THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – When Brandon Staley looks at the defenses on the remaining eight teams in the NFL playoffs, the Los Angeles Rams' defensive coordinator sees several top-notch groups with several qualities in common.
Yet one element stands apart — quite literally at times.
Nearly every team still vying for the Super Bowl has an elite cornerback often capable of shutting down an opponent's top receiver all by himself.
The NFC playoff bracket has three of the conference's four Pro Bowl cornerbacks: Green Bay's Jaire Alexander, Los Angeles' Jalen Ramsey and New Orleans' Marshon Lattimore. There's also Los Angeles' Darious Williams, who quietly had one of the most impressive coverage seasons in the league, and Tampa Bay's underrated duo of Carlton Davis and Jamel Dean.
On the AFC side are Pro Bowlers Tre'Davious White of Buffalo — a second-team All-Pro — and Marlon Humphrey of Baltimore, along with the Ravens' Marcus Peters and Cleveland's Denzel Ward.
“Those guys are all outstanding players," Staley said. "But, you know, we feel like we have the best guy.”
Most of the defensive coordinators left in the postseason feel the same way about their own top cornerback — and with good reason in most cases.
Ramsey's matchup with fellow All-Pro Davante Adams is among the most interesting aspects of the Rams' trip to Green Bay on Saturday, but every postseason game this weekend offers a chance to watch an elite cornerback doing his best to tear up an offense's game plan.