Prisco's Picks: Week 19

 
 
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WEEK
19
PETE PRISCO
Senior NFL Columnist
Pete Prisco has covered the NFL for three decades, including working as a beat reporter in Jacksonville for the Jaguars. He hosted his own radio show for seven years, and can be seen throughout the week on CBS Sports' NFL shows. When he's not watching game tape you can find Pete on Twitter or dreaming of an Arizona State national title in football.
MATCHUP SCORE ANALYSIS
Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018
 
Atlanta
Falcons
23
The Falcons are favored in this game, which speaks volumes about the perception of Foles. He struggled in a big way in his final two games, which is why the top-seeded Eagles arenít getting the respect of a normal top seed. The Atlanta offense hasnít been as explosive this year, but they had a nice plan last week against the Rams and will continue use the run game to key their passing game. The Eagles can rush the passer, which is why the run game will be key. The Eagles were first in rushing defense, sixth in yards per rush. Even so, I think the Falcons win it behind the running game. They are a dangerous sixth seed, and even though this is a second straight road game, I think t shows here. Falcons take it.
Result: Atlanta Falcons 10, Philadelphia Eagles 15
Philadelphia
Eagles
17
 
 
Tennessee
Titans
20
The Titans ran their way to this game last week, as Derrick Henry ran for 156 yards in the upset of the Chiefs on the road. The Chiefs were 26th in yards per attempt against, but the Patriots are even worse with a 31st ranking. That could mean another big day for Henry, and I think Henry will control the football in an effort to keep Tom Brady off the field. It will work to some extent, but I still think Brady will have his way with the Tennessee secondary. With all the talk of discourse inside the Patriots, this will be their chance to show none of it matters. Brady will have a good day throwing it, as the Patriots move on in a closer game than expected.
Result: New England Patriots 35, Tennessee Titans 14
New England
Patriots
24
 
Sunday, Jan. 14, 2018
 
Jacksonville
Jaguars
17
The Jaguars dominated the Steelers in Week 5, picking off Ben Roethlisberger five times in a rout. This time around, they canít expect that to happen again. The Jacksonville defense is as good as it gets, but the Steelers seemed to get it together on offense down the stretch, even if Antonio Brownís health bears watching here. If the Jaguars are to win this game, they have to open things up. If they think they will line up and win with their running game, they are nuts. They need to take some shots. They canít count on the defense to have another day like it did in October. The Steelers are the better team. And they have the much better quarterback. That matters in January. Steelers will be moving on.
Result: Pittsburgh Steelers 42, Jacksonville Jaguars 45
Pittsburgh
Steelers
21
 
 
New Orleans
Saints
20
This is a rematch of Week 1 game between the teams, which the Vikings won 29-19. But that was a different Vikings team. Case Keenum has done a nice job as the starter, but this will be his first playoff start. That matters. The Vikings have the NFLís best defense, but the Saints were the second-ranked offense and fourth-highest scoring team in the league. Drew Brees got going in the victory over Carolina. Adrian Peterson tied Alvin Kamara as the leading rusher for the Saints in the first meeting. Heís long gone, and that running game is much better. This will be a much tougher challenge for the Vikings defense, which is why I think the Saints will go into Minnesota and pull off the upset.
Result: New Orleans Saints 24, Minnesota Vikings 29
Minnesota
Vikings
19