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NFL divisional playoffs: Previews, predictions, TV info for each game

By in Press Enterprise on January 12, 2018

By Ryan Kartje

LAST WEEK AGAINST THE SPREAD: 1-3

PLAYOFF RECORD: 1-3

ATLANTA AT PHILADELPHIA

Kickoff: 1:35 p.m., Saturday

TV: KNBC, Ch. 4

Outlook: For the first time ever, a No. 1 seed in the playoffs is a home underdog to a No. 6 seed, but to assume the Eagles are totally doomed without Carson Wentz at quarterback may be selling the rest of their team short. Philadelphia still boasts one of the league’s best defenses, and with a cadre of weapons on offense, it’s not unreasonable to think that Nick Foles could outperform his incredibly low expectations. That said, the Falcons really started to look like themselves again a week ago in L.A. Matt Ryan was brilliant under pressure from the Rams defensive front, and if the Eagles can’t make him uncomfortable, it might be a long day for Philadelphia. The Falcons offense has been wildly consistent this season, so it’s entirely possible that Ryan and Co. regress a week after their wild-card win. Still, given how poor Foles performed in the season’s final weeks, it’s hard to feel good about the Eagles here.

Player to watch: Jay Ajayi, Eagles RB. It’s no secret that the Eagles are going to try to limit the number of times they rely on Foles to make a play. The Falcons will almost assuredly stack the box to keep that from happening. Whoever wins that chess match is likely to win this game. Ajayi has the explosiveness to succeed even with eight men in the box, but it’s going to be tough sledding regardless. For what it’s worth, Ajayi ran for 130 yards against Atlanta in a similar situation earlier this season. This time around, he’s well rested. The Eagles will need everything they can get out of him.

Line: Falcons by 3

Pick: Falcons, 24-23

TENNESSEE AT NEW ENGLAND

Kickoff: 5:15 p.m., […]    

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