EAGLES (+3) over Falcons; Under 41: Without Carson Wentz leading Philadelphia, twas no surprise the opening total was ground down a couple of points, as the world anticipates a chippy defensive battle. Nick Foles can be expected to lean on running backs LaGarrette Blount and Jay Ajayi to do business, while seeking to keep Matt Ryan twiddling his thumbs for long stretches.
With temps hovering around freezing (particularly in the second half), the key matchup here could well be the rate of success the Ryan/Julio Jones battery might enjoy against the Eagles secondary particularly their cornerbacks, since Jones consistently has done good business against the Philly defensive backfield. Still, anticipated windy conditions could be yet another factor aiding the home dogs.
Given Atlantas road-favorite role and the fact Philadelphia is shorthanded, neither side is expected to look to take foolish chances, with conservative offensive philosophies likely to hold sway. Multiple wise heads are adopting the historically sound postseason-home-dog position as their own, and they may be right though if that proves valid, its certainly not easy to envision this production going Over, either.
PATRIOTS (-13 ) over Titans; Over 48: The Pats continue to catch every break. It will be a warm Saturday morning, but the mercury is then expected to plunge, with temps below freezing by nightfall hardly ideal for a visitor out of Nashville fielding a finesse offense. But theyre here, after Andy Reid acted as if last weeks match was over at halftime (it was for him!), as Derrick Henry took significant advantage of the iffy Chiefs ground defense.
Though Kansas City has another inexplicable January loss to process, we consider the Titans, who with Marcus Mariota (a threatening mobile quarterback on his peak days and at his seasons best, right now) represents at the least a stylistic threat to New Englands defenders. Bill Belichicks stop unit has an uneven history against such types (see: Newton, Cam and Watson, Deshaun).
The Pats have been effusive in their praise of Mariota, though harbor scant doubt they will emerge on the long end of the scoreboard at Foxborough. But by what margin? Given its the Pats, they must be accorded the benefit of the doubt until the day comes its clearly no longer warranted, especially with key RB DeMarco Murray out for Tennessee and wideout Chris Hogan back in harness for the Pats.
Last weeks wild-card results: 2-2. Chiefs (L), Falcons (W), Bills (W), Saints (L).Over/unders: 4-0.
Follow Richard Witt on Twitter: @rich_witt1