LAST weekend's surprise road warriors Tennessee and Atlanta sample the trappings of success this week in the form of visits to the top two seeds in the NFL – the Patriots and Eagles – as they continue their play-off odyssey.

Only a few fancied the Falcons to upset the high-flying Rams in LA last week, but even fewer fancied a bang average Titans unit to win in Kansas City – especially when the Chiefs went 21-3 up by half time! Strange things happen in the post-season, though..

This week, NFC top dogs Philadelphia enter the fray but are now suddenly home underdogs against the flying Falcons, while it would be the shock to end all shocks if the Titans upset Super Bowl champs New England at Gillette Stadium.

No surprise to see the Pats are 2.75 favourites to retain their Super Bowl title but the Falcons are now just 10.00 to set-up a titanic rematch, despite having to play away from home throughout the play-offs – it's no mean feat, but it has been done. What will Saturday's Divisional Round games bring us?

Falcons @ Eagles (Sat 9.35pm)

That Super Bowl hangover has turned into a huge chip on the shoulder of the Atlanta Falcons, who have effectively been playing play-off football for weeks. They beat Carolina to get into the play-offs, then produced a fine all-round performance to restrict the league's best offence to just 13 points in LA.

Matt Ryan is as good as anyone in the play-offs and he's the main reason they're 1.65 favourites after he posted a fifth straight play-off game with a passer rating of at least 100 – only the great Joe Montana has more.

Ryan looks to be back on the same page with receiver Julio Jones after his nine-catch outing against the Rams and they still boast a fine run game. They settled for a few too many field goals last week but if their defence shows up again they'll try the same trick as in LA of running the ball and controlling the clock.

The Eagles were the league's best team before losing arguably the league's best player in QB Carson Wentz to injury, and at 2.30 they have the dubious honour of being the first top seed to be underdog in their opening play-off game! This is mainly due to poor Nick Foles having to try replicate the play of big MVP candidate Wentz.

Philadelphia dropped from 28 to 15 points a game with Foles at the helm, so may have to rely on their well-oiled defence, that ranked first against the run and fourth in yard and points allowed. Worryingly, though, their pass defence started leaking touchdowns down the stretch, and if they force Ryan to throw he could well exploit that trend.

Titans @ Patriots (Sun 1.15am)

What a win that was for the Titans, coming from 18 points down to beat the Chiefs 22-21! One thing's for sure this week, if they go 18 points down in New England they aren't coming back from that against the Super Bowl champions – even if they are suffering from some tension behind the scenes.

Titans QB Marcus Mariota was not so great in traditional situations, but he's amazingly elusive outside of the pocket and has excellent improvisation – he even managed to throw a TD pass to himself! New England will have to bottle him and bruising running back Derrick Henry up, but the Titans would need to stay in the game to replicate last week's second have miracle.

The Patriots have hit the headlines even when not playing thanks to a story about behind-the-scenes tension, but Bill Belichick will no doubt use that to motivate a team coming off a ninth straight divisional title and 14th in the last 15 years. Tom Brady led the NFL in passing yards despite turning 40 and also leads almost all the play-off stats – he's also had a week off and has the rare treat of a fully healthy Rob Gronkowski in January.

New England are short enough at 1.10, but the 7.50 for the Titans could even be larger if not for the manner of last week's win – when they also overcame a host of mistakes and some dodgy play calling. They won't get away with that against the Patriots.

Best bets

  • Julio Jones (Falcons) TD scorer
  • (6-5, Unibet)
  • Rob Gronkowski (Patriots) TD scorer
  • (67-100, Unibet)
3 Comments
  1. Jordan 9 months ago

    Scott just a pointer that these are for Saturday and Sundays games. No Thursday night games during the playoffs.

    An NBA total from me tonight. Its been bet up a couple of point so I’m going with the movement and bookmaker shades.

    Clippers/Kings Over 209.5 Total Points @ 4/5 @ 888Sport – 2.5 points

  2. Jordan 9 months ago

    Hi gents. Playoff action tonight and I’m on a bet from each game.

    The Falcons should win despite being in the road again. Philadelphia might have finished first in the NFC, but without Went they have really struggled on offence. Foles vs Ryan? Shouldn’t be too much of a contest. Home advantage is always a myth when you go down two scores early.

    Atlanta Falcons -2.5 @ 20/23 @ 365 – 4.6 points

    The Titans did well to knock off the Chiefs last week, but losing Kelce in the first half was a big blow which saw Kansas put up a 0 in the second half. Not a chance in a blue moon that the Patriots won’t score in the second half.

    New England Patriots Over 30.5 Team Points @ 20/21 @ Betway – 2.1 points

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