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Wild Card Round Predictions

Posted on: January 5th, 2018 by Rob Popeleski No Comments

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Tennessee @ Kansas City (Saturday 4:35)

Tennessee made the playoffs with their week 17 win over Jacksonville. They beat Kansas City in week 15 last year 19-17 as DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry combined for 147 yards rushing. Murray will miss this weeks game so Henry will carry the load as he did last week when he had 117 total yards and a touchdown. Kansas City has won four in a row after losing four straight prior to that. The key has been the defense and the running game is back on track. Defensively, they’ve forced 12 turnovers in their last four games and Kareem Hunt had a combined 362 yards rushing in weeks 14,15 and 16. Tennessee hasn’t been good on the road and Marcus Mariota has struggled this year. Kansas City is the more experienced team as well. Kansas City 31-17

Atlanta @ LAR (Saturday 8:15)

The question is, can Atlanta effectively run the ball and keep the high powered Los Angeles offense off the field? The Los Angeles run defense is ranked just 28th in the league but not counting last week, they’ve held their last two opponents to under 100 yards rushing. Todd Gurley is having an MVP season and is rested after sitting out last weeks game. Los Angeles is just 4-4 at home this year and Atlanta is the defending conference champions but I don’t see them keeping pace with the Los Angeles offense. LAR 30-23

Buffalo @ Jacksonville (Sunday 1:05)

Few, if any would’ve predicted this playoff matchup before the season. Buffalo makes their first playoff appearance since 1999 and Jacksonville last made the playoffs in 2007. Among the playoff teams, Buffalo has the biggest point differential at -57. Buffalo has solid wins over Kansas City and Atlanta on the road but their 7 other wins came against teams with losing records. Their biggest problem this week will be trying to stop a Jacksonville rushing offense that was ranked 1st in the league. The Buffalo defense was just 29th against the run. Another issue is the health of LeSean McCoy. He didn’t practice all week after suffering a sprained ankle in week 17 and he’s questionable to play. Look for a low scoring game with both teams leaning on their running game. Jacksonville 20-10

Carolina @ New Orleans (Sunday 4:40)

New Orleans won the division and won both matchups with Carolina this year by a combined score of 65-34. Cam Newton was held to under 200 yards passing in each game. One of the biggest surprises has not only been the New Orleans running game but also their 10th ranked defense. In their two meetings this year, New Orleans held Carolina to less than 300 yards offense in each meeting. Carolina has struggled offensively against New Orleans but I think Cam has a big game here. In four of their five losses, New Orleans was held to under 100 yards rushing. The Carolina defense is ranked 5th against the run. To have any chance they’ll need to contain Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram. New Orleans lost just one game at home this year but beating a divisional opponent for the third time will be difficult. Carolina 34-31

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