NFL Playoff Predictions

Sports  /  by Jefferson Mott '18  /  January 12, 2018

Courtesy of CNN

Finally, the real football starts. It’s that time of year when champions are formed and contenders crumble underneath the pressure of the National Football League (NFL) divisional round. This weekend will feature four heavyweight matchups between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Atlanta Falcons, New England Patriots and the Tennessee Titans, Pittsburgh Steelers and Jacksonville Jaguars, and finally, the Minnesota Vikings and the New Orleans Saints. Here are your predictions for all four of these games and the rest of the 2018 NFL Playoffs.

Atlanta Falcons vs. Philadelphia Eagles

In Philadelphia, expect the No. 1 seed Philadelphia Eagles to run rampant at Lincoln Financial Field. Other than Atlanta’s superstar receiver Julio Jones, I don’t see much production coming from the Falcons given how well the Eagles’ defense has been playing all season. Nick Foles will be a big question mark for the Eagles, but the Falcons’ defense isn’t anything special, and against sub par opposition, Foles has been able to get hot early and play consistent, quality football. Winner: Eagles

Tennessee Titans vs. New England Patriots

Although Tennessee has shown a lot of heart, first making it to the playoffs and then pulling off the upset against the Kansas City Chiefs, it’s up against Tom Brady—enough said. Winner: Patriots

Jacksonville Jaguars vs Pittsburgh Steelers

Although the Steelers are clear favorites against the Jaguars, I think this game will be closer than expected. The Bills’ offense is not particularly strong, but the combination of Calais Campbell and Jalen Ramsey has transformed the Jaguars’ defense into the best in the NFL. Another close matchup will be against Steelers’ wide receiver Antonio Brown and Jags cornerback Jalen Ramsey. In the end, however, the Steelers are just too prolific on offense, and the Jaguars have struggled offensively with a weak receiving core. Winner: Steelers

New Orleans Saints vs Minnesota Vikings

This will be the game of the weekend: It’s the league’s best offense against one of the most high scoring defenses in NFL history. The Vikings have the most balanced team in the playoffs with a strong offense led by breakout quarterback Case Keenum and an extremely frightening defense with Xavier Rhodes and Harrison Smith. However, the Saints’ dual threat in the backfield of Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram does pose a threat to the Vikings’ front four, and Drew Brees hasn’t shown any sign of slowing down. Expect a dog fight and the Saints to pull off the upset in the land of ten thousand lakes. Winner: Saints