The number of teams in Super Bowl contention has been knocked down to eight, following WIld-Card Weekend. All of the remaining NFL playoff teams will play in the 2018 divisional playoffs, hoping to reach one of the conference championship game.
Here’s a look at the upcoming 2018 NFL playoff schedule with predictions for all four second-round games:
Atlanta Falcons at Philadelphia Eagles (Saturday, 4:35 p.m. EST, NBC)
Atlanta is the only road team to be favored in the first eight games of the playoffs. Matt Ryan is certainly a better quarterback than Nick Foles, and the defending NFC champs' defense was impressive in the wild-card round by holding the Los Angeles Rams to just 13 points. The public, however, might be underestimating the NFC’s top seed. Carson Wentz didn’t exactly carry the Eagles to an NFC East title, and the team still has plenty of talent on both sides of the ball. Before playing poorly in his last two starts, Foles looked like a more than competent replacement at quarterback. Playing at home with one of the league’s best defenses, the Eagles can advance if Foles avoids making major mistakes.
Tennessee Titans at New England Patriots (Saturday, 8:15 p.m. EST, CBS)
This might be the easiest prediction of the first two rounds. A team that barely reached the postseason isn’t walking into Gillette Stadium and defeating the defending champs. It’s hard to overstate how much of an advantage Tom Brady and Bill Belichick give the Patriots over Marcus Mariota and Mike Mularkey. New England has won their last six home playoff games, and 2011 was the last year that the Patriots didn’t reach the AFC Championship Game.
Prediction: New England
Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots huddles with teammates during the first half against the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium on Dec. 31, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Photo: Jim Rogash/Getty Images
Jacksonville Jaguars at Pittsburgh Steelers (Sunday, 1:05 p.m. EST, CBS)
Don’t be surprised if the Jaguars are the one road team that escapes the divisional round with a win. They’ve already won in Pittsburgh this season, routing the Steelers in Week 5. Jacksonville has the AFC’s best defense, and Ben Roethlisberger could be in for a rough afternoon. Blake Bortles will have to perform better than he did in the first round against the Buffalo Bills, though the quarterback looked outstanding at times down the stretch of the regular season.
New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings (Sunday, 4:40 p.m. EST, FOX)
It wouldn’t be surprising to see either team reach the NFC Championship Game. Drew Brees remains as good as he’s been over the last decade, and the Saints have finally given the quarterback a formidable rushing attack and a competent defense. Minnesota has the NFL’s No.1 defense, and their offense has been surprisingly good this season. Case Keenum doubters will pick the Saints, but the quarterback has done enough to prove that he can lead this team to the Super Bowl. Minnesota has the edge at home, where they are 7-1.
Source : http://www.ibtimes.com/nfl-2018-playoff-schedule-early-predictions-divisional-games-2638657