Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
Sport | By Wilson Duncan

NFL Playoff Divisional Round Schedule and Predictions

NFL Playoff Divisional Round Schedule and Predictions

The best weekend of the National Football League is here, the Divisional Round of the playoffs. Saturday the PHiladelphia Eagles will host the Atlanta Falcons.

For the first time ever, a number six seed is a favorite to beat the top overall seed in any conference. However, unlike their college brethren who were able to keep the title in the area with Alabama and Georgia in Monday night's final, these four southern National Football League teams now must travel north to try and keep their seasons alive.

The Falcons were not great on offense by any means. Plus, I believe at least half of them win outright.

"And this is a Titans team that if they can't run the ball will struggle to move as an offense".

Now that I look at all four games, this is a "do not overthink it" weekend - Brady vs Mariota, Big Ben vs Borltes, Brees vs Keenum, Ryan vs Foles. Everybody knows this is not the same team without MVP candidate Carson Wentz under center, and it has shown. I think the Saints have a running game and defense that will travel well in this spot, and I'll take all four of the points Vegas wants to give me with a first time playoff starter at QB for the Vikings. Hopefully they did not spend too much time celebrating because the New England Patriots are ready for them.

The Titans were down 21-3 to the Kansas City Chiefs last Saturday before storming back for a 22-21 victory at Arrowhead Stadium.

The point spread for this game hasn't budged since opening at 13.5 in favor of the Patriots. This, in turn, will place the workload on running back Derrick Henry. This is a big opportunity for Foles and maybe he will come through for the Eagles. The Patriots are led by Tom Brady. I don't expect Jacksonville to win, but even if it does, the Steelers have a chance to cover.

The usual suspects are present, as teams such as the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers are back in a familiar position in the playoffs. Patriots win 31-20. This weekend they'll each face quarterbacks who are brand new to playing in January. And last Sunday's 10-3 win by the Jacksonville Jaguars over the Buffalo Bills is tied for the third-lowest scoring postseason contest over that stretch. The Jaguars have the second-ranked defense in the league. Quarterback Blake Bortles was awful, throwing for just 87 yards, and missed easy passes that I myself probably could have completed.

I feel really good about three of these home teams in my teaser, with the Eagles being the lone wart. The Jaguars defense is bound to make some game changing plays, but it will not be enough.

The other matchup in the NFC may be the most compelling of the four.

"I would imagine your first time, your first experience playing in a playoff game is going to be a little bit more hard", Bortles told reporters Wednesday.

Given the way Philadelphia has played on offense in recent weeks (13 points in two games), its defense's margin for error may be small. The Vikings have a top ten offense in terms of points per game, and Keenum has one of the highest QBRs in the NFL.

Murray has also handled four of the Vikings' five carries inside the 5-yard line over the past four games, with all four of Murray's carries coming from the 1- or 2-yard line.

"The Falcons did a nice job on the road last week, I like what they showed".

Kamara punched it in from two yards out in the fourth quarter last week, but was also lined up in the backfield when fullback Zach Line vultured a 1-yard score in the second quarter. The defense has question marks, but this unit consistently makes critical plays.

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