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Saturday's NFL division round game previews

NFC: Falcons at Eagles, 4:35, NBC

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Line/OU: Falcons by 3; 41

The Eagles are the first No. 1 seed ever to be an underdog to a No. 6, and it's no mystery why: As good a backup quarterback as Nick Foles is, he's still a dropoff from Carson Wentz, who was an MVP candidate before he blew out his ACL in December. Philadelphia — with the third-ranked rushing offense in the league, keyed by former Buc LeGarrette Blount and former Dolphin Jay Ajayi — likely will try to pound away at the Falcons defense. The Falcons offense seemed to come alive in last week's 26-13 wild-card victory over the Rams, and Matt Ryan has notched a QB rating of at least 100 in five straight playoff games, one short of Joe Montana's record. Maybe more impressively, their defense kept star RB Todd Gurley to a relatively quiet 101 yards and kept consistent pressure on QB Jared Goff.

AFC: Titans at Patriots, 8:15, CBS

Line/OU: Patriots by 13½; 48

Titans QB Marcus Mariota went a long way toward redeeming a disappointing season by showing toughness and poise in last week's comeback win at Kansas City. Tennessee's key player, though, might be RB Derrick Henry, who has 308 total yards and two scores in two games as a starter. If Henry goes haywire — keep in mind New England allowed 4.7 yards per carry this season, 31st in the league — the Titans could play keepaway and pull off the upset. Realistically, the only way QB Tom Brady and the Patriots lose this game is if they beat themselves, which they're not in the habit of doing. Perhaps the off-field distractions of reported conflicts between Brady, coach Bill Belichick and owner Roger Kraft will play a role, but not likely. New England is 20-4 at home in the playoffs and hasn't lost a home playoff game since 2012.

Times wires

Saturday's NFL division round game previews 01/12/18 [Last modified: Friday, January 12, 2018 8:25pm]
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