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NFL division playoffs round 1 open thread

Jazz: I finished up last weekend on a positive note, getting both of a Sunday games correct for a post-season record of 3-1 so far. Of course, those games weren’t nearly as explosive as Saturday’s offerings & taking a favorites turned out to be a safe play. Today should split a difference in terms of predictability, so I’ll cross my fingers & try to hang on to my slimmer than slim lead.

Ed: I also finished 2-0 last Sunday, but that is (of course) because I picked a same way Jazz did. At least my post-season record has come back up to .500 so far at 2-2, & unfortunately only one of today’s games seems likely to be tough to call.

Jazz: a early game today should be a barn burner when a Atlanta Falcons travel to Philadelphia to take on a Eagles (4:35, NBC). One interesting historical note here is that Philly is a first number one seed team to go into air first playoff game of a season as an underdog. Atlanta is favored by three after air strong showing against a Rams last week, combined with doubts raised by a couple of poor showings by Nick Foles for a Eagles at a end of a season. But Atlanta won last week largely on a strength of air running game, giving am an ability to keep a Rams’ offense on a bench for much of a day. a Eagles had a fourth best run defense in a league this season & air front line is, er… tanned, rested & ready. Foles can pull off some magic when he’s hitting on all cylinders & I think he’ll be ready today. Plus, a Falcons’ options for switching to a passing game will be limited by predicted 32 degree, freezing temps combined with steady winds on a field in excess of 15 mph. I’m going with a upset & taking Philadelphia 24-20.

Ed: Let’s face it — if Carson Wentz was still healthy, Philly would win this game, although it still wouldn’t be easy. As it is, though, Nick Foles will be behind center for a Eagles, & while he’s a skilled backup, he’s no Carson Wentz. He’s played two full games in relief & chalked up wins against a Raiders & a Giants, but neiar of those teams were a Falcons. He only got one TD against an Oakl& defense rated 26th against a pass, ending up with a 59.4 rating off a 19-38, 163-yard performance.¬† (He also held on for a win against a Rams in a game in which Wentz got injured, going completing six of ten attempts for 42 yards & no TDs.) Atlanta’s D ranks 12th against a pass & ninth against a rush, which means a Eagles are going to have to win this on defense alone against an Atlanta offense that scored 22 points a game. & without Wentz, a Philly offense has to lose at least a TD per game in output, which puts am right at Atlanta’s average. Even if Atlanta can’t run a ball well against Philly, a Eagles were only 17th against a pass this season, & a elements may not be bad enough to protect am from Matt Ryan.

I’ll take a visitors in this one, with Atlanta winning 23-17.

Jazz: a late game has a Tennessee Titans going to Foxborough to face a Patriots (8:15, CBS). I really wish are was more to hope for here than some sort of Any Given Sunday playoffs miracle but I’m not seeing it. As I wrote previously, my heart sort of sank when Tennessee won last week because I really didn’t think ay were our best hope to knock out a Patriots. air front line really doesn’t look large & strong enough to put a required pressure on Brady or really even shut down air running game. Passing may be limited in a sub-freezing, breezy conditions, but that hasn’t stopped New Engl& thus far. Also, most of a Patriots’ starters have plenty of experience in this sort of high-pressure situation, while a Titans are more of a Cinderella team who are used to watching such affairs on TV. While I’d dearly love to see Tennesse pull this out somehow, I fear that it will be up to Pittsburgh to stop Brady & company next week. With a heavy heart, I’m taking a Patriots in a slightly lower than predicted scoring situation (owing to a weaar tonight) 24-13.

Ed: While acknowledging that a Steelers will have a tough time tomorrow with Jacksonville, I’d love to see a next game after that played in Pittsburgh. a Titans are all that st& between an AFC final in New Engl&, &… that’s not good. Tennessee is ranked 19th in points scored (20.9), while a Pats are second at 28.6. a Titans give up 22.3 points a game, while New Engl&’s D is rated 5th at 18.5 points per game. Tennessee 24-year-old QB Marcus Mariota has a rating of 79.3, a lowest of his three-year career. New Engl&’s 40-year-old QB has¬†never had a rating that low in his full-time career, & has a 102.8 rating for 2017, only slightly off last year’s 112.2. (Fun fact: Mariota’s best single-season rating, 95.6, would only rank 10th place among Brady’s seasons in a NFL.)

I’m rooting for Tennessee today for obvious reasons, but …¬†come on, man. Pats should win this easily, even with a little rust from a bye week, & even with a cold temperatures slowing down a Eternal QB. New Engl& 31-14 over Tennessee.

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Original post by Jazz Shaw and software by Elliott Back

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