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Coffee & Cigarettes: Educational links for Wednesday

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Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

While I'm away from the blog for a couple of weeks, I've set up some posts that point you in the direction of some interesting or educational links about football. Today's expert analysis comes from Andy Benoit, writer for SportsIllustrated's MMQB and The New York Times.

NFL running backs' decreasing value amplified in 2014 free agency | The MMQB with Peter King
It’s been jarring to see the depressed value of running backs in this year’s free-agent market. Take a look at the 10 biggest contracts handed out so far: Player Team Contract Annual Average Ben Tate Browns Two years, $7 million $3.

Michael Vick-Geno Smith situation shows New York Jets are off-course | The MMQB with Peter King
Some have lamented that, as one headline put it, “[Michael] Vick’s arrival in New York takes impatience with a young quarterback to a new level.” Rex Ryan might disagree.

NFL evolution: How safety became the most significant position on D | The MMQB with Peter King
In recent years no position on defense has become more significant than safety, both free and strong. Defensive coordinators rely on complex schemes to create pressure and, just as important, the illusion of pressure.

NFL free agency is about being cautions of risks and red flags | The MMQB with Peter King
Free agency is an exciting time, and that’s the problem. Amidst the excitement, fans and media overvalue unsigned players. Worse yet, so do coaches and general managers. The NFL system is not set up for great players to hit free agency.

Kiko Alonso, Brandon Graham lead 2014 NFL breakout defensive players | The MMQB with Peter King
This is the final installment of a two-part series on players who will find the spotlight next season. The 2014 All-Emerge Team: Offense can be found here. Defensive End Cedric Thornton, Eagles Thornton emerged last year, but few noticed.

NFL offensive players who will emerge in 2014 | The MMQB with Peter King
Quarterback Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins Quarterback is the one position where you can’t identify an “out of nowhere” breakout guy. Fans are already familiar with everyone who plays this position, including most backups.

Kam Chancellor was most deserving of Super Bowl MVP honors | The MMQB with Peter King
All season long Andy Benoit has studied NFL game film to break down tendencies, tactical concepts and the hidden games within the game. This is his analysis of the big one. Broncos offense vs. Seahawks defense This was the most impressive defensive performance of 2013, and perhaps the last decade.

Super Bowl XLVIII cheat sheet: what you need to know about the players | The MMQB with Peter King
So, there’s a football game tonight? You don’t want to be like this guy and pick the Patriots to win; there might not be a faster way to get kicked out of your Super Bowl party! Here’s a cheat sheet to help get your through XLVIII.

Why Your Playoff Team Didn’t Reach XLVIII: NFC | The MMQB with Peter King
In the past three weeks, the Super Bowl dreams ended for 10 teams. Here, we diagnose precisely how every NFC playoff loser—New Orleans, Carolina, Philadelphia, Green Bay and San Francisco—missed out on an early February trip to New Jersey. (The AFC version can be viewed here.

AFC playoffs end early for Colts, Chiefs, Bengals, Patriots, Chargers | The MMQB with Peter King
In the past three weeks, the Super Bowl dreams ended for 10 teams. Here, we diagnose precisely how every AFC playoff loser—Indianapolis, San Diego, Cincinnati, New England and Kansas City—missed out on an early February trip to New Jersey. (The NFC version can be viewed here.

Russell Wilson will have to step up on third down in Super Bowl 48 | The MMQB with Peter King
Russell Wilson has not been a comfortable drop-back passer over the past two months. The Seahawks have masked this (somewhat) by leaning on their dynamic running game.

Colin Kaepernick: San Francisco 49ers quarterback of the future? | The MMQB with Peter King
The NFL game is set up for great pocket passers to flourish. Case in point: on Sunday, this generation’s best two pocket passers, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, will appear in the AFC Championship Game for the fourth and eighth times, respectively.

AFC Championship Game is a case study of how NFL defenses are evolving | The MMQB with Peter King
Patriots coach Bill Belichick and Broncos coach John Fox (as well as Fox’s defensive coordinator, Jack Del Rio) have been leading acolytes of zone-based defenses for most of their combined 56 years as either NFL head coaches or coordinators.

Bruce Arians' Arizona Cardinals are NFL's best-coached team | The MMQB with Peter King
Bruce Arians will not win a second straight NFL Coach of the Year award, but he deserves it. Sure, the Cardinals might not even make the playoffs, but no team has done a better job than Arizona at masking weaknesses and conjuring strengths.

Pro Bowl 2014: Who deserves to make the cut | The MMQB with Peter King
Pro Bowl balloting closes the day after Christmas. In an effort to help "merit” trump "popularity," I filled out a full ballot that’s based solely on film study from this season. Stats are noted in some of the analysis, but they did not factor strongly into any decisions.