A rematch of heavyweights set to brawl in the Big Easy for a ticket to Super Bowl LIII
The Los Angeles Rams make their second trip to the Crescent City to battle the New Orleans Saints this season as the top two seeds meet in the NFC Championship game on Sunday. The Rams (14-3) and Saints (14-3) find themselves one victory away from a spot in Super Bowl LIII after taking care of business at home last week in the Divisional Round of the playoffs.
Los Angeles trampled Dallas 30-22 out on the West Coast last Saturday. The Rams’ tandem of C.J. Anderson and Todd Gurley piled up 238 rushing yards and three touchdowns while averaging more than six yards per carry (on 39 total attempts). Los Angeles controlled both sides of the line of scrimmage, limiting Dallas to just 50 rushing yards, and dominated time of possession (36:13 to 23:47).
New Orleans stumbled through the first quarter of its game this past Sunday against Philadelphia. Drew Brees threw an interception on the first play from scrimmage and the Eagles jumped out to a quick 14-0 lead. But a Marshon Lattimore pick of Nick Foles started to turn the tide, as the Saints’ offense found its footing and the defense shut Philadelphia out the rest of the way. After a shaky start, the Brees-to-Michael Thomas connection got going as New Orleans went on to score the final 20 points of the game.
These two teams met in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome back in Week 9 as the Saints won a high-scoring affair 45-35. The offenses combined for 970 yards with Brees (346 yards, 4 TDs) and Jared Goff (391, 3) both filling up the stat sheet. Thomas (211 yards) also made his presence felt as New Orleans handed the Rams their first loss of the season. That game ended up being the tiebreaker for the No. 1 seed and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
NFC Championship: Los Angeles at New Orleans
Kickoff: Sunday, Jan. 20 at 3:05 p.m. ET
Spread: Saints -3.5
Three Things to Watch
1. Michael Thomas vs. Rams’ secondary
Last week against Philadelphia, Thomas hauled in 12 catches for 171 yards and a touchdown. The receptions were his highest since Week 9 when he went for 211 and a score on 12 grabs against the Rams. Will the All-Pro continue to have success against Los Angeles’ defense?
The Rams’ secondary will include a key component who was missing from the teams’ previous matchup. Starting cornerback Aqib Talib will start this Sunday after missing half of the regular season (Weeks 4-12) because of an ankle injury.
How much of a difference will Talib make? In the nine games (including last week’s playoff win) Talib has played this season, Los Angeles is giving up 206.3 passing yards and 17.7 points per game. Without him, those numbers jump to 272.6 and 30.8.
Additionally, no one should forget about the on-going squabble between Rams’ cornerback Marcus Peters and Saints’ head coach Sean Payton. Those two bantered during the first meeting in November. The feisty rhetoric continued this week. Despite what Peters mentioned, it seems unlikely that these two will sit down together to enjoy some gumbo. Will the Saints’ receivers go out and back up their coach’s trash talk?
2. Todd Gurley/C.J. Anderson vs. Saints’ front seven
Gurley’s production dipped toward the end of the regular season as he dealt with a knee injury that caused him to miss the last two games. Before that he failed to gain 50 rushing yards in Weeks 14 or 15, but he did remain a factor in the passing game (combined 13 catches for 106 yards).
But the positive for the Rams was that Gurley’s absence opened up an opportunity for C.J. Anderson, who the team signed following his release by Carolina. The former 1,000-yard rusher showed he was still capable of carrying the load, as he went for nearly 300 yards in the final two games of the regular season and then led the team with 123 in the Divisional Round win over Dallas. Not to be outdone, Gurley showed he was plenty healthy by going for 115 and averaging a robust 7.2 yards per carry against the Cowboys.
The duo will look to keep things going against a New Orleans defense that finished second in the regular season vs. the run (80.2 ypg). In the first meeting, the Rams managed 92 rushing yards and a touchdown on 19 carries with Gurley responsible for most of the damage (68 yards, TD, 5.2 ypc). Anderson wasn’t with Los Angeles then but you can pretty much expect head coach Sean McVay will call on both of his backs on Sunday.
