NFL Divisional Round Picks
Falcons @ Eagles
If Carson Wentz was playing I’d be picking the Eagles in a heartbeat, but he’s not. Instead it’s Nick Foles. Both the Eagles and Falcons had a great year defensively. They both ranked in the top 8 of points allowed per game during the regular season. In a game like this, I trust Matt Ryan to have more success against a good defense than Nick Foles. Matt Ryan has been the league MVP and has taken his team to a Super Bowl.
Speaking of the Falcons and the Super Bowl, they’re trying to get back and win it. After what happened last year against the Patriots, Atlanta has been hearing it all season long. They’re sick and tired of it and want another chance. They sure did prove that against the Rams last week, holding one of the best scoring offense’s to 13 points.
Titans @ Patriots
If the Titans want to win this game and upset the Patriots, they have to keep Tom Brady off the field. They can do that if they get Derrick Henry going early and keep him going throughout the game. Against the Chiefs, Henry ran for 156 yards with a 6.8 average. Something similar to that has to happen.
The Titans won the game because they turned things around in the second half. They were down 21-3 after a bad half, but then held the Chiefs scoreless. If the Titans have another bad start to the game, I don’t see them coming back to win. Not against Tom Brady. If you didn’t know by now, Tom Brady is pretty hard to beat in the playoffs. The Titans must have a near perfect, if not perfect game to win. I just can’t see this Titans team having enough to beat the Patriots.
Jaguars @ Steelers
The Jaguars crushed the Steelers 30-9 in their week 5 matchup, but these two teams look a little different now. Roethlisberger threw 5 INT’s that game without throwing a TD. His passer rating was 37.8, which is by far his worst of the season. In the first 5 games of the season, Roethlisberger only had 2 games with a passer rating of 90 or higher. In the next 10 games, he had 8 games with a rating of 90 or higher. His play has improved all season. He’s an experienced quarterback and he’ll learn from what the Jaguars did to him in their last meeting. There won’t be another 5 INT day by Big Ben this time around.
While the Jaguars were the dominant team in their last meeting, they don’t look so dominate right now. They lost their last two regular season games, and then just barely beat the Bills in 10-3. The inexperience of the Jaguars in the playoffs is what I’m concerned about. Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, and Le’Veon Bell all have a big day and get their revenge on the Jaguars.
Saints @ Vikings
Remember in week one when the Vikings beat the Saints 29-19? Yeah I don’t really remember that either. That’s most likely because we weren’t watching this Saints team. This was before we knew Alvin Kamara was Alvin Kamara and before the Saints defense became a top 10 defense. I don’t see the same Saints team at all.
The Vikings have been rolling all season long, getting victory after victory. While the offense has been surprisingly good, the defense has been special. Allowing 15.8 points per game has allowed them to get some key victories in close games. I do think this game will be a close one, but I see the Saints coming out with a win. As mentioned above, this Saints team is a very different one from what we saw in week 1 and they’re seeking revenge.