First of all, I'm very glad to be writing for the National Football League column again, as I have enjoyed writing these throughout the season and I'm truly excited to be bringing them to you in the playoffs.
Two points are awarded for each correct pick our predictors make, with them subsequently earning bonus multiplier points for correct predictions made in respect of subsequent rounds. A touchdown thrown by Marcus Mariota to Eric Decker late in the fourth quarter sealed the Tennessee victory.
"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. Mariota, while good enough to defeat the Chiefs, won't be able to get by the Patriots' pass defense. Will the Patriots get to the AFC title game for the millionth time? This, in turn, will place the workload on running back Derrick Henry. New Orleans was stifled in the season opener by Minnesota, a game that, like this one, was in Minneapolis. An angry Brady is generally a good Brady and the Titans may feel his wrath on Saturday. He didn't have the best finish to the regular season, but with a week of rest, he will be far too much for the Titans to handle. They are quite possibly one of the worst teams we have seen in the last decade to make it into the playoffs. Quarterback Blake Bortles was bad, throwing for just 87 yards, and missed easy passes that I myself probably could have completed. That pass rush is as ferocious as ever, the linebackers can run with Atlanta's backs and the secondary ... well, the secondary is concerning.
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And when Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is under pressure, he is much less effective. It looks like they are playing their best ball at the right time.
The Pittsburgh defense has lost a leader in Ryan Shazier, but they won't have to be spectacular in order to stop the Jags. Upsets happen but this one to me, this is a "lock" type of game. I think Atlanta could be that team this year. They took care of business in Los Angeles and are favoured to beat the Eagles in Philadelphia. Don't sleep on Matt Ryan and his bunch. Early this season, the offense was in an incredible rut and there was concern after the Week 5 matchup as to just how competitive this team could be with an average offense. Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Eagles were resting, getting ready for their home game this week. I don't trust the Nick-Foles-led Eagles any more than the next bettor. Who will keep their Super Bowl aspirations alive and continue to the conference championships?
Minnesota is projected for the second-most points this weekend, but Case Keenum is priced as the QB4, making him 4for4's top quarterback value of the week. Foles does not have the accuracy, mobility, or the wow factor that Wentz possesses. I don't like the Falcons. This team plays with a unique swagger that reminds me of a young Seattle Seahawks team, and against the Carolina Panthers they showed why their offense is so unsafe. The Saints have won three of their last four meetings against the Vikings. Here is a look at the schedule for games during the Wild Card weekend of the 2017 National Football League season and where you can catch the action at home. That's fine, the Saints will just put the game in the hands of their 11-time Pro Bowl and Super Bowl MVP quarterback. The matchup between Minnesota and New Orleans will pit strength against strength as the Saints' vaunted offense takes on the Vikings' stingy defense. Minnesota has the NFL's No.1 ranked defense and an offense that's 10th in points scored, while New Orleans has the No.2 offense with a defense that's 10th in points allowed. Brees has an accurate arm and solid receivers at his side, but that might not be enough to crack the Vikings defense. 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.
A lot went into this game and the Falcons looked great in several specific categories, but they were all vibrantly apparent for the same reason: The Falcons were clearly the playoff weathered team.
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