With Wild Card weekend in the rear-view mirror, we’re down to eight teams competing for a shot at Super Bowl LII.
After going 2-for-4 in Wild Card predictions, it only makes sense for me to update my picks now that the divisional matchups are set. The divisional round begins Saturday at 4:35pm EST with the Falcons visiting the Eagles, and Saturday night’s game features the Titans taking on the Patriots in Foxboro.
Sunday’s slate starts with the Jaguars vs the Steelers at 1:05pm EST, and the divisional round is capped off by Saints-Vikings at 4:40pm ET.
Without further ado, here’s who to take if you’re putting some money down on this weekend’s games. . .
Alanta Falcons (-3) at Philadelphia Eagles
Without Wentz, the Eagles are flat-out being disrespected at home. As they should be.
The Falcons are finally looking like the kind of team they were a season ago when they rode a hot offense all the way into the Super Bowl (of course, we all know what happened after that). The point is, a Nick Foles-led Philly team is the underdog at home for a reason.
It’s unfortunate, because Wentz leading the Eagles to the Super Bowl is what I wanted to see all season long. There’s always next year. . .
Tennessee Titans at New England Patriots (-13.5)
As Sports Betting Dime notes, the Patriots are currently 2/1 favorites to win Super Bowl LII. The Titans are 49/1 underdogs. Quite a discrepancy there.
I cannot fathom a scenario in which the Titans make this a game. The Patriots went 11-5 against the spread this season, so -13.5 against a Titans team that probably shouldn’t even be in the playoffs is the definition of a steal.
Plus, Tom Brady and Co. have all the motivation in the world right now thanks to that ESPN hit piece. This isn’t going to be pretty.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Pittsburgh Steelers (-7.5)
I said it in my initial playoff predictions and I’ll say it again, I like the Jaguars to win outright.
Jacksonville crushed Pittsburgh 30-9 in their early-season meeting, and while a lot has changed over the course of the season I still think the Jags defense will show exactly why it’s been considered elite all year long. Plus, Antonio Brown likely won’t be at 100-percent. In my brain this just has upset written all over it.
New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings (-4.5)
In my aforementioned playoff predictions I had the Saints winning this matchup outright, and I’m not changing my tune here.
Look, I get it, Minnesota’s defense is as stingy as they come and Case Keenum has evolved into a legit quarterback. I’m just not a believer in the Vikings vs a dynamic Saints offense and a defense that has improved a TON since last year.
The Vikings advancing would be a great story, but I fully expect Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara to bounce back after a disappointing Wild Card weekend for the running game. They won’t struggle two weeks in a row. And on the defensive side of the ball, I see rookie Marshon Lattimore making it a long day for Keenum.