Philadelphia is being given little chance with Nick Foles at quarterback, and the players know that. A touchdown thrown by Marcus Mariota to Eric Decker late in the fourth quarter sealed the Tennessee victory. Including the playoffs, Jacksonville is allowing a league-low 68.5 passer rating with a defensive front that sacks the quarterback on 9.1 percent of pass attempts after adjusting for down, distance and opponent, the second-best mark in the NFL this season. This, in turn, will place the workload on running back Derrick Henry.
The Titans are going to Foxboro and eventhough I believe there are underlying issues in New England those issues would have to be Tom Brady being abducted for me to believe the Titans have any hope in this one. Home field advantage is very important during the National Football League playoffs but it is not uncommon for a team home team to lose off a first-round bye. If the Steelers can contain Fournette, it's unlikely struggling Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles will be able to outduel Roethlisberger, who will have All-Pro receiver Antonio Brown back from injury. The Jaguars quarterback finished with just 87 passing yards and avoided being a total dud by rumbling his way to 88 rushing yards. I do not trust Blake "The King" Bortles more than anyone else, but the Jaguars' ferocious and opportunistic defense will create a touchdown for themselves, giving them just enough to pull off the road victory. The Steelers had arguably the most explosive offense in the National Football League, even without top wide receiver Antonio Brown, who will return from his calf injury this week.
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As has been the case with Steelers teams over the last few seasons, this team goes as the offense goes. The Jaguars have a young, hungry, and extremely talented defense, but their offense is bad.
I just don't see it happening. I think Atlanta could be that team this year. They beat the Rams by 13, covering the spread by nearly 20 points in the process, so what's the harm in upgrading them and making this line Falcons -3? Don't sleep on Matt Ryan and his bunch.
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Philadelphia is No. 1 against the run, is at home and has had an extra week of rest. The No. 1-seeded Eagles are the underdog at home against the sixth-seeded Falcons. "Keep heading to the Super Bowl so we can win that". The Eagles, on the other hand, are on a steep decline. Trailing Kansas City 21-3 at half-time, in a fired up Arrowhead stadium, not only did they rattle off 19 unanswered points but they shut out the Chiefs in the second half to book a trip to New England. With Carson Wentz it would be a different story. Foles is a solid backup, but so far he has had trouble integrating himself into the offense that was so successful with Wentz. Yes, Ryan and the Falcons have looked impressive the last two weeks. The Eagles lost star quarterback Carson Wentz to a season-ending Week 14 ACL injury and that has dramatically changed oddsmakers' view of them. Expect Atlanta to return to the NFC Championship for the second-straight year with a 20-10 win.
Normally I wouldn't pick against the Vikings at home, but this Saints team is going to go all the way. We are now in that season as the Wild Card games are scheduled to be played later today (1/6/18). However, the Vikings stand in the way, and won't be an easy task, especially in Minnesota.
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Drew Brees and the Saints running game are headed to Minnesota to try and upset the Vikings. I have a lot of faith in the Vikings defense with Harrison Smith, Xavier Rhodes, Anthony Barr, Everson Griffin, Linvall Joseph and Danielle Hunter, but that Saints defense is also quite deadly.