Patriots heavily favored, Titans vow fight in divisional playoff


The Vikings have had a great 13-win season behind their defense and the surprise play of Case Keenum. "But at the end of the day, experience or no experience, you've got to execute".

First of all, I'm very glad to be writing for the National Football League column again, as I have enjoyed writing these throughout the season and I'm truly excited to be bringing them to you in the playoffs.

Throughout the regular season, the New England Patriots defense was a liability and allowed some surprising teams to hang around.

Just as interesting is how little confidence Vegas and bettors have on the overall #1 seed in the NFC.

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I did not see that performance coming from the Tennessee Titans against the Kansas City Chiefs.

For most organizations in sports, a story like the ESPN one published last week could potentially derail the team and disrupt the normal day-to-day operations.

- New England are 9-1 at home in the playoffs since the 2011 season. He completed 12 of 23 passes for 87 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions and actually was more productive on the ground (10 carries for 88 yards) than he was through the air. Not only are the Vikings 7-1 at home this season, but Super Bowl LII will be played in Minnesota.

Something's gotta give, and if it's any indication DVOA's #1 defense has only been an underdog of a touchdown or more twice in this decade. With the match up against the Patriots defense, it's possible Henry could have another good week. And for good measure, the low total of 41 increases the relative value of each point.

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It has been a rough road for the old Levackster this season but like the light at the end of every tunnel and the calm after every storm things will get better! There's no doubt that Vikings fans will come out in full force for the biggest home game in almost a decade, especially knowing that with two more wins, the Vikings could be the first team in National Football League history to play the Super Bowl in its home stadium.

Now the question becomes whether I trust in Nick Foles. And with this being a best bet, there's more to it than that.

(6) Atlanta Falcons 20 (1) Philadelphia Eagles 21: The Falcons were ready to play last week against the Rams and the Rams weren't ready to play. Bill Belichick won't tolerate anything less than laser focus, but it's fair to say teams with vacancies could be watching closely to see how both McDaniels and Patricia handle themselves against the Titans. The Vikings have a great defense with a well managed offense. While that worked just well enough in the playoff opener, the Pittsburgh Steelers will represent a sterner test in more ways than one. Meanwhile, Schwartz has taken a defense that ranked below average the year before he arrived according to DVOA and elevated it into a top-5 defense in each of his first two seasons in Philadelphia. The Falcons are the first ever six seed to be favored over a one seed.

"Since losing in early December (to the Minnesota Vikings), they are 4-1 including last weekend's Wild Card win". A near flawless game plan in Los Angeles kept the high powered Rams offense off the field - they limited running back Todd Gurley to just 18 touches and dominated the time of possession by over 15 minutes! In the past three weeks, Atlanta's defense hasallowed third-down conversions less than 31 percent of the time, a touchdownin the red-zone only 25 percent of the time andfirst downs on less than 27 percent of plays. This game boiled down to the Bills offense being more mistake prone than the Jaguars, as the Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles looked absolutely terrified to throw the ball.

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