NFL GM on playoffs: Eagles will lose, Patriots will roll, more

Annette Crawford
January 13, 2018

With Nick Foles, they are getting points. But a good pass rush can make up for that.

All season, Sky Sports News' NFL reporter Richard Graves has given his weekly game predictions, going head-to-head against star names from the sporting arena to see who knows their gridiron more.

Derrick Henry gives them a chance. What childhood game will become the next touchdown dance celebration? The Patriots defense looked better over the last quarter of the season, but the Titans can run the ball and Marcus Mariota proved last week he can work some magic. That's also a regular-season rematch.

Much like we saw in the Wild Card round, the home teams are heavily favored this weekend, save the Eagles, who lost their starting quarterback a few weeks ago. While the focus this past week was on the erratic play of Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles, the league's top-ranked ground game rolled up 155 yards on the Bills. The Jaguars quarterback finished with just 87 passing yards and avoided being a total dud by rumbling his way to 88 rushing yards.

The Jaguars' league-low 68.5 passer rating against also puts them in prime position to move forward. Sure, Atlanta could easily keep things going with another win, but with no sense of how well the Eagles can perform, I want to grab as many points as possible. Just look at the names, and you know what to do. I think it could be.

As predicted, the Falcons took care of the young and inexperienced Los Angeles Rams, and they'll do so again this week in Philadelphia. Don't sleep on Matt Ryan and his bunch. But I just have a good feeling about this Saints team.

Philadelphia is No. 1 against the run, is at home and has had an extra week of rest.

Don't be surprised if the Dirty Birds knock off their second Super Bowl contender in a row, even if it means less FSU presence in the playoffs. The Eagles, on the other hand, are on a steep decline. They are literally a wild card since the injury of Carson Wentz. Foles is a solid backup, but so far he has had trouble integrating himself into the offense that was so successful with Wentz. This marks the Falcons' fourth road game in five weeks, all demanding playoff-like intensity; during the same stretch, the Eagles' only road game entailed a quick trip to NY and they've been home since before Christmas. The game was closer than the score made it seem, but Atlanta's defense is what gave them the win. I like Jacksonville on the road, especially after they handled Pittsburgh during the regular season. They upset the Chiefs in a comeback 22-21 win during the wildcard round.

Atlanta's defense kept running back Todd Gurley in check and was able to get to Goff three times in the win.

The Vikings don't quite have the offensive weapons the Saints do in quarterback Drew Brees, receiver Michael Thomas and running backs Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram, but Minnesota does have the NFL's best defense and that might be the difference on Sunday. The Saints are more balanced this season, ranking fourth in scoring offense and 10th in scoring defense. While the Vikings' quarterback was Sam Bradford for that game, Case Keenum has come in and played at a borderline MVP level for long stretches. It would be nice to see the Patriots line pushed to a field goal with the tease, but I'm not sweating 3 to 3.5. This game features two evenly matched teams and should go down to the wire, but in the end I think that Brees and his extensive playoff experience will prevail.

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