Wildcard weekend did NOTHING to let us down or have our display of passion we have for football die. The NFC games had it all nail bitters, clutch performances, and heartbreak. You survive and advance to the next round and now the Rams and Saints who sat at home for a week step into the arena. But before we dive into that a quick note on the Bears and Seahawks seasons and moving ahead to next season. For the Bears, not many people saw this type of year coming at all a division title and a home playoff game.
They have found their quarterback in Mitch Trubisky that 2-minute drill showcased what this kid can be and what he brings to the field. Also, the defense will only get better which should put the fear of God in the rest of the league. I say grab a good wideout in the draft or free agency. The Seahawks need more playmakers for Russell Wilson mainly at tight end and address the offensive line PLEASE and add to the defense Legion Of Boom 2.0. Now to the games at hand, these two NFC games have a lot to live up to after last weekend who wins and why?
Philadelphia Eagles (9-7) vs New Orleans Saints (13-3) Sunday 4:40 pm
The legend of Nick Foles is REAL, and it’s spectacular! From the drop of the arm sidearm game-winning toss to Golden Nate to the long bombs that seem to stay in the air forever. He did it again and the Eagles defend their title on the road with a shot at a return to the NFC title game on the line. The last time these two teams played Drew Brees and company put it on them, that will be the fire burning inside the Eagles along with the heart of that champion.
The Eagles secondary has thrown together some guys off the street who now have a decent chance at making plays and giving Saints a better challenge. Guys like Avonte Maddox are getting more comfortable and it shows on the field. On offense, it’s all about Foles making plays getting the ball downfield to guys like Alshon Jeffrey and Zach Ertz. Sprinkle in some run game to keep Saints honest or face a SUPER underrated New Orleans pass rush.
On the defensive side, they have to attack Brees and limit the running game. Sounds easy hard to do, the two head monster of Ingram and Kamara is one of if not the best combos in the league. Fletcher Cox, Michael Bennett and they front 7 must set a tone early and maintain it. Not having a decent pass rush will be a death sentence for the Eagles.
I have two for the champs and that is Nick Foles and Malcolm Jenkins. Foles is the guy who sets things off for this tea, they just seem to be more relaxed and calm when he is on the field and doing what he does. The Saints have a defense no one talks about and they can make plays if mistakes are made so taking what is there and making the big play is important. Going head to head against one of the best QB’s ever has to get the blood flowing and the weapons he has are good and he gets them the ball in spots to make plays.
Malcolm Jenkins is the heart of the defense and he needs to show up BIG he was roasted last matchup and revenge is on his mind. Jenkins can make things difficult for New Orleans and that is what you want, I am sure the Eagles are watching the Cowboys vs Saints tape this week.
Fresh legs and a hunger to get to the Super Bowl it is time to light it up at the dome, but the Eagles are the defending champs and won’t roll over. Drew Brees in any other year without Patrick Mahomes playing like a Madden video game is an MVP. Last time they lined up Mr. Brees threw for 363 yards and as a team 546 total yards so why not do it again? This team is LOADED and oh yea welcome back Ted Ginn Jr. This is the moment they brass in New Orleans have been waiting for after 3-years of 7-9 seasons a home game with an offensive juggernaut and defense no one seems to talk about.
Getting off to a fast start will put a little bit of doubt in the Eagles so look for them to pound the rock and get the ball to Kamara and Thomas in space. As a team, they have to know that Brees won’t have many more seasons left so this is a chance they can’t let slip by. Everyone talks about home-field advantage not meaning much but that theory is mute when you set foot in the dome where dreams and voices go to die.
For what they can do with the ball in their hands and space I have to go with Alvin Kamara and Ted Ginn Jr. two EXPLOSIVE dudes.
I am chugging the Foles kool-aid and taking the Eagles 24-21 in another NFC classic. BUT, I wouldn’t be mad about a Saints Vs Rams game for a trip to the ATL.
Dallas Cowboys(10-6) vs Los Angeles Rams (13-3) Saturday 8:15 pm
After last years one and down and then the offseason splashes this is a HUGE game for the Rams. Once again they have played at home and have had time to rest and prepare for a hungry Cowboys team. In my opinion, all the pressure is on them, can you imagine all the talk if they get dumped again? Sean McVay is the hottest name in coaching and every team wants his clone but they also want to win. So many players on this team have a chance to start writing their legacy some that come to mind are Jarred Goff, Todd Gurley and the man everyone likes to hate Ndamukong Suh.
They lost some players to injuries and had Goff hit a bit of a wall but he bounced back and C.J. Anderson has fresh legs to add with Gurley. In this game, they have to do what they do best, which is feed #30 and find creative ways to get the ball to their playmakers. This defense needs to show us all the promise we thought it had during the offseason. And don’t think for a second just like his players Sean McVay hears the haters talking about him and wants his first playoff win.
It’s corny and old but Todd Gurley is the straw that stirs the drink for the Rams. If he is able to run for big gains creating 3 and shorts for them it will be a long day for the Cowboys. Jared Goff is 24 years old and showed the entire league what he can do now Rams fans have to hope the slump is over and he can sling the rock all over the place Saturday.
I will go overboard a bit on this one and say this is a moment for the Cowboys a big-time moment. What I mean is they have a shot at a new triplets Dak, Zeke and Amari all young and super talented. Win this game and make the NFC championship game and this defense is legit so combine them with the guys on the offense and it could be a long couple of seasons for teams in the NFC. But first they have to win this game, and it won’t be a cake walk as I said this team is young so I wonder if the moment too big for some of them.
How many times have we seen them leave the running game and have Dak drop back 30 times? Is the game too big for what some would call a suspect coaching staff? When is the last time Jason Garett wowed us with halftime adjustments or a killer game plan? Is this the week?
I am a die hard Redskins fan so it pains me to type this but I can’t bias I love Dak Prescott! His fire what he brings to the field he knows what he can and can’t do and leaves it all on the field. This is not the week for Dallas to try something new it is the week to feed Zeke and take shots down the field when you can. Also, take advantage of the Rams pass rushers and hit them with screens.
Too many to name really but I will go with Jaylon Smith who has to shut Gurley down. If they make him a non-factor the chances of a win go up and Smith has been one of the best linebackers in the league. Where are all those who thought he was too big of a risk to draft coming out of Notre Dame off of a horrific injury? His tag team partner Leighton Vander Esch the lone wolf is no bum either.
The time is NOW for the Rams too much talent and the extra week to prepare I take L.A. 31-21 too send Dallas home and march onto to NFC Championship Sunday
Enjoy the games and stick with @NutsAndBoltsSP for coverage, live game commentary, and recaps. The march to Atlanta rolls on! Looking forward to seeing who reaches the NFC Championship game.