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Playoff Predictions: Championship Week Edition

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Last week, I published my predictions for the Divisional round of the 2018 NFL playoffs. I ended up hitting as accurately as a coin flip, going 2/4. Here were my picks alongside the actual results from last week:

Falcons @ Eagles

Prediction: Falcons 20, Eagles 13

Final: Eagles 15, Falcons 10

What went wrong? I stated “Matty Ice and Co. figure out how to score once more” after halftime, and the Falcons literally did not do that thanks to some highly questionable play calling (Yes, its deja vu for me, too).

Titans @ Patriots

Prediction: Patriots 31, Titans 21

Final: Patriots 35, Titans 14

I was close with this one, and the Patriots did in fact win by at least 2 scores at home. Unfortunately too easy.

Jaguars @ Steelers

Prediction: Steelers 24, Jaguars 10

Final: Jaguars 45, Steelers 42

So, turns out I wasn’t very close here. The only thing I seem to have predicted correctly is that the Jaguars wouldn’t hold the Steelers Killer Bs to 9 points again. Jags with the upset of the weekend.

Saints @ Vikings

Prediction: Vikings 27, Saints 21

Final: Vikings 29, Saints 24

This was the game I was closest to picking the final score in, however I was very incorrect in how I saw the score getting that way. A win is a win, and from afar my prediction looked spot on (It wasn’t).

 

But enough for last weeks recap, how about these Championship week matchups?

(3) Jacksonville Jaguars @ (1) New England Patriots

Patriots 30, Jaguars 27

I really am starting to believe in Jacksonville (so they’ll probably lay an egg this week) and I see this game being an extremely close contest throughout. The Jags defense is as legit as they come, and Tom Coughlin having his finger everywhere on that franchise means something in a contest against New England (See Super Bowl XLII and XLVI). But Brady, Belichick and Gronk are probably just a bit too much for Sacksonville in Foxboro in January. Patriots by a score at home.

 

(2) Minnesota Vikings @ (1) Philadelphia Eagles

Vikings 17, Eagles 10

This one is tough. 2 of the leagues best defenses, outdoors in January in Philadelphia, and the starting QBs are Nick Foles and Case Keenum. Except Case Keenum is no longer that Case Keenum you think of, and Nick Foles is still looking efficient (if you overlook his shoulda coulda woulda interceptions last week). I think, with some bias, the Vikings are the more complete team with the better coach. Give me the road warrior Vikings by a touchdown in a defensive, slow paced game.

 

If I keep up my playoff prediction average of exactly 50%, lets hope its the Vikings winning and the Jaguars pulling off the next greatest upset of the season in Foxboro (again, slightly biased).

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AFC

Bengals Sign Thomas Rawls

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The Cincinnati Bengals have signed veteran running back Thomas Rawls, according to a team announcement.

In a corresponding move, the Bengals have waived/injured running back Tra Carson.

With starting running back Joe Mixon temporarily on the shelf due to a knee issue, Rawls will provide depth, alongside rookie Mark Walton, as Giovanni Bernard takes over lead back duties until Mixon returns.

 

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Patriots Sign Cyrus Jones

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The New England Patriots have signed cornerback Cyrus Jones off of the Baltimore Ravens practice squad, according to The Athletic’s Jeff Howe.

In a corresponding move, the Patriots released recently signed running back Kenjon Barner. Jones’ new deal with the Patriots, who released him earlier this month, is for a reported two-years, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

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Steelers’ Antonio Brown Misses Practice, Agent Denies Trade Request

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Pittsburgh Steelers’ wide receiver Antonio Brown was a no-show for practice on Monday, fueling trade speculation after an interesting exchange on Twitter with a former team employee, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Ed Bouchette and Gerry Dulac.

Brown responded to the former employee’s belief that Brown would not be an elite receiver without the help of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger but tweeting “Trade me let’s find out”.

While the absence raises eyebrows, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said that Brown has not requested a trade.

Additionally, Brown’s agent Drew Rosenhaus released the following statement shutting down any rumors that Brown has requested a trade, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

“The tweet [on Monday] was not in reference to anything other than Antonio responding to a person he knows. It was not directed towards a trade, or wanting to be trading. Any idea he was asking for a trade is not accurate, Antonio had a personal matter. I talked to the team about it. His issue was unrelated to the tweet or his relationship with the team. Third, AB has an incredible drive to win. He just wants to win. That’s all that that is, that’s not anything more than him encouraging his coaches and teammates to win. And that’s what his entire focus is on. Any notion, any speculation otherwise, can be put to bed. This is a non-story that has been blown out of proportion. We can end this right here and now.”

 

 

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