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Levack's Locks For The NFL Divisional round

13 January 2018

The NFL playoffs continue this weekend, live on Sky Sports - but which team is going to have that Super Bowl trophy in their hands as the confetti falls come February 4? Eagles-Falcons. Saints-Vikings. Patriots-Titans. Jaguars-Steelers. They rank second in the league with just 16.8 defensive points allowed per game, but it will be hard to repeat last week's performance at Heinz Field this Sunday.

New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick can move ahead of former Dallas Cowboys coach Tom Landry and former Baltimore Colts and Miami Dolphins coach Don Shula his team beats the Tennessee Titans on Saturday. Henry ran for 165 yards, including a 35 yard-TD. It'll be a close game, but I'm giving the edge to the Steelers. The Steelers will not be playing at full strength, providing the flawless opportunity for the underdog Jaguars.

Jacksonville's defense can clearly create a number of problems for Pittsburgh. The long time Saints signal caller will be a first ballot Hall of Famer yet will likely be overshadowed for playing in the same era as Aaron Rodgers, Tome Brady, and Peyton Manning.

The Jaguars offense will need to step up big time for this match up.

The case for a Jaguars upset: Having won at Heinz Field in Week 5, the Jags won't be scared. The Vikings defense surrendered the fewest points this season, allowing just 15.8 per game. Roethlisberger was intercepted five times in that game and the Steelers will look to establish running back Le'Veon Bell early.

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The case for chalk: This game marks the first in National Football League history in which a No. 1 seed is the underdog in the divisional round.

Wentz, an MVP candidate, was lost for the season with an ACL tear.

2001: In the NFC semifinals, Daunte Culpepper threw for 302 yards and three touchdowns, two to Randy Moss and one to Cris Carter, as the Vikings rolled 34-16. The Eagles took a huge hit, and are not almost as good of a team without him.

The Saints enter this game as the league's most explosive offense, averaging an NFL-best 6.3 yards per play. If the Eagles can not generate some offense against the Falcons, it might be too much to ask for Philadelphia's fourth-ranked defense to keep Atlanta from scoring. Minnesota was victorious in Week 1, but a lot has changed since then.

Unfortunately for New Orleans, Minnesota converted 43.5 percent of its third-down attempts during the regular season, the third-best rate in the league.

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The march of time made it almost impossible this week to find a Vikings player who even remembers the team's gut-wrenching loss in the 2009-10 NFC championship game at New Orleans - defensive end Brian Robison, still effective nine years later, was the only current team member actually there - and completely impossible to find a player who understands what that game meant to Vikings fans. He did it without a true running game too. Saints? Check. Falcons? Maybe. We know it's coming.

"You don't bet against New England at home, in the playoffs". New England isn't great against the run though. On offense, it's on Steelers wideout JuJu Smith-Schuster if the Pats have a safety hovering over the top of Brown all day.

And when Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is under pressure, he is much less effective.

The case for chalk: The Vikings can out-Falcon the Falcons.

Saints at Vikings: Minnesota 27-26. Matt Ryan and Julio Jones should do just enough against the Eagles in order to send Atlanta back to the NFC Championship. In short, they have an answer for all of the Falcons' challenges. They held a potent Los Angeles offense to just two field goals and a touchdown, and the special teams also forced two fumbles on a kick returns.

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Levack's Locks For The NFL Divisional round