Round 2 of playoffs predictions

Posted: January 9, 2018 in Football, New entries, NFL

I went 2-2 last week with playoff predictions. I expected a motivated, experienced Falcons team to beat the Rams in L.A. which happened. I expected Kansas City to handle Tennessee, and witnessed an inexplicable Titans comeback. I expected Buffalo to handle Blake Bortles and they could not contain the Jaguars overwhelming offense (final score 10-3). I expected the Saints to edge the Panthers by a slim margin because of their defense (Saints won 31-26 at home).

Scrappy Atlanta visits the Philadelphia Eagles in a game they should be able to win with Nick Foles starting at Quarterback for Philly. The Falcons won a tough contest against the Panthers to secure themselves a playoff spot to close out the season. Their veteran  defense exposed an inexperienced Rams team last week in Los Angeles.

The New England Patriots host the Tennessee Titans. This matchup may end up a little closer than it looks on paper. The Titans aggressive ground game proved too tough for Kansas City to handle and Belichick’s squad will have to treat the Titans’ like every other playoff foe in order to avoid Kansas City’s fate. I expect New England to finish the game with a victory against a capable but inconsistent Titans team at Foxboro in the cold of January.

The Pittsburgh Steelers will host the Jacksonville Jaguars at Heinz Field. Like they did in October when Jacksonville smashed Pittsburgh 30-9. Pittsburgh is favored at home, even though they return the same roster that lost to Jacksonville earlier this season, sans stud linebacker Ryan Shazier. Pittsburgh’s a talented group but Ben can’t do anything to that defense. Bortles played awful during their last game and they still won thirty to nine. I expect a Jacksonville victory, even if Ben Roethlisberger doesn’t throw five interceptions.

In what should be the closest matchup of the week, Minnesota hosts a veteran Saints roster Sunday evening. Minnesota handed the Saints a loss in a week one home game for Minnesota. The Vikings week one QB and lead RB, Sam Bradford and Dalvin Cook, will not be playing in this contest. Bradford, who I typically think of as an under-performing passer, actually delivered a phenomenal performance against the Saints. Bradford finished with twenty-seven completions on thirty two attempts, 346 yards, and three passing touchdowns with no turnovers. That’s a ridiculous 10.8 yards per attempt, eighty-four percent completion, and 95.2 (out of 100) QBR. Cook himself accounted for 130+ yards of offense. Minnesota still fields an extremely stingy defense finishing number one in scoring for the regular season and Case Keenum’s been a revelation as a fill-in at QB. Ultimately the Vikings have a much more impressive schedule performance, beating strong teams week after week even with a backup QB and RB. I’m expecting the Vikings to win at home.

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