Atlanta, Tennessee, New Orleans, and Jacksonville move on to the NFL Divisional Round. Can the Falcons, Titans, Saints, and Jaguars keep it going? Only Atlanta is favored versus the Philadelphia Eagles. Is there really a chance that the dogs in the other 3 NFL Divisional Round games get it done against the spread?
2018 NFL Divisional Round Five ⭐ Lock Picks
Atlanta Falcons at Philadelphia Eagles
When: Saturday, Jan. 13 at 4:35 pm ET
Where: Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia PA
Odds: Atlanta -2.5
The Philadelphia Eagles are in dire straits, and they haven’t even played a snap. The Atlanta Falcons are a veteran squad with a peaking defense, an NFL MVP quarterback, and a tough rushing attack.
What does Philadelphia have? Not much. Sure, it’s difficult to say that the Eagles don’t have much after Philly finished the regular season with a 13 and 3 record. But, let’s be honest, Nick Foles is not Carson Wentz.
Almost as important is the fact that Philly beat only 2 playoff teams during the season. They beat Carolina 28 to 23. They beat the Rams 43 to 35. Neither one of those teams remains in the NFL Playoffs.
I don’t believe the Falcons have much trouble covering this less than 3-point spread.
NFL Lock Pick: Atlanta
Tennessee Titans at New England Patriots
When: Saturday, Jan. 13 at 8:15 pm ET
Where: Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, MA
Odds: Tennessee +14
The New England Patriots, on paper, should dominate the Tennessee Titans. The problem I have with giving so many points is that all isn’t copasetic in New England.
Supposedly, Bill Belichick and QB Tom Brady are arguing about Brady’s personal trainer. Bill told the guy to leave the Patriots’ facility because he’s not a New England Patriot employee. Not only that, but Bob Kraft supposedly forced Belichick to trade Jimmy Garoppolo.
If the rumors are true, it’s going to be difficult for the Patriots to cover a 14-point spread versus a focused team like the Tennessee Titans. I’m taking the points for sure.
NFL Lock Pick: Tennessee
Jacksonville at Pittsburgh
When: Sunday, Jan. 14 at 1:05 pm ET
Where: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA
Odds: Jacksonville +7.5
Analysis: I have no clue why the point spread is so high in this game. Did the Jaguars suffer a major injury during their 10 to 3 win over the Buffalo Bills in the Wildcard Round? Let me check…
Nope. It sure doesn’t look like Jacksonville will have any trouble, at least from an injury perspective, on Jan. 14. The Jacksonville Jaguars defense already dominated the Pittsburgh Steelers once.
In Week 5, the Jags beat Pitt 30 to 9. It wasn’t like Jacksonville beat Pitt at home at EverBank Stadium, either. The Jags dominated Pittsburgh on the road. I’m sure Pitt will adjust on both offense and defense.
I’m just not sure the adjustments will account for more than 3 to 6 points. I’m taking the points on the Jags.
NFL Lock Pick: Jacksonville
New Orleans at Minnesota
When: Sunday, Jan. 14 at 4:40 pm ET
Where: U.S. Bank Stadium, Minnesota, MN
Odds: New Orleans +3.5
Analysis: The New Orleans Saints battled NFC South rival Carolina to a 31 to 26 Wildcard Round win. New Orleans now gets to travel to Minnesota where they’ll take on the Vikings, the NFC’s top choice based on Super Bowl odds to win the conference.
The key for me in this game comes down to the Saints offense versus the Vikings defense. The problem the Vikings are going to have is covering the Saints running backs, Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram. Both backs can catch the football out of the backfield.
Minnesota’s defense is great. But, if it concentrates on stopping the rush, Drew Brees will kill them with the pass. If it concentrates on stopping the pass, the Vikings will give up a ton of yards on the ground.
The New Orleans Saints are the pick.
NFL Lock Pick: New Orleans