NFL Divisional Round predictions
With the Divisional Round around the corner, it is time to preview this weekend's match-ups and predict their outcome!
The Divisional Round is upon us and it is time to take a look at which teams are primed to move on to the Championship Round. After some surprising results on Wild Card Weekend, most notably the Titans' stunning comeback to upset the Chiefs, nobody appears to be safe in what could be one of the most exciting playoff pictures to date.
#1 Atlanta Falcons @ Philadelphia Eagles
The Falcons came to play in their impressive 26-13 road victory over a Rams team that was considered to be a dark horse on the road to the Super Bowl. While Julio Jones slowly started to hit his stride, gaining 94 yards on 9 receptions and a touchdown, it was the defence and special teams that came up huge for them.
The sixth seed took advantage of the Rams' special teams that inflicted damage on themselves by fluffing a punt recovery and fumbling during a kick-off return in the first half, plays that set up 10 of the Falcons' 13 first-half points. It was only in the second half that the offence started to show up, despite there being a lack of threat in the red zone (highlighted by Matt Bryant's nine(!) field goals in the last two games).
The Eagles, on the other hand, have been thrown a much-needed lifeline. Welcoming Atlanta to Lincoln Financial Field this Saturday seems to be a far more promising prospect than facing the Rams. Their defence will fancy their chances against a struggling offence that can't consistently come up with the necessary plays to move the sticks the way they did last year.
Of course, the Falcons' defence had a strong showing last weekend and will provide a tough task for Doug Peterson's team to overcome, but their pass rush is not as ferocious as that of the eliminated third seed. This will allow Nick Foles more time to make the right decisions in what could turn out to be a nail-biter.
Prediction: Falcons win 24-21