Monday, 16 July, 2018

FSU in the National Football League: 2017 schedule for Divisional Playoff Weekend

Tom Brady and the New England Patriots host the Tennessee Titans in NFL playoff action this weekend FSU in the National Football League: 2017 schedule for Divisional Playoff Weekend
Kristopher Love | 13 January, 2018, 08:58

Sunday: Jaguars vs. Steelers at 1:05 p.m. (alson on CBS) and Saints vs. Vikings at 4:40 p.m.

However, there could be other surprises. Their reward? Facing Tom Brady and the Patriots at home - well, it was nice while it lasted. They were outscored by 22 points during the regular season and needed a Week 17 win over Jacksonville to earn their first playoff berth in nine years. Those would all pose perhaps more interesting contests.

Now that I look at all four games, this is a "do not overthink it" weekend - Brady vs Mariota, Big Ben vs Borltes, Brees vs Keenum, Ryan vs Foles.

Unfortunately, injuries will be one of the major storylines heading into the divisional round. You can throw on them (although that may still be a challenge for Bortles) and also can run on them, as evidenced by four of their last five opponents gaining more than 100 yards on the ground.

New England is allowing 5.73 yards per play this season, worse than every team except the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Not only are the Vikings 7-1 at home this season, but Super Bowl LII will be played in Minnesota. Jacksonville has lost five of their last six road playoff games, though the one win came in Pittsburgh. And for good measure, the low total of 41 increases the relative value of each point. And while the Vikings are the NFL's top defense, the Saints have some unique offensive weapons to deploy this weekend. There's no doubt that Vikings fans will come out in full force for the biggest home game in almost a decade, especially knowing that with two more wins, the Vikings could be the first team in National Football League history to play the Super Bowl in its home stadium.

Eagles fans have good reason to be concerned about this game. And with this being a best bet, there's more to it than that.

That is perhaps the greatest illustration of the lack of faith in Wentz's replacement Nick Foles as he leads the Eagles into a matchup with an Atlanta Falcons team that produced an excellent defensive effort to knock off the Los Angeles Rams in their Wild Card matchup. The rest of his team will just need to be on its A game. With last season's offense largely intact, the Falcons have regressed sharply from 6.7 yards per play under Kyle Shanahan to 5.8 under Sarkisian. I think there's still a way for them to win this game and it has more to do with Atlanta than it does Philadelphia. Therefore its safe to take almost two touchdowns and New Orleans.

Teams also practiced at home during Super Bowl week, which the National Football League allowed at the time. Yes, Ryan and the Falcons have looked impressive the last two weeks. Everybody knows this is not the same team without MVP candidate Carson Wentz under center, and it has shown.

This game is an anomaly as it's the first time ever that a #6 seed is favored over a #1 seed. A near flawless game plan in Los Angeles kept the high powered Rams offense off the field - they limited running back Todd Gurley to just 18 touches and dominated the time of possession by over 15 minutes! However, Philadelphia is a home underdog here against the spastic and inconsistent Atlanta Falcons. But its run defense will get a test from Henry and Mariota, who in the last two games has given a needy offense a big boost with his ability to create plays with his feet. Foles does not have the accuracy, mobility, or the wow factor that Wentz possesses. For reference, 10 points is on the high end of the gap Las Vegas pegged between Aaron Rodgers and Brett Hundley when Rodgers broke his collarbone earlier this season. That seems to be the case Saturday in Philadelphia, which makes it time to strike.