In the meantime there's a great weekend of playoff action to look forward to. Expect Atlanta to return to the NFC Championship for the second-straight year with a 20-10 win. Will the Patriots get to the AFC title game for the millionth time?
Here's my picks for the divisional round. But with his ACL tear, Nick Foles is the starting QB and I doubt he manages to pull through this game. Everybody knows this is not the same team without MVP candidate Carson Wentz under center, and it has shown. They held a potent Los Angeles offense to just two field goals and a touchdown, and the special teams also forced two fumbles on a kick returns.
Philadelphia is No. 1 against the run, is at home and has had an extra week of rest. Either you think that team can win, or you are getting so many points it doesn't matter.
I just don't see it happening. The Titans will ride their momentum from Kansas City to a strong first half in New England, and this game will be closer than the spread indicates, but Brady and the Patriots will be too much to handle as the game progresses. What isn't debatable is that they will likely lose to the Patriots in Foxboro.
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Derrick Henry gives them a chance. The long time Saints signal caller will be a first ballot Hall of Famer yet will likely be overshadowed for playing in the same era as Aaron Rodgers, Tome Brady, and Peyton Manning. With DeMarco Murray ruled out again, Henry could make a difference. The Jags beat the Steelers in Pittsburgh earlier this season when Ben Roethlisberger threw five picks. He did run for 88 yards. While Henry was phenomenal against the Chiefs, rushing for 156 yards and a touchdown, he won't be able to do it all against a New England defense that ranked fifth in the National Football League in defensive points allowed per game (18.5). Mariota, while good enough to defeat the Chiefs, won't be able to get by the Patriots' pass defense. When the rubber meets the road between good offense and good defense, especially in the National Football League playoffs when the sheer volume of recreational money can make a serious impact on the point spread, more often than not the best value is on the good defense. Who will keep their Super Bowl aspirations alive and continue to the conference championships? Antonio Brown is fully healthy, and have I mentioned that Blake Bortles is trash? His stat lines in the four games before that were 7-83-1, 6-68-1, 3-28-1, and 7-108-1, with at least eight targets in each game. Bill Belichick won't tolerate anything less than laser focus, but it's fair to say teams with vacancies could be watching closely to see how both McDaniels and Patricia handle themselves against the Titans.
Despite significant improvements from the unit as a whole this season, the Saints defense still allowed opponents to convert 41 percent of their third-down attempts, which ranked 27th in the NFL. "The good thing is there is a really detailed contingency plan in place that hasn't had to be rolled out before, but is in place". Number one - it seems rare that I hear someone saying how much they hate the Vikings. It's not your typical small slate because there are a lot more studs, but also fewer good matchups.
Find a way to slow down Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram? Two turnovers, a pair of sacks, six tackles for loss and seven quarterback hurries is plenty of disruption to win a messy game. The Vikings have been stingy against the run (83.6 rushing ypg allowed), and have been no slouch against the pass either thanks to Pro Bowl cornerback Xaiver Rhodes and safety Harrison Smith.