Top story lines | Injury news
Playoff energy rankings | Wild-card picks/Super Bowl odds
The Atlanta Falcons will face a unrelenting exam Saturday night when they start what they wish will outcome in a lapse outing to — and a improved outcome in — a Super Bowl this season.
They’ll face a manly offense of a Los Angeles Rams, one of a NFL’s astonishing darlings this season, after a deteriorate in that it seemed that there were slow effects from their meltdown detriment to a Patriots in Super Bowl LI. The diversion is in Los Angeles and, to boot, a Rams have a marvel in Sean McVay, their 31-year-old wunderkind coach.
Can a Falcons enclose using behind Todd Gurley, a bona fide MVP candidate? The 11-5 Rams, who lead a NFL in scoring with a 29.9-point average, are 6-0 when Gurley rushes for some-more than 100 yards. He’s also a legit receiving threat, heading a group with 64 receptions. Gurley led a joining with 2,093 yards from struggle notwithstanding sitting out a unchanging deteriorate finale.
The 10-6 Falcons modernized to a Super Bowl final year with a clever offense led by MVP Matt Ryan. This time, they’re roving a invulnerability that has been improving, giving adult usually 93.6 yards per diversion on a belligerent over a final 8 games.
Kicking off a weekend is a diversion between a 9-7 Titans and 10-6 Chiefs in Kansas City. When it comes to a playoffs, a Chiefs have been underachievers and this diversion could be Alex Smith’s final with a team, that drafted Patrick Mahomes final spring.
“He’s one of a guys we’re awaiting to be out there,” a high-ranking executive with an NFL group formulation to be in a quarterback marketplace told The Washington Post’s Mark Maske. “He’s positively a man we’ll have on a list, and we’ll demeanour into him and his situation.”
Carrying a 21-3 lead into halftime had to make a Chiefs and their fans feel flattering good. Not so most yet per star parsimonious finish Travis Kelce, who took a shot to a conduct while creation a locate in a second entertain and looked wobbly, wanting assistance to mount up. He would leave a diversion and was ruled out with a concussion.
Scary moment. Travis Kelce has difficulty station adult after holding a large strike to a helmet. pic.twitter.com/b1uvHtO1VH
— 360°FantasyFootball (@360FFB) January 6, 2018
Top story lines
One of a NFL’s other darlings, a Buffalo Bills, will make a playoff coming for a initial time in 18 years Sunday, roving to Jacksonville for a day’s early game. The 9-7 Bills sneaked into a postseason final Sunday when a Ravens mislaid to a Bengals on a touchdown pass by Andy Dalton to Tyler Boyd. Since then, Buffalo fans have been paying their good happening forward with contributions to a charities of both players.
The 10-6 Jaguars have modernized with a clever invulnerability and, well, Dalton and Boyd competence not be means to assistance a Bills here, yet no one should count a group and a Bills Mafia fans out.
The weekend’s culmination facilities an NFC South matchup, a third this deteriorate between a Saints and Panthers, in New Orleans. The Saints will be perplexing to kick a group for a third time this season, something not simply accomplished. The Saints won 34-13 on Sept. 24 and 31-21 on Dec. 3. Containing Cam Newton will be a contingency for a Saints’ defense, that will be helped by a participation of Marshon Lattimore, a cornerback who is a rookie of a year claimant and only happened to have missed both of a progressing games opposite a Panthers. Lattimore available 5 unchanging deteriorate interceptions in his 13 games.
Among devotees of Who Dat Nation, there’s a clarity that this competence be Drew Brees’s best shot during a second NFL title. The 39-year-old is in his 17th deteriorate and, for a change, a Saints aren’t vital and failing with his passes. This season, New Orleans has dual Pro Bowl using backs, Mark Ingram and rookie Alvin Kamara, who ranked fifth in a joining in rushing offense.
“It certain is nice,” Brees said. “I mean, listen, does it change a approach we prepare? No. Does it change my mind-set going into a game? No. It’s only when we supplement adult a series of throws … it’s substantially my fewest attempts in a prolonged time, right? So if you’re holding divided five, seven, 10 attempts a diversion and those are going to a run game, well, that means that you’re doing something right in a run game. And it substantially means you’re personification good invulnerability since you’re not in a position where we have to chuck a round or get large chunks [of yardage].
“Still, my mind-set doesn’t change during a march of credentials or a potency during that we wish to play at. we still consider certain plays. we still consider holding caring of a football and all those things. But we consider during a finish of a day, what has it finished for me? Well, it doesn’t force me to have to take as many chances.”
What’s up: When and where to watch
Titans during Chiefs, 4:35 p.m. EST (ESPN)
Falcons during Rams, 8:15 p.m. EST (NBC)
Bills during Jaguars, 1:05 p.m. EST (CBS)
Panthers during Saints, 4:40 p.m. EST (Fox)
In other news
Trouble in Pats-land: Is a bad dissection appearing for Robert Kraft, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady? (Read more.)
A deadly flaw? Tom Brady’s immoderate hatred to injuries could dive a Patriots’ downfall, ESPN news says. (Read more.)
Well, this is unusual: The Patriots’ mind trust of Kraft, Belichick and Brady released a matter together in response to a ESPN report.
Joint matter from Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft, Head Coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady: pic.twitter.com/i555gWZIi6
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) January 5, 2018
A Chucky sequel: A $100-million agreement “basically” is in place for Jon Gruden to manager a Raiders again. (Read more.)
Speaking of whom: Gruden will sojourn in a ESPN counter for a Titans-Chiefs game, that is only … weird. (Read more.)
Bills using behind LeSean McCoy is approaching to play after spiteful his ankle final week. It isn’t transparent how effective he’ll be, though, since he hadn’t tested a ankle as of Saturday.
Playoff energy rankings
Where are a surprises over a Big Four? We’ll tell you. (Read more.)
Wild-card predictions and Super Bowl odds: The Jaguars and Chiefs win easily. (Read more.)