3. Saints’ offensive line vs. Rams’ defensive line
New Orleans has done a superb job of keeping Drew Brees upright. He took all but a small percentage of the snaps from center in 15 games during the regular season with opponents registering a total of 17 sacks. No other quarterback started as many games yet was sacked so few times this season. To put it another way, he was sacked during just 3.4 percent of his pass attempts. That’s the second-lowest rate in the NFL even though Brees attempted nearly 500 passes (489, 16th).
Los Angeles has a formidable trio that anchors its defensive line. It starts with Aaron Donald, the All-Pro who is the front-runner to win NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors for the second straight year after racking up 20.5 sacks, 25 tackles for a loss, four forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries in the regular season. Ndamukong Suh has done his part clogging things in the middle while Michael Brockers chips in as the other starting defensive end. These three have started all 17 games together and are tasked with making plays behind the line of scrimmage and getting pressure on Brees, even if it doesn’t result in a sack. Their effectiveness will dictate how the linebackers are used by veteran defensive coordinator Wade Phillips.
Can the Saints’ offensive line hold up against the Rams’ fearsome threesome? Three Saints’ linemen were flagged for holding versus the Eagles. Andrus Peat struggled in particular, with two holding calls against him. He is expected to play Sunday in spite of his broken hand, which clearly hampered him last week. Considering that Donald leads the NFL in sacks and tackles for a loss, New Orleans cannot let him dominate a the point of attack and take over the game, even if that means double-teaming him.
The NFC bracket held to form to give us a No. 1 vs. No. 2 championship game. As a result, fans will witness two evenly matched teams that are tied for the best records in the NFL. If the regular-season matchup foreshadows what will happen in this one, another high-scoring contest awaits.
But this game appears headed for a closer finish than what transpired back in November. The Saints had a 21-point lead late in the first half before a field goal made it 35-17. The Rams battled all the way back to tie the game with less than 10 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter only to watch New Orleans score the next 10 points over a three-minute span. Sunday’s matchup figures to stay tight for the duration and may even need overtime to decide the winner.
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Embracing their underdog standing, the Philadelphia Eagles will get to play the role once more, in the Super Bowl.
Nick Foles tossed three touchdown passes, and the Eagles scored 38 unanswered points en route to a 38-7 win over the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field.
LeGarrette Blount rushed for a touchdown, the Philadelphia defense forced two turnovers, and the Eagles advanced to the Super Bowl for the first time since the 2004 season, when they lost the title to the New England Patriots.
The Eagles will face the Patriots once again with a chance at a Super Bowl championship, this time on Feb. 4 in Minneapolis.
Despite being the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs, the Eagles were home underdogs both last week against the Atlanta Falcons and Sunday against the Vikings.
“I don’t think many people had us in the Super Bowl before the season started,” Eagles center Jason Kelce said. “When the injuries started piling up, people didn’t have us there. When (quarterback) Carson Wentz got injured? Doubt anyone had us penciled in. We made it. We’re a team in every way. It feels so great, man.”
The Eagles will aim for the first Super Bowl title in franchise history. Before falling to the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX, they lost to the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl XV following the 1980 season.
The Vikings, meanwhile, dropped their sixth consecutive NFC Championship Game appearance.
Minnesota had been in search of its first trip to the Super Bowl since the 1976 season.
“I’m going to take this feeling, bottle it up and make sure it doesn’t happen again,” Vikings quarterback Case Keenum said.
Foles connected on a 41-yard touchdown with Torrey Smith on a flea flicker on the first drive of the third quarter as the Eagles extended their lead to 31-7.
Alshon Jeffery caught made his second touchdown catch of the game, a 5-yarder from Foles, with 14:10 left in the fourth for a 38-7 lead. The Eagles moved 92 yards in 12 plays, and the outcome was sealed.
“I’m excited to be going for a Super Bowl with this group of guys,” Blount said. “I love this team. My teammates are the greatest. We stick together through everything and rally around each other. We have one more to go.”
The game didn’t start perfectly for the Eagles. Minnesota moved effectively on its opening drive, going 75 yards on nine plays, culminating with a 25-yard touchdown pass from Keenum to Kyle Rudolph with 10:14 left in the first quarter.
