Post by Trent Lane on Jan 12, 2018 15:05:29 GMT -5
After going 1-3 last week, I'm here to make an ass of myself make my predictions for the Divisional Round:
Falcons at Philly:
I dismissed Atlanta, but I'll be damned if they didn't look good last week. I can't trust Foles in this one. I think it's a good game, but Atlanta should be too much provided that the "good" Falcons show up.
Atlanta 27 Philadelphia 19
New Orleans at Minnesota:
This should be the game of the weekend. Minnesota has been a thrilling team to watch, and New Orleans has reinvented themselves both on offense and defense. I expect a shootout here.
New Orleans 41 Minnesota 38
Tennessee at New England:
The Titans showed no quit in their comeback last Saturday. The Patriots are the team to beat and are beastly at home. Brady is something like 7 zillion and 2 against Dick Lebeau defenses. There's the adage about "Any given Sunday", and I think it'll be close than some think, but I just don't see the Titans winning.
Patriots 24 Titans 14
Jacksonville at Pittsburgh
The Jags go into Pittsburgh on the heels of one of the most craptastic playoff games in recent memory to face a powerful Steelers offense. That said, There's just something around the Steelers that stinks to high heaven. I just get a bad vibe. I've watched this team play down (and even lose) to some really garbage teams. But....Blake Bortles..........I........I can't do it....even though I REALLY not only wanna pick Jacksonville, but lay some $$ on them as well.
Here’s how I see the elite eight of professional football playing out:
- Atlanta 23, Philadelphia 10: Were Carson Wentz starting under Center for the Eagles, I’d be inclined to pick Philadelphia to not just win this game, but likely the NFC Championship. But without Wentz and with Nick Goles, the Eagles likely won’t make it out of the Divisional Round. Atlanta’s defense is too fast for Foles and while Philly’s defense is stout, the playoff-tested Falcons appear to be peaking at just the right time.
- New England 34, Tennessee 17: As a worrywort, I tend to fret about Patriots playoff games. But this feels like a mismatch. Tennessee has a strong defensive line and pass rush, which is the first key to beating Tom Brady. Offensively, they’re a run-first ball-control team, which is how you beat the Patriots defense. The problem, however, is that I just don’t trust the entirety of the Titans to go into Foxboro and upset the Patriots. New England is simply the better team and it will take a series of mistakes or unforced errors on their part for them to not host the Conference Championship Game next weekend.
- Pittsburgh 24, Jacksonville 10: The matchup of Pittsburgh’s loaded offense versus Jacksonville’s stout defense should be a fun watch. But Blake Bortles should remove any fun whenever the Jaguars possess the ball. Pittsburgh is going to dare him to beat them with his arm and I just don’t see any way he’ll be able to do that. Jacksonville is a game-managing quarterback away from being legitimate contenders in the AFC, but unfortunately for them, Bortles alone may sink their season come Sunday afternoon.
- New Orleans 26, Minnesota 20: This is easily the matchup of the weekend, as you have two coaching gurus going clipboard to clipboard. Sean Payton’s offense versus Mike Zimmer’s defense is going to be intriguing but I think the Saints finally have the defense to compensate for Drew Brees and that high-flying prolific offense. I’ve been doubting the Vikings and Case Keenum all season and they’ve continued to prove me wrong. I’ll continue to doubt for one more Sunday.
Philadelphia over Atlanta: The Eagles might surprise some people Saturday. Even without Wentz, they have a hellacious Front 7 and the Falcons have hit-and-miss offensive line play. Also, it's going to be dumb-cold and windy by this weekend, and the Falcons are an indoor team. Look for them to keeping the ball on the ground with Ajayi/Blount rather than have noodle-arm Nicky embarrass himself with his parachute passes.
New Orleans over Minnesota. This will be the best game of the entire postseason for my money. Even against a thoroughly underwhelming defense like the Saints, I could see Keenum turning back into a pumpkin. I could also see Kamara/Ingram getting shut down by the best D in the NFL leaving it in Brees' hands, which he's fully capable of doing. Latavius Murray and the RBs to run it often.
New England over Tennessee: The Titans will have opportunities due to the Patriots always playing down to competition early in playoff games. Brady takes over the game in the second half... Nantz and Romo will use the word surgical at least six times. It'll be disgusting to listen to.
Pittsburgh over Jacksonville: 5 interceptions or not. The opposition boasts Blake Bortles. Steelers will win handily.