One thing the Vikings do well is stop the run. The Vikings surrendered just 83.6 yards per game on the ground in 2017, which ranked second in the NFL, and that number is a big reason why the Eagles might have to rely on Foles this week. If Jay Ajayi and LeGarrette Blount can’t find room to run, it’s going to be up to Foles to keep the Eagles offense moving.
In the early game on Saturday, the No. 1 seed Philadelphia Eagles will play host to the No. 6 seed Atlanta Falcons in an NFC matchup. Atlanta, the owner of last year’s No. 1 offense, defeated this year’s No. 1 offense (Rams), and now must travel north to Philadelphia and take on the Carson Wentz-less Eagles. Philly stumbled a bit down the stretch of the season but still has a strong defense and running game, and home-field advantage.
On Saturday night, the No. 1 seed New England Patriots will host the No. 5 seed Tennessee Titans in an AFC matchup. The Pats are heavy favorites, but the Titans are coming off a monster comeback victory over the Chiefs in their first round matchup. Tennessee’s strength is running the ball, which is New England’s exact weakness on defense. The Titans will have to figure out a way to stop Tom Brady, though, if they want to come away with a win.
In the first of Sunday’s two rematches, the No. 2 seed Pittsburgh Steelers will host the No. 3 seed Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jags beat up on the Steelers in Pittsburgh earlier this season, forcing Ben Roethlisberger into five interceptions in a 30-9 win.
I don’t know if anything has really changed except the panic of being left out and not getting the money, said Rob Rang, a veteran talent evaluator for NFLDraftScout.com. In today’s world of social media and expectations, young players are more easily convinced to try to take advantage of their perceived draft value.
The NFL began accepting prospects three years out of high school 29 years ago. That league tenet has survived periodic legal challenges for three decades. All of it has created a micro-population of elite athletes with something less than a full grasp of the process.