“You have to give those guys credit,” Keenum said of the Eagles’ defense. “This was the best front we’ve faced this year.”
The Eagles tied the game at 7 when defensive end Chris Long hit Keenum leading to a Patrick Robinson interception. Robinson returned the pick 50 yards for a score with 6:26 remaining in the first.
When Blount rumbled through the middle for an 11-yard touchdown run with 13:37 remaining in the second, the Eagles went ahead 14-7. The drive covered 75 yards in 12 plays.
The Vikings looked to tie the game — or at least kick a field goal — late in the first half, but Keenum was sacked by Derek Barnett on third-and-5 from the Philadelphia 16. Long recovered the fumble.
Foles proved his mettle on the ensuing possession as he tossed a spectacular 53-yard touchdown pass to Jeffery on third-and-10, giving the Eagles a 21-7 lead with 1:09 remaining in the half. Foles was able to move around long enough to be able to deliver the deep pass.
After the defense did its job, the Eagles didn’t run out the clock. They quickly moved down the field and Jake Elliott booted a 38-yard field as time expired for a 24-7 lead at halftime.
Foles wound up 26 of 33 for 352 yards. Tight end Zach Ertz led the Eagles with eight receptions for 93 yards, while Jeffery had five catches for 85 yards. Jay Ajayi paced the Philadelphia ground game with 73 yards on 18 carries.
Keenum finished 28 of 48 for 271 yards with one touchdown pass and two interceptions. Running back Jerick McKinnon had 11 receptions for 86 yards and added 10 carries for 40 yards.
NFL Football 2017-18 Season
NFC East Division Preview
With the days and weeks of summer ticking by, the arrival of a new NFL season continues to approach. Fans still have to wait until September 7th for Kansas City and New England to kick off in Gillette Stadium, but they don’t have to wait much longer for pre-season football starting August 3rd at FanPicks. To get you ready for the new season, here’s the outlook of NFC East teams.
The plan for Dak Prescott last season was for him to sit, watch and learn behind Tony Romo. But the Cowboys’ best-laid plans blew up in training camp when backup quarterback Kellen Moore broke his right leg and, three weeks later, Romo fractured his back. Prescott, a fourth-round selection, had arguably the best rookie season by a quarterback in NFL history and won Offensive Rookie of the Year over teammate Ezekiel Elliott. Prescott pushed Romo into retirement, with the Cowboys handing the keys to the youngster. Moore, who missed all of last season, re-signed. The 27-year-old veteran is a favorite of offensive coordinator Scott Linehan.
Running back Ezekiel Elliott led the league in rushing as a rookie, gaining 1,631 yards and earning six MVP votes. Elliott could contribute more in the passing game after the free-agent departure of third-down back Lance Dunbar. The Cowboys aren’t worried about Elliott’s workload after giving him 354 touches last season. Elliott had 322 carries and 32 receptions in 716 offensive snaps in the regular season. He played another 56 snaps with 23 touches in the postseason. (DeMarco Murray had 449 touches on 782 snaps in 2014 for the Cowboys when he led the league in rushing.) Elliott gained 833 yards and scored seven touchdowns on 166 first-half carries — a 5.02 average per carry — and 922 yards and eight touchdowns on 178 carries in the second half and overtime, a 5.18 average per carry.
Receivers Cole Beasley, Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams combined for 169 receptions, 2,223 yards and 17 touchdowns last season. They rank among the best units in the league. While Bryant remains their big-play receiver, Prescott found a security blanket in Beasley, who led the team in receptions (75) and receiving yards (833) for the first time. The Cowboys re-signed Brice Butler as their fourth receiver and added North Carolina’s Ryan Switzer in the draft. Switzer is a Beasley lookalike and will likely replace Lucky Whitehead.
Veteran tight end Jason Witten signed a new deal in the offseason that virtually assures he will finish his career with the Cowboys. Although he played all 16 games for a 13th consecutive season, Witten isn’t the same Pro Bowl tight end he once was.
