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Can they keep it up as they head on the road again Saturday to Philadelphia?

The Falcons have that balanced offense – if Matt Ryan is efficient – to challenge any opponents. Where they made their mark against the Rams was on defense.

”We don’t have a (complicated) defense Jawaan Taylor Jersey , but we are very detailed,” says defensive coordinator Marquand Manuel, a former NFL player who got the job last February. ”And the detail of expectations of understanding that they have to make our defense come to life, and they’re doing an awesome job at it.”

Philadelphia’s defense has been up and down recently, and it has dealt with a bunch of injuries. Depth has been a plus for Jim Schwartz’s unit.

The edge here belongs to Atlanta at quarterback – if Ryan is efficient – with backup Nick Foles running the offense for the Eagles. It wouldn’t be shocking to see Foles fly. Or struggle.

The Falcons are 2-point favorites over the top-seeded Eagles, a highly unusual occurrence. But one that, with Carson Wentz on the sideline, makes enough sense.

FALCONS, 23-19

Tennessee (plus 13) at New England, Saturday

The Patriots are rested. They’re supposedly ticked off. They’re pretty healthy.

And they are miles better than the Titans.

Still, let’s give Tennessee tremendous credit for how it rallied in Kansas City. The Titans showed resolve and an ability to come up with big plays on offense that few expected.

”You’ve got every team fighting to play for the next week,” Patriots safety Devin McCourty says. ”Nobody’s going to go out there – and I don’t care if you’re down, if you’re up – like no one is going to quit. So, that’s something I think we always talk about, and obviously you could see it in that game against Kansas City.”

But this one is in New England. Yes, it’s gotten tiresome to travel (and travel, and travel) to Foxborough for playoff games. There’ll be another one up there next weekend.

BEST BET: PATRIOTS Josh Oliver Jersey , 30-10

Jacksonville (plus 7+) at Pittsburgh, Sunday

One thing about the Steelers: They tend to play much closer games than they should. Based on talent alone, they probably are the NFL’s most skilled squad.

Here comes Jacksonville, following an offensive stinker in beating outmanned Buffalo. Logic says this should be a rout.

Forget logic and remember that Ben Roethlisberger was so victimized in a 30-9 Week 5 loss to the Jaguars that he had one of the worst games of his career.

There’s also the Antonio Brown factor: How healthy is the unanimous All-Pro receiver, who was injured in Week 15?

Jacksonville has a staunch defense with a terrific pass rush, too. Its secondary is among the league’s best.

OK, enough of that. We can’t make a case for Blake Bortles winning in Pittsburgh.

STEELERS, 21-16

New Orleans (plus 4) at Minnesota, Sunday

What figures to be the best game of the divisional round, a redux of the Vikings’ 29-19 home victory in the season opener.

Both sides are balanced and have enough experience to handle the pressure. While the Saints have the Hall of Fame-level skills of Drew Brees at quarterback, Minnesota’s Case Keenum has been among the most pleasant surprises in the league.

Look for this one to come down to which defense asserts itself. Coach Mike Zimmer has built quite the unit in the Twin Cities.

”Well, you want to have pass rushers, you want to have guys that can cover,” he says. ”Without giving away all my secrets, I like a certain body type with guys. You can kind of look at most of them and tell what we’re trying to get. Athleticism, guys who can think quickly on their feet, safeties that have versatility http://www.jaguarscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-quincy-williams-ii-jersey , corners who can cover.”

Sounds like a winner.

VIKINGS, 20-17



2017 RECORD:

Last week: Against spread (2-2). Straight up (1-3)

Season Totals: Against spread (119-122-10). Straight up: (163-95)

Best Bet: 9-9 against spread, 10-8 straight up.

