nd in sacks. Peyton Manning is a master of getting the ball out quickly, and was sacked only 14 times this season despite playing behind a patchwork line, and the Chargers need to put pressure on him.

The Chargers don't need: Again, it comes down to pass defence. The secondary and the defensive front have to work together, especially against a team with so many weapons. Indianapolis have an embarrassment of riches at wideout. The Indianapolis Colts need: Bob Sanders. The NFL's defending defensive player of the year was sidelined for much of the season - including the victory at San Diego - with knee and ankle problems. The safety has been especially missed against the run.

The Colts don't need: Falling behind early would be tough. It is not as if the Colts have a problem with a comeback. But the San Diego crowd was loud enough to be a factor in the Denver game, and should be even louder for the play-offs. Arizona v Atlanta The Arizona Cardinals need: Despite their late-season drop-off, the Cardinals should be able to move the ball with their passing game and generate a lot of crowd noise at home. They have a terrible running game, but Kurt Warner has lived - and usually thrived - with that reality, especially with the wide receiver tandem of Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald.

The Cardinals don't need: What the Cardinals need to worry about is stopping the run, and forcing quarterback Matt Ryan into the third-and-long situations. Watch the third-down count. If Atlanta is in double digits, that will make for a long day for the rookie. The Atlanta Falcons need: Atlanta needs to lean on its running game in a big way. Quarterback Ryan has had a great season, and this game won't be too big for him. But if he is throwing 30 passes in this one, it is not a good sign.

The Falcons don't need: A special-teams breakdown can cause big problems during the regular season, but can be even more devastating now. Two Michael Koenen punts were blocked this season and this can't be repeated. Miami v Baltimore The Miami Dolphins need: Miami can't give up on the Wildcat formation, even though it did not work the first time against Baltimore. Why? Because the Ravens load up the box well and very seldom play with two deep safeties. Because the Dolphins quarterback Chad Pennington won't beat you with downfield throws.

The Dolphins don't need: If the Dolphins are in a lot of third-and-long situations, they are done. Baltimore's defence will feast on those opportunities, most likely with the safety Ed Reed becoming a Dolphins receiver on those occasions. The Baltimore Ravens need: It sounds strange as these are the play-offs, but the Ravens need to guard against complacency as any NFL team that has won nine of 10 games has to be taken serious.

The Ravens don't need: Cam Cameron, Baltimore's offensive co-ordinator, needs to resist the urge to prove to the Dolphins they made a mistake by firing him. He can't get too fancy and, instead, just let the Ravens' defence win the game. Minnesota v Philadelphia The Minnesota Vikings need: Handling Philadelphia's defensive pressure will be the key for the Vikings. When people think pressure, they immediately think about disrupting the passing game. So the Vikings need to create opportunities for Adrian Peterson to run the ball a lot.

The Vikings don't need: Everything the Vikings do offensively should be focused on lifting the pressure off the quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, who has good mobility but does not always make the best decisions. Although Jackson has played better lately, the Vikings need him to be a game manager and not a game changer. The Philadelphia Eagles need: The Eagles need to get the ball into the hands of Brian Westbrook. With Westbrook on the field, the Eagles become a three-wide-receiver offense with base personnel in the game. That creates match-up advantages.

The Eagles don't need: Much as they want to soak in the energy of the play-offs, the Eagles can't get carried away. They need to keep their cool, and try to build on last weekend's win over Dallas. * Newsday