New York Giants
One of the biggest selling points for hiring Ben McAdoo as Tom Coughlin’s replacement a year ago for the head coach position was the fact that the Giants’ offense finished in the top 10 in both of his seasons as offensive coordinator. Quarterback Eli Manning was thriving and the Giants didn’t want to lose that momentum. So imagine their shock when they finished 25th in the league in total offense in 2016 and averaged less than 20 points per game.
Receiver Odell Beckham Jr. has emerged as one of the top playmakers in the game, but the Giants became overly reliant on the All-Pro from LSU. He suffered through a nightmarish performance against Green Bay in his first career playoff game. The Giants need to diversify. Gone is Victor Cruz, who just wasn’t his old self after knee and calf surgeries. In is Brandon Marshall, the big ex-Jet who at 6’4″ is the tallest regular receiver they’ve had since the days of Plaxico Burress (6’5″) and Amani Toomer (6’3″). Manning has been desperate for a big target, especially in the red zone. Marshall and slot receiver Sterling Shepard should take plenty of defensive attention away from Beckham.
The Giants also added speedy tight end Evan Engram in the first round of the draft. Engram is really more of a receiver, but he will replace the unreliable Will Tye and Larry Donnell as a deep option over the middle and provide another weapon who can free up Beckham. Also, the speedy Paul Perkins is taking over for the aging Rashad Jennings at running back, and the hope is that his emergence will force defenses to concentrate on the run more in 2017.
Quarterback Carson Wentz set an NFL rookie record for most completions in a season (379) while posting the fourth-most passing yards (3,782) for a first-year player in league history. He started every game, and while his completion percentage dipped as the season progressed and he had some issues with mechanics, Wentz’s rookie season was a success by any measure.
The Eagles decided during the offseason to invest their limited salary cap space on some receivers for him to target. Last year’s crop of wideouts was disappointing, and that’s being kind. Second-year man Nelson Agholor was overmatched, to the point where he was a healthy scratch one week. Dorial Green-Beckham was wildly inconsistent, and even though Jordan Matthews caught 73 balls, he averaged a meager 11.0 yards per reception. So, the Eagles went shopping and purchased Alshon Jeffery for $14 million for one season and Torrey Smith for $15 million over three seasons. They also added a couple of prospects via the draft.
As usual, Zach Ertz looked good at the end of 2016, when the games didn’t matter, and led the team with 78 receptions. But he must become more consistent and deliver in more important situations.
By the end of last year, the Eagles’ running back situation was a mess. Ryan Mathews’ neck injury made him unlikely to return. Faced with the prospect of heading into 2017 with Darren Sproles and Wendell Smallwood as their holdovers, the Eagles signed LeGarrette Blount late in the spring. While Sproles is a veteran hybrid unable to handle many carries, and second-year man Smallwood also lacks size, Blount gives Philadelphia a big back who can get tough yards, especially in the red zone.
Despite the gaudy numbers the offense produced in 2016 — when the Redskins ranked third in the NFL in total yards and second in passing yards — there will still be major changes this season, among them a new coordinator (Matt Cavanaugh, promoted from quarterbacks coach), a new primary play caller (head coach Jay Gruden), a new quarterbacks coach (newly hired Kevin O’Connell) and a rebuilt wide receiver corps, with Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson (who combined for 2,046 receiving yards last season) now gone, and Terrelle Pryor on board as the top playmaker. Pryor was an early target for the Redskins, who are desperate to improve their ugly red zone numbers from a year ago. A former standout QB in college, Pryor has completed his transformation to receiver. Last season, he caught 77 passes for 1,007 yards as the top target in Cleveland.
For a long time, it appeared that quarterback Kirk Cousins, coming off a Pro Bowl season, could join the Redskins’ exodus, but after entertaining options ranging from a lengthy contract extension to a blockbuster trade, the team settled on the middle ground of franchise-tagging him for the second year, at a cost of $24 million. Cousins, a fourth-round pick in 2012, has started 16 games in each of the last two seasons. Last year, he threw for 4,917 yards with 25 touchdowns and 12 interceptions while completing 67.0 percent of his attempts.
If this is Cousins’ last shot at winning big in D.C., he will at least be surrounded by solid pieces, including the electrifying Pryor at wide receiver; Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis at tight end; a running back corps that includes incumbent starter Rob Kelley, fourth-round pick Samaje Perine and third-down back Chris Thompson.