Upset special: 10-8 against spread, 9-9 straight up



THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) — Todd Gurley never had a true running partner during his first four regular seasons with the Los Angeles Rams.The superstar running back took most of the carries and grinded out most of the tough yards while his backups played only sparingly.When he suited up with C.J. Anderson for the first time last weekend during the Rams’ divisional playoff win over Dallas, Gurley truly shared the big carries for one of the first times in his NFL career.As the New Orleans Saints have already noticed, the tandem was pretty much unstoppable.“I guess it was a good thing I got hurt,” Gurley said with a laugh.Gurley’s knee injury last month led the Rams to sign Anderson, a six-year veteran who had been released by three NFL teams in the previous eight months. Anderson hit the ground running with 299 yards in the Rams’ final two regular season victories while Gurley sat out.When Gurley and Anderson suited up together against the Cowboys, their contrasting styles and similar relentlessness made history. Anderson went for 123 yards and two touchdowns, while Gurley rushed for 115 yards and another score as they propelled the Rams to a franchise playoff-record 273 yards rushing and on to the NFC championship game on Sunday.The Saints have already watched film of this partnership’s debut, and they know what’s coming to the Superdome.“Being able to split time with (Anderson) and Gurley, it does good things for them,” Saints linebacker A.J. Klein said. “It gets Gurley some rest and gets him some carries, and vice versa. It keeps them fresh. And obviously you can tell when they’re running the ball, they’re not tired. They’re fresh and they’re running hard.”The Rams’ dynamic duo presents a remarkable contrast at the position.Gurley is a powerful, majestic runner capable of injuring would-be tacklers as easily as breaking past safeties for a length-of-the-field TD sprint.Anderson is 5-foot-8 and a self-described “fat kid running.” While he hits holes and linebackers ferociously Ryquell Armstead Jersey , he isn’t planning to break away from any defensive backs anytime soon.“From the 40 in. That’s it,” he said Sunday when asked to imagine his longest possible TD run. “Can’t go 70. Todd can go 70, 80 if he wants to. Me, from the 40 in, man. When they say the 40 at the combine matters, that’s where it matters.”Gurley and Anderson present a stark contrast in running styles, but they already looked like good teammates against the Cowboys. Gurley and Anderson largely substituted themselves, each waving the other on or off the field, depending on whether they were tired, or felt they had the metaphorical hot hand.Anderson, who won a Super Bowl with the Broncos three years ago, still seems a bit surprised to be deep in the playoffs just a few weeks after he was unemployed. He understands his place in the Rams’ larger picture, and he willingly defers to Gurley.“Whatever Todd wanted to do, we were going to ride with anyway,” Anderson said of the substitution plan against Dallas. “If he wanted to play 98 percent of the snaps, we were going to let the man be the man. That’s why he’s one of the best backs in the league.“But I think him seeing the opportunity of being fresh and not taking as many hits and (not) having the workload on passing downs and run downs, I think that helps him. And vice versa for myself. I’ve been in a position where I was a starter and I was the same way http://www.jaguarscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-gardner-minshew-ii-jersey , when I was in Denver. I’ve always told him, ‘You want to be fresh,’ and when you’re fresh, obviously more explosive runs for the both of us.”Gurley tore his knee ligament during his final season at Georgia, and his rookie season didn’t start until the Rams’ third game. Since then, he has been one of the NFL’s most durable backs, even without having a heavily used backup.Malcolm Brown joined the Rams with Gurley in 2015, and he has been Gurley’s primary backup during coach Sean McVay’s two-year tenure.Brown averaged 4.9 yards on 43 carries this season, matching Gurley’s per-carry average. But Brown has just 106 carries in the past two seasons to Gurley’s 535, and he went on injured reserve last month after he injured his collarbone, forcing the Rams to sign Anderson.Gurley had the ball on 74 percent of the Rams’ rushing plays in the 2016 season and 61 percent of the rushing plays in 2017. He carried the ball on 55 percent of LA’s 459 rushing plays this season while sitting out the final two games as Anderson ran wild.Gurley also points out the obvious: Even with this fascinating tailback tandem, the Rams run the ball well because of their powerful offensive line.“When we dominate at the line of scrimmage, nine times out of 10, we’re going to win,” Gurley said. “They always give the running backs the credit, but you see what those guys did. You see who led this team to a victory.”


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