After a classic National Championship game on Monday, we turn our attention to the pros. Last week during the Wild Card round, my record was 2-2. With Travis Kelce getting injured, the Chiefs offense looked awful as they were upset by Tennessee. It seems like Atlanta has gotten hot at the right time as they trounced the Los Angeles Rams. The two late games I was able to get thing right as things went right with the Jacksonville game. For the most part, it was an ugly game, but the Jaguars finally scored as the defense shut down the Bills offense. In the final game, things went the way many thoughts between the Panthers and Saints. The division rivals met for the third time and the Saints left with the win again as they swept the Panthers this year. Let’s see who’ll advance to the conference championship games.
We start with one of the more talked about games of the weekend. The Atlanta Falcons head to Philadelphia to meet the top-ranked Eagles. Despite barely making the playoffs and being the 6th seed, Atlanta is the favorite coming into this game. Many was waiting for the Falcons to start averaging 30+ points a game, but the defense is what has gotten the attention of the league. Will this defense frustrate Nick Foles and get the Falcons one step closer to the Super Bowl? Ever since Carson Wentz went down, the Eagles offense has looked awful. Nick Foles isn’t the same QB he was in 2013 as teams are pressuring him into making bad throws. With one of the fastest defenses in the league coming into town, this is probably their worse match-up. If the Eagles are going to advance, the defense must help, and I don’t think it’ll be enough. Matt Bryant wins it on a last-second FG.
Atlanta Win 24-23
We head to the AFC for the night-cap to see who advances to the championship game. The Tennessee Titans head to Foxboro to face the New England Patriots. Tennessee pulled off the huge upset last week by beating Kansas City in Arrowhead. They done it without DeMarco Murray, who will be out for this game with his knee injury. The defense will have to pressure Tom Brady and Marcus Mariota will have to make plays with his legs to win. Once again, another Divisional Round and we have New England playing to advance to another conference championship. With their two weeks off, New England had their fair share of controversy following them. With the alleged rift between Belichick, Brady and Craft hurt this team against the Titans? With the Patriots having issues with mobile QBs, can they stop Mariota? I’m riding with the Patriots to advance to the conference title game.
New England Win 30-20
This is the first game on Sunday as the Jacksonville Jaguars meet the Pittsburgh Steelers. Jacksonville is coming off an incredible defensive performance against the Bills last week. The issue with the Jaguars has been the offense as they struggled mightily against the Bills. Jacksonville should have some confidence coming into the game as they blew out the Steelers on the road in Week 5. Can they put enough pressure on Big Ben to force turnovers? Pittsburgh will have All-Pro Antonio Brown back after suffering the calf injury about a month ago. The big issue with the Steelers have always been timing and this year is no different. LeVeon Bell has stated that he’ll sit out the 2018 season or retire if he doesn’t get compensated for his work. In the end, I don’t see a repeat performance by the Steelers from earlier in the season and think they win.
Pittsburgh Win 20-17
The final game of the weekend will take place in Minnesota. We have the NFC South Champion New Orleans Saints taking on the NFC North champs in the Minnesota Vikings. New Orleans opened the season with a 29-19 loss against this Vikings team. The Saints enter this game being 5th in passing and rushing, which is amazing. With New Orleans, the biggest difference this year has been the defense and how they get after their opponents. Can they avenge their loss from the opening week against the Vikings? Minnesota is the best defense I’ve seen this year in the NFC and this is from the eye test. Whether it’s the secondary or the pass rushers, they make the opponents offense look uncomfortable. Can they continue that and will Case Keenum continue to ball out? I’m going with the road team again in the NFC and have the Saints winning.
New Orleans Win 23-21
Are you ready for the Divisional Round? What game are you looking forward the most? What do you think about my picks? Who do you have advancing to the Conference Championship games? Leave a comment below.
AFC Conference Championship
Pittsburgh Steelers @ New England Patriots
NFC Conference Championship
Atlanta Falcons @ New Orleans Saints