NFL Divisional Round Predictions: Higher seeds should win, but don't expect a full flush

Matthew Malec

After a thrilling Wild Card Weekend with every game decided by two scores or less, the NFL's top seeds are finally ready to enter the fray against the victors from last weekend. 

Here's how we see things shaking out:

Falcons at Eagles: Saturday, 4:35 p.m.

The reigning NFC champions are the first six seed to be favored against a one seed in NFL history. With Carson Wentz out the Eagles will need to be creative and find other ways to move the ball, and to win the game. Atlanta, on the other hand, finally looked like the team we all knew they could be in a dominating win in Los Angeles last week. If the Falcons do have their swagger back, they will prove to be a tough out, particularly if the opposition has a quarterback and head coach looking for their first postseason win.

Score: Falcons 24, Eagles 17

MVP: Matt Ryan


Titans at Patriots: Saturday, 8:15 p.m.

After an incredible comeback in Arrowhead, the Titans are riding high while the Patriots have been bogged down by the news of turmoil between Brady and Belichick. Perhaps the Titans could dream of springing an upset if it was a more hot headed coach at the center of the controversy, but the pragmatic Belichick will likely only use the article as fuel for the Patriots "us against the world" narrative they've been using since Deflategate. Regardless of off the field troubles, on the field the team that is both more talented and better coached will roll to an easy victory.

Score: Patriots 38 Titans 13

MVP: Rob Gronkowski


Jaguars at Steelers: Sunday, 1:05 p.m.

The Jaguars eeked out a home win over Buffalo on the backs of their spectacular defense. But the potent Pittsburgh offense should be able to hang more than three points on the board. If Blake Bortles fails to reach 100 yards passing again, the Steelers will cruise. I expect Bortles to be better than he was last Sunday, but not good enough to hang with the Killer B's. The Jags defense will bend for a long time, but Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell eventually break even the best.

Score: Steelers 21 Jaguars 13

MVP: Le'Veon Bell


Saints at Vikings: Sunday, 4:40 p.m.

In a matchup with the quality to be a conference championship game, Drew Brees and the Saints head to Minnesota to face Case Keenum and the Vikings. On the surface, that would seem to be a huge mismatch, and it is, but Keenum has beat expectations all season, and with an elite defense and strong running game, the Vikings will be in this game. The Saints, with their two headed monster in the backfield and (finally) a decent defense of their own, will also keep it close late. I expect an instant classic in this one, but in the end the Vikings fairytale run will continue, quite possibly to hosting the Super Bowl.

Score: Vikings 21 Saints 20

MVP: Xavier Rhodes


The Divisional Round is the last time we will see multiple NFL games on the same day until September, hopefully we see a few nail biters and get great matchup for the conference championships, but never take a win in this round for granted. Even number one seeds have won less than 70 percent of their games in this round since 1990, which means there's every chance the Patriots or Eagles could be on the hook this week as well. 

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