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Sunday wild-card games preview; Who will punch their tickets to the next round?

January 07,2018 22:20

The first two games of wild-card weekend certainly did not disappoint. The Tennessee Titans were able to overcome an 18-point deficit and defeat the Kansas City Chiefs 22-21. In the second wild-card game, the Atlanta Falcons marched into the Los ...


The first two games of wild-card weekend certainly did not disappoint. The Tennessee Titans were able to overcome an 18-point deficit and defeat the Kansas City Chiefs 22-21. In the second wild-card game, the Atlanta Falcons marched into the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and they were able to limit the highest scoring offense in the regular season. Below is a preview of both wild-card games today.
Buffalo Bills vs. Jacksonville Jaguars 1:05 pm ET
The Jacksonville Jaguars are set to host the Buffalo Bills in the first matchup of the day. This matchup will determine the AFC divisional-round matchups. If the Jaguars were to win, they would secure a trip to Pittsburgh, while the Titans would travel to New England. However, if the Bills were to win, they would go to New England, while the Titans would head to Pittsburgh.
The Buffalo Bills are in the playoffs for the first time since 1999. Buffalo’s season has been a roller coaster ride. Buffalo bolsters the 6th ranked rushing-attack and the 29th ranked total offense. Not to mention their defense is ranked 26th overall.
The big question for Buffalo concerns LeSean McCoy, who is active this week. McCoy has had another electric season for the Bills and their run-heavy offense. Will McCoy be limited? How close to 100% will he be?
Shifting to the other side, the Jacksonville Jaguars are coming off of their best season in recent memory. They won the AFC South and clinched their first playoff berth since 2007. This group is led by their top-tier, elite defense. The Jaguars have the second ranked total defense, but they have the 21st ranked run-defense.
Their offense is led by rookie running back Leonard Fournette, who has been phenomenal this season. Fournette finished in the top 10 in rushing yards, despite missing three games this season. Not to mention, the Jaguars have been depleted by injury at wide receiver. They lost Allen Robinson after week one and Marqise Lee has been out the past two weeks due to an ankle injury.
Blake Bortles will be the key to this game. The question is, can he play turnover free football. The Jaguars are coming into this game on a two-game losing streak. Not that the losses can be solely placed on Bortles, but he has thrown five interceptions in the past two games. Heading into week 16, Bortles only threw eight interceptions.

Carolina Panthers vs. New Orleans Saints 4:40 pm ET
The NFC South was, arguably, the best division in football this season. They sent three teams to the post-season this year. Not to mention, the Falcons have already advanced to the divisional-round. There is a chance we could see an all-NFC South NFC championship game.
Back to this matchup, the Saints defeated Carolina both times they faced in the 2017 regular season. New Orleans’ defense has been a total shock this season. After week two, the Saints had one of the worst defenses in the NFL. They have completely flipped the switch, starting with rookie cornerback Marshon Lattimore. Not to mention, they have battled significant injuries on the defensive side of the ball, such as Kenny Vaccaro. This group is ranked 10th in points allowed per game.
The Saints bolster one of the more dangerous rushing-attacks with rookie phenom Alvin Kamara. He is having a breakout year. While, Mark Ingram is having another fantastic season. Drew Brees is also having another outstanding season. Among those who qualify, Brees has the best completion percentage in the NFL, 72%. Not to mention, he leads the league in yards per attempt. This is one of the most potent offenses in the league.
The Panthers are back in the playoffs after a disappointing 2016 campaign. The last time Carolina made the post-season, they reached the Super Bowl. Cam Newton has bounced back after a disappointing 2016 season. The Panthers’ offense is ranked 19th in terms of total offense, yet they have the fourth-ranked rushing attack.
Carolina’s defense is a top-ten unit. They are led by Thomas Davis Sr. and Luke Kuechly. The Panthers have the 18th ranked pass-defense and the third-ranked run-defense. This team is extremely inconsistent. The Panthers defeated New England in Foxboro, yet, they lost the Bears.
In their first meeting, the Saints won 34-13 in Carolina. In New Orleans, the Saints won 31-21. Will the Panthers finally defeat the Saints or will New Orleans complete the sweep?

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