Going into the 2017 NFL Divisional Round of the playoffs we have three future first-ballot Hall of Fame quarterbacks that will attempt to lead their perspective teams back to Championship Sunday and on to Super Bowl LII. The three quarterbacks that I am talking about are Tom Brady, Drew Brees, and Ben Roethlisberger. Standing in their way will be four up and coming teams that will present a unique challenge in each of the four matchups this weekend.
Jaguars vs Steelers
The last time the Pittsburgh Steelers host the Jacksonville Jaguars, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had one of the worst games of his career. In the Week 5 matchup, Roethlisberger threw five interceptions, which resulted in the Jaguars dismantling the Steelers 30-9. The game was so bad for “Big Ben” that it almost forced him to consider retirement. Here is a quote from what he had to say after Week 5 loss to the Jaguars.
“I might not have it anymore.”
To me, that statement came from a person that was still emotional after throwing five interceptions against the opposing team. The second time around, I believe things will be different. If you saw how timid, Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles was with the football last Sunday against the Bills; they will be in for a rude awakening against the Steelers this Sunday.
Steelers over Jaguars
Titans vs Patriots
After rallying from a 21-3 deficit, The Tennessee Titans go into the windy confines of Gillette Stadium to face Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. The crazy thing about this matchup is that this is not the best version of the Patriots roster going into the playoffs this season. Unfortunately, Titans head coach Mike Mularkey will not take advantage of any mistakes that Brady and the Pats might make in this ball game. I give the Titans a 0% chance of winning this contest.
Patriots over Titans
Falcons vs Eagles
The defending NFC Champions, the Atlanta Falcons are on a quest to redeem themselves after blowing a 28-3 lead in last year’s Super Bowl to the New England Patriots. To accomplish that they must get past the highly talented Philadelphia Eagles.
The Eagles stampeded through the rest of the league, which allowed them to have home field advantage throughout the postseason in the NFC. However, the majority of those victories were when quarterback Carson Wentz was under center for the Eagles. I have watched how the team has performed with Nick Foles as the teams starting quarterback.
With Foles as the Eagles starter, they played down to the competition of opponents that they should have at least blown out in the first half of ball games. Given the way the Falcons defense has performed over the past month, they have a legitimate chance to leave Lincoln Finacial Field with a victory this Sunday.
Falcons over Eagles
Saints vs Vikings
In the Week 1 Monday Night Football matchup against the Minnesota Vikings, the New Orleans Saints were outplayed in every category of the ball game. Vikings wide receivers Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen had a field day against the inexperienced secondary. Many analysts around the league thought that it was going to be the same old Saints going into 2017.
However, the Saints would go on to have a record of 11-5 and the NFC South Title. Their secondary has vastly improved since the Week 1 beatdown in Minneapolis. However, for the Saints to win this ball game, it will surely rest on the shoulders of Drew Brees. The Vikings rush defense can quickly shut down the two-headed monster of Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara.
To go along with that, the Vikings secondary is one of the best in the game right now. I do not expect a high scoring an affair in this contest, the team that wins this game will be the one that does not turn the football over and allow the opposing team to have a short field to work within this football game.
Saints over Vikings
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