Brads NFL Picks – The Divisional Playoff Games – 2017-2018
Brads Picks was 2-2 last week. Here’s the good and bad from that:
Jacksonville 10, Bills 3 – Poor QB play on both sides, at least in the passing game. But Jags QB Blake Bortles made up for it with some nifty scrambling. He had several long runs that kept drives alive. The lone TD of the game was a pass from Bortles to backup TE Ben Koyack on 4th and one at the goal line in the third quarter. Bortles had 88 rush yards to just 87 passing yards.
New Orleans 31, Panthers 26 – Saints 24, Panthers 12 at the end of the third. Then the Panthers got a TD; then the Saints got a TD; then the Panthers got a TD. Panthers made a try at the end for a game winning TD but the Saints D came up big.
Titans 22, Kansas City 21 – KC led 21-3 with 7 minutes left in the third. But then the Chiefs did what needed to be done to lose their 6th playoff game in a row at Arrowhead.
First, Titans QB Marcus Mariota threw a 6 yard TD pass to himself. Then RB Derrick Henry shot past the line of scrimmage and went 35 yards for a TD. Then Mariota threw a 22 yard TD pass to Eric Decker (after scrambling 17 yards for a first down).
Falcons 26, Los Angeles Rams 13 – Falcons showed they are an experienced playoff team; Rams are new to the dance. Rams had been the league’s highest scoring team this season but the Falcons defense did a great job. Two fumbles by the Rams kick return guy didn’t help.
This weeks games:
the Saturday 2:35 MST game:
Atlanta (11-6) at Philadelphia (13-3) – Las Vegas says the Falcons will win by 3.
Weather will be in the low 30s with clear skies, but windy with gusts up to 40 mph.
The Eagles lost starting QB Carson Wentz after 12 games. Backup Nick Foles hasn’t been great but the Eagles are 3-1 with him at QB. That’s because they have a very good team, especially on defense.
Falcons have a good defense also. In the last two games, both must-win situations, the Falcons held the Panthers and Rams to a total of 23 points, with just two TDs (they’ve allowed just 16.3 points per game the last six games).
I like Atlanta’s RBs Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman to wear down the Eagle’s D line.
Falcons really want to get back to the Super Bowl and I think they can take another step in that direction. They may be the most focused team in this postseason.
the Saturday 6:15 MST game:
Tennessee (10-7) at New England (13-3) – Las Vegas says the Cheatriots will win by 13.5.
Temp will be in the low 20s by game time, with clear skies. But windy, with gusts up to 50 mph.
So, you’ve written the Titans off? Like most people? But consider a few things:
1) The possible rift between owner Robert Kraft, HC Bill Belichick and QB Tom The Cheater Brady. Story goes that Brady was feeling threatened by young QB Jimmy Garoppolo and wanted him gone (or dead). Brady went to Kraft who told Belichick to trade him. Belichick didn’t want to but obeyed and traded the kid to the Forty Niners where Garoppolo finished the season playing lights out. What message does that send to the younger players on the team?
2) Has 40 year old Brady hit the Age Wall? Aging QBs often play poorly late in the season and Brady in December had 6 TDs, 5 INTs and a QB rating of just 81.6. (Brady threw 6 INTs in five games after throwing just two in the first ten games.)
3) Titans have a good pass rush, which Brady hates.
4) With all the wind, the advantage goes to the better running team. Titans have a great O line and Derrick Henry is both powerful and fast.
5) Can Marcus Mariota have another inspired game?
If you want to place a bet here, take the Titans and the 13.5 points. But I think the Titans will win the game outright.
the Sunday 11:05 game:
Jacksonville (11-6) at Pittsburgh (13-3) – Vegas says the Steelers will win by 7.
Temp will be in the teens with clear skies and light, variable winds.
Jags won 30-9 in Pittsburgh in Week 5, intercepting Ben the R five times, and running two of those back for TDs. Steelers led the game 9-7 in the middle of the third. Then the pick sixes, and more INTs by Ben the R and then a 90 yard TD run by Leonard Fournette to seal the deal.
But that was a Week 5 game – this is the playoffs. Steelers are rested and have their great WR Antonio Brown back after missing the last three games. And I just can’t put much trust in Jags QB Blake Bortles, who had a decent season but slumped the last few games.
the Sunday 2:45 game:
New Orleans (12-5) at Minnesota (13-3) – Vegas says the Vikings will win by 5.
Vikings beat the Saints 29-19 in the season opener, a Monday night game at Minnesota. Sam Bradford was the Vikings QB then, but he got hurt and veteran journeyman Case Keenum took over. Keenum has played great ever since.
Saints had former Vikings RB Adrian Peterson in that game, but then shipped him off to Arizona. Since then, the Saints RB duo of Mark Ingram and rookie Alvin Kamara has been sensational. They’ve faded the last few games, but that’s because the oppo has focused on stopping them. Which opens the door for Drew Brees to pass you silly.
Saints defense started the year as one of the league’s worst but then blossomed into one of the best.
Vikings have a terrific defense also, but you gotta go with the Saints here. Drew Brees has been very hot lately and is starting his 13th postseason game. Case Keenum is starting his first. This might be the best game of the weekend.