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2018 NFL Divisional Round Preview

After an entertaining NFL wildcard weekend filled with so much emotion in last play situations, the divisional round matchups are set. The top teams are facing underdog opponents that look to make a statement in this year’s playoffs.

In the NFC, Atlanta Falcons hoping to beat the Philadelphia Eagles and advance to the NFC championship. New Orleans Saints are looking at the competition and say “why not?” on achieving success by possibly beating the Minnesota Vikings, giving them an inch closer to another Super Bowl appearance.

In the AFC, it really comes down between the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers, unless these new young teams make noise. Maybe the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans have something to prove on being top teams in the AFC for the next 10 years, but there still a lot of interesting things that most fans need to see from these matchups.

Check out our preview of the divisional round below:

Atlanta Falcons vs Philadelphia Eagles

The peaking Falcons come into this matchup as 2.5 favorites over the Eagles. This is a first time matchup between these two teams and one has playoff experience, the other not so much. Matt Ryan and the high power offense put 26 points on an elite LA Rams defense. Going on the road is gonna be tough in Philadelphia, knowing the weather conditions could affect their game. But they learned from the Super Bowl on actually running the ball more, which could determine the winner of this game.

The Eagles are gonna be led not by their backup quarterback Nick Foles, but there defense and running game. They have home field advantage throughout the NFC. They have a great coach who will put them in good situations even against elite teams. Foles will make some plays and move the sticks into field goals or touchdown opportunities. But it won’t be enough to overcome what the Falcons represent: toughness. They find a way to close the deal in the fourth quarter and get to the NFC championship

Falcons 28 Eagles 21 

Tennessee Titans vs New England Patriots

If anyone thought the Titans would advance out of the wild card to face the Patriots in the dictional round, they probably didn’t the spread. Patriots are 13.5 favorites over the Titans. Although the Titans had an up and down season, they still have a young quarterback in Marcus Mariota, who is making explosive plays and controlling the pace. They can rush against anyone with Derrick Henry and will use that against a weak Patriots’ run defense.

However, beating a hungry and upset Patriots team in Foxborough is a tough task. After hearing reports of their possible dynasty coming to an end, they will prove everyone wrong. Tom Brady at 40 years old will pick-a-part a weak Titans secondary. Bill Belichick will do his creative defensive schemes against a solid Titans offense and it will most likely end by two touchdowns. The Patriots are destined to be in the AFC championship, waiting for their next opponent before another trip to the Super Bowl.

Titans 14 Patriots 28

Jacksonville Jaguars vs Pittsburgh Steelers

A rematch between two AFC opponents now happens in the postseason. Steelers are favored by 7.5 over the Jaguars. Everyone remembers Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger throwing five interceptions against a tough defense. He looked like a mediocre QB and was even doubting himself on playing for the team. But now the Steelers are healthy and have a chance at redemption with their high power offense, and solid defense allowing less than 20 points a game.

For the Jaguars, they got lucky that the Buffalo Bills looks horrendous on offense to make themselves look decent. A grind out performance is the only chance they have in beating the Steelers. The Jaguars can’t rely on Blake Bortles to make plays and win the game. There only hope is playing unbelievable defense, and yet that won’t be enough. Steelers are motivated to make a statement against this team and face the Patriots in the AFC Championship.

Jaguars 10 Steelers 28

New Orleans Saints vs Minnesota Vikings

Rematch of week one between these two NFC teams. Vikings are favored by 4 over the Saints. New Orleans put up 31 points on an aggressive Carolina Panthers team. They won by five point and survived into the next round. Now Drew Brees leads this elite offense into Minnesota, knowing it’s a different animal on the road. He gonna have his defense as well, which is playing great in spurts. But even with that and a strong running game, it comes down to what the 38-year-old has left in clutch situations.

On the other hand, Vikings look to the first team in postseason history to play in the Super Bowl on their home turf. No one could have believed that a backup quarterback in Case Keenum would have his best season under coach Mike Zimmer. He bounced around different teams until Minnesota gave him an opportunity. Their running game and defense will be enough in beating a good Saints team. As long as they control the pace and tempo of the game, expect them to be in the NFC Championship.

Saints 17 Vikings 24

The author: RaymondM

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