By Jason Keidel
Wild card weekend was merely a preamble to this, probably the most scrumptious weekend of the NFL yr. Within the Divisional Spherical, the eight greatest groups play 4 video games over two days to unveil professional soccer’s remaining 4. We went 2-2 final weekend, which is unacceptable.
Let’s do higher, so as of video games performed.
Atlanta Falcons (eleven-6) @ Philadelphia Eagles (thirteen-three)
Saturday, January thirteen, 2018, four:35 pm ET
That is the primary time since 1975 that a convention’s prime seed is an underdog at house, with Vegas inserting the Falcons as a 3-level favourite. Everyone knows that’s as a result of Eagles beginning QB and MVP candidate Carson Wentz injured his knee in December. Nick Foles appeared nice when he first changed Wentz, then reminded us why he’s not a beginning QB within the NFL.
Contemplate this from NJ.com. Within the thirteen full video games Wentz began, the Eagles have been among the many greatest third-down groups within the NFL, with 50 % of Wentz’s accomplished passes leading to a primary down, second-greatest within the league. Beneath Wentz the Eagles have been the most effective in third-and-brief and third-and-lengthy. Since Foles assumed the helm, nevertheless, the Eagles are changing simply 23 % of the time on third down. Foles hasn’t accomplished a 3rd-down move that resulted in a primary-down because the third quarter in Week 15 towards the Giants.
Not solely that, the Eagles have misplaced 4-straight playoff video games, together with two in Philadelphia. And for those who’re hoping for some frigid, windy, and inhospitable climate to tilt the scales towards the house staff, it appears like they’ll play through the uncommon, January day round 50 levels. The Falcons certainly and formally overcame their Tremendous Bowl hangover once they whipped the Rams in Los Angeles final weekend.
The Eagles’ fourth-ranked protection is just too good to be whipped, however not too good to be beat. Particularly since they are going to be on the sector all day.
Prediction: Falcons win, 20-thirteen
MORE: Boomer Esiason On NFC Divisional Spherical Matchups
Tennessee Titans (10-7) @ New England Patriots (thirteen-three)
Saturday, January thirteen, 2018, eight:15 pm ET
The Patriots are an absurd 20-four at house within the playoffs, with the overwhelming majority of these wins coming underneath the blessed gridiron tandem of Invoice Belichick and Tom Brady. Since 1966, groups which might be favored by at the very least thirteen.5 factors — the Vegas quantity for this recreation — are 19-three general (not towards the unfold).
The Titans are an overachieving staff that made a miraculous comeback in Kansas Metropolis final weekend, crawling off the mat to nip the Chiefs, 22-21, a recreation they trailed 21-three at halftime. You possibly can say the Chiefs gagged, however don’t trivialize the toughness or temerity we noticed from Tennessee. It’s only a disgrace they should play this recreation subsequent.
Final week was the second time in NFL historical past that a beginning QB (Matt Ryan) was older than his opposing head coach (Sean McVay). Now we’ve got the widest chasm in age between beginning quarterbacks, with a sixteen-yr gulf between…