Eight teams remain in the NFL right now and four games this weekend will determine who advances to the championship round. There are some interesting tilts coming our way and I am going to pick the winner of all of them. Let’s get into it!
Saturday, January 13th, 4:35 e.t.
#6 Atlanta Falcons (11-6) @ #1 Philadelphia Eagles (13-3)
It is not very often that the #6 seed is favored to win a playoff game, let alone over the #1 seed, but alas here we are. The Eagles have struggled on offense lately although their defense has been great. They will need to ride that in order to pull off the upset. The Falcons have a good defense in their own right and have been using it to smother teams down the stretch. I feel that Nick Foles will play much better in this game as the weather is not supposed to be bitterly cold. Also, Matt Ryan struggles in Philly. I say the Eagles live to play another week.
Philadelphia 21, Atlanta 16
Saturday, January 13th, 8:15 e.t.
#5 Tennessee Titans (10-7) @ #1 New England Patriots (13-3)
Nobody saw the Titans beating the Chiefs a week ago, but they were able to do so and that lied squarely on the shoulders of Marcus Mariota and the no-huddle attack from Tennessee and then Derrick Henry being able to close the game out. They will likely need a miracle to pull off an upset in Foxboro though. Tom Brady has not played exceptionally well down the stretch of the season, but his track record speaks for itself and I have full confidence that he will kick things into gear here in the post-season. Barring a complete and utter collapse that would include a few turnovers, I don’t see the Patriots losing this game.
New England 37, Tennessee 17
Sunday, January 14th, 1:05 e.t.
#3 Jacksonville Jaguars (11-6) @ #2 Pittsburgh Steelers (13-3)
The Jaguars dominated the game last week on defense and they will have to bring that same effort and intensity if they want to stand a chance on the road against the Steelers. Everybody is going to look back to the Week 5 30-9 bomb that the Jags dropped in Pittsburgh but that was a while ago. The Steelers have found a rhythm on offense and they will get Antonio Brown back at 100% for this contest. I think that Jacksonville will make things tough in the early going, but eventually Ben Roethlisberger and company will get things going and make it to the championship game for the rematch with New England that we all thought we’d see.
Pittsburgh 24, Jacksonville 9
Sunday, January 14th, 4:40 e.t.
#4 New Orleans Saints (12-5) @ #2 Minnesota Vikings (13-3)
This should be the best game of the week. The Vikings will be playing at home which is going to favor them considerably but the one thing that I am not sure about is how their players, many of whom are inexperienced in the playoffs, will do coming off of a BYE versus a dangerous Saint team. New Orleans was shut down on the ground last week but Drew Brees was able to make plays through the air to lead his team to the victory. If the Vikes shut down Kamara and Ingram again, I do not like their chances here. That said, I do think that the Saints will be able to cook up some things to surprise the Vikes that they will not be able to stop. This one should be close throughout but in the end I trust Drew Brees over Case Keenum any day.
New Orleans 26, Minnesota 23