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edge staff writer


Kibbles and Picks – Divisional Round 2018

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Not going to lie – I feel a little better.

Sure, I suffered predictive indignity at the adorable little paws of my dog Stella yet again this NFL season. It’s not like I’m not used to it by now.

But things like this past Wild Card weekend certainly do buoy my spirits and let me feel – even if for a moment – that maybe my dog isn’t actually smarter than I am.

I went 3-1 picking Wild Card winners, missing out only on the Titans victory over Kansas City (and I was far from alone on that one). Meanwhile, Stella whiffed on every game except the Jags/Bills matchup.

Of course, one week does not a victor make. And there’s room for movement – we once again differ on both games on the NFC side, while we’re in agreement on the AFC.

We’re obviously both taking the Patriots – it seems safe to say that Tennessee’s chances are slim at best in this one. Sure, there has been a lot of palace intrigue talk surrounding New England recently, but none of those distractions will be enough to keep the Titans hanging around. I think it’ll be a blowout, Stella thinks it’ll be closer than you think, but we both fully expect the Pats to win.

It’s not as easy a call in the other AFC game, but we’re still both in agreement that the Jacksonville playoff run is about to come to an end in Pittsburgh. That Jaguars defense is incredible – and the Steelers have shown themselves to be occasionally mistake-prone – but in the end, it’s hard to think that Ben Roethlisberger and company will fall. It’ll be a slugfest, but Pittsburgh will prevail.

As for the NFC matchups, I’ve gone with the road teams, while Stella’s looking for some home cooking.

In the weekend’s first game, I like Atlanta to go into Philadelphia and take down a depleted Eagles team. Without Carson Wentz under center, I just don’t think Philly can keep up with a Falcons team that looks to be peaking at the perfect time. Nick Foles at QB doesn’t scare anybody. And Matt Ryan has Atlanta performing like a group on a mission. Stella concedes that Foles isn’t scary, but she also thinks we shouldn’t dismiss the Eagles. Wentz was the star, but he wasn’t alone – there’s other talent here. And she particularly likes the Philly D on their home field. I’m calling Falcons in a rout; Stella’s got the Eagles winning a close one.

And in the last game of the weekend, I’m looking for the Saints to end Minnesota’s quest to become the first team to play a Super Bowl on its home field. Drew Brees looked great in beating the Panthers; if Mark Ingram and/or Alvin Kamara can get going, even the vaunted Vikings defense will struggle to slow them down. Stella’s feeling is that that will be precisely the problem for New Orleans – an inability to establish the ground game. The Vikings will force a mistake or two and capitalize. Minnesota is ready for this game; she thinks the Case Keenum-led offense will be able to handle an admittedly-strong Saints defense. Stella and I both think that it’s coming down to one or two big plays – we just disagree on which team will make them.

So there you have it. I’m winning! For how long? Well, that’s anyone’s guess. That’s why they play the games.

Stella, as per usual, is unconcerned.

(winners in caps)



Saturday, Jan. 13

ATLANTA at Philadelphia

Tennessee at NEW ENGLAND

Sunday, Jan. 14

Jacksonville at PITTSBURGH

NEW ORLEANS at Minnesota

Wild Card record: 3-1

Postseason record: 3-1



Saturday, Jan. 13


Tennessee at NEW ENGLAND

Sunday, Jan. 14

Jacksonville at PITTSBURGH

New Orleans at MINNESOTA

Wild Card record: 1-3

Postseason record: 1-3


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