After a long week without football, we’re finally back in action! We’ve got a double-header of 1 seeds facing off with two teams that have really come along during the closing weeks of the regular season.
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Atlanta Falcons:
Boy, things can really change in just a few short weeks. Before the season ending injury of MVP candidate Carson Wentz the Eagles were Super Bowl favorites with the number 1 offense on their way to a league best record. Now they’re a completely different team with Nick Foles at the helm. To make a deep post season run they must now become a run first team.
Luckily they employ running back Jay Ajayi who has had recent success against Atlanta, gashing them for 130 yards when he was still a member of the Miami Dolphins. He should be fully healthy after being rested for the past two weeks. For the Eagles to have any change of winning this game they must establish the run early and often with Jay and Blount to take pressure off of Foles. Look for them to be heavily involved in the game plan, and for some awesome “Jays and Blounts” jokes on twitter.
The Falcons are looking to rewrite their playoff luck after completely shitting the bed in last season’s Super Bowl. Their key to winning this game is getting into a rhythm in the passing game, as the Eagles have the league’s number one rushing defense, mostly due to their defensive line which is as deep and talented as any in the league. The Falcons offensive line will have their hand’s full keeping Matt Ryan clean in the pocket. If they’re able to do so they’ll more than likely find favorable match-ups on the outside with Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu.
The Eagle’s secondary had a strong start to the season but have recently come crashing back down to Earth. Both Jalen Mills and Ronald Darby have been recently roasted on double moves. This fairs pretty well for Atlanta seeing as how Julio Jones is one of the biggest mismatches in all of football. Look for Jones to have a big game as I don’t think the Eagles have a corner that matches up well with his blend of size and physicality.
I’m expecting a lower scoring game than most based off of the weather which should drop into the 20’s. I’m going to take the Eagles here, the media has disrespected them for weeks now. Even to the point of being home underdogs as the NFC’s number 1 seed. I expect Doug Pederson to have played the “us against the world” card and have them ready to play. I say 20-17 and the home crowd keeps the Linc rocking.
I texted him at 4 am this morning to ask what his pick was, there must be something in the water because he replied Eagles 20-17
New England Patriots vs. Tennessee Titans:
FUCK. I would really hate to be the Titans right now. Let’s be clear, I’m not a Tennessee hater. I like Marcus Mariota, and I LOVE watching Derrick Henry run the football. But they don’t even belong in the playoffs, and for them to be playing the Patriots at home after a BYE is cruel and unusual punishment.
On any normal day they don’t match up well, the Titans were ranked 25th against the pass during the regular season. Guess what the Patriots want to do? Yeah. Pass the fucking ball. According the PFF no team was worse than the Titans at covering opposing running backs coming out of the backfield in the passing game. The Patriots own one of the best pass catching backs in the league in Dion Lewis. Throw in Brandin Cooks stretching the field and Gronk basically having whatever he wants, it doesn’t look good for Tennessee.
Bill Belichick isn’t going to allow a second half implosion like Andy Reid, and I don’t think Mike Mularkey has the ability to match him in the first half. Nobody game plans quite as well as Belichick who is truly a master at putting his players in the position to make plays. Mularkey on the other hand runs an offense more suitable for TJ Yates than Mariota.
Unfortunately this won’t be a regular game to the Patriots, they’re pissed off. It seems like every year some type of drama happens that fuels a deep New England Super Bowl run, this year won’t be any different. A few weeks ago an article was published covering what was said to be a complete meltdown in Foxboro between Brady, Belichick, and Robert Kraft mainly caused over not seeing eye to eye over Jimmy Garroppolo and Brady’s trainer Alex Guerrero. They’ve all denied it and you can be sure this is going to be something that causes them to come out and send a message to the world.
I don’t expect a very competitive game, Mariota will be asked to do too much due to their offensive scheme and he’ll fall short. Sorry Titans fans, he’s not going to throw another TD to himself. I’m going New England 38-20 with them coasting thru the second half with a comfortable lead. Look for Brady to be extra sharp due to Guerrero having the entire BYE week to work on pliability (whatever the fuck that means) and fill him up with avocado ice cream.
New England 34-17