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NFL playoffs: Titans-Chiefs, Falcons-Rams flog off wild-card weekend

Alex Smith competence be personification for a job, possibly with a Chiefs or another team. (Bill Kostroun/Associated Press)

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.

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.

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.)

Injury news

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.)

Article source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/sports/wp/2018/01/06/nfl-playoffs-titans-chiefs-falcons-rams-kick-off-wild-card-weekend/


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