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NFL Playoffs NFC Conference Finals Preview
Green Bay Packers vs Atlanta Falcons
Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan are enjoying the rides of their lives, although one quarterback’s impressive run will come to an unceremonious end at the other’s expense. Rodgers has made good on his confident promise to run the table as he powers the Green Bay Packers into Sunday’s NFC Championship Game against the host Atlanta Falcons (Enter Contest).
Rodgers posted a 117.9 passer rating with 21 touchdowns and one interception during his eight-game winning streak. The 31-year-old Ryan (franchise-record 4,944 yards) hasn’t been too shabby in his own right, throwing 14 scoring passes without an interception during Atlanta’s five-game winning streak while his 117.1 passer rating this season was tops in the league and his 38 TDs trailed only Rodgers (40). Ryan’s Falcons got the better of Rodgers’ Packers in the first meeting of the season on October 30, with Mohamed Sanu reeling in the quarterback’s third touchdown pass with 31 seconds remaining in a 33-32 victory.
ABOUT THE PACKERS (12-6)
While Rodgers has been blistering hot, the two-time NFL MVP will need some wide receivers to reel in his passes. Jordy Nelson (ribs), Davante Adams (ankle) and undrafted rookie Geronimo Allison (hamstring) all are nursing injures. Nelson (NFL-best 14 receiving touchdowns) sat out Sunday’s 34-31 victory over Dallas. He’s dealing with a combination of pain tolerance and medical clearance in his decision to play versus Atlanta. Adams (career-best 76 catches, 997 yards and 12 TDs) won’t practice before Sunday’s pregame workout. Green Bay converted running back Ty Montgomery, who rushed for two touchdowns in the first half against the Cowboys, easily could provide an increased presence in the passing game should Adams or Allison sit out. Receiver Randall Cobb has gotten healthy with five touchdowns in his last five playoff games.
ABOUT THE FALCONS (12-5)
All-Pro wideout Julio Jones insists he expects to play in the NFC title game despite sitting out his second straight practice on Thursday. He’s been bothered by a toe injury in Saturday’s 36-20 victory over Seattle that has plagued him since Week 13. Jones is the NFL second-best in receiving yards with 1,409. Sanu had nine receptions for 84 yards to go along with his touchdown in the earlier contest versus the Packers. Fellow wideout Taylor Gabriel also found the end zone in that tilt. He has five TDs in his last seven games overall. Atlanta (NFL-best 540 points) has scored a touchdown on its first possession in each of its last seven games.
NFL Divisional Playoff Preview
The NFL Divisional Playoff match-ups are set and every game will be a rematch from the regular season.
In the NFC, it’s the Packers visiting the Cowboys, and the Seahawks on the road to face the Falcons. The often overlooked Falcons have quietly gone about their business this season and clinched the No. 2 seed in the NFC. They differ from previous years in that it seems they may finally have a reliable defence to go along with their potent offence. If the Falcons want to make others take note and earn respect they will have to get past the Seahawks. Seattle coming off a less than stellar regular season did manage to win the NFC West with relatively easily by beating the Lions 26-6 in the NFC Wild Card Game. The big question here is whether Russell Wilson can find consistency in his game, and can the Seahawks defence get past its injury issues and stop the high flying Falcons offense?
The Green Bay Packers are the hottest team in the NFL right now after winning their seventh consecutive game Sunday, defeating the New York Giants 38-13 in the Wild Card. After a slow start, the Packers offence got going in the second half after ending the first half on a hail mary touchdown from Aaron Rodgers to Randall Cobb. The Packers hope to continue their hot play and upset the top-seeded Cowboys next Sunday. The Cowboys are favorites, but they are going to have to depend on rookies Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott to beat the Packers and advance to the NFC Championship game.
In the AFC, it’s the Texans looking to play the roll of spoiler as they travel to Gillette Stadium to face the favored Patriots. The Patriots begin their run toward a fifth Super Bowl title with a home game Saturday night. Not many seems to think the Texans can even keep this game close, let alone come up with the upset. After all, lets not forget that the Patriots blasted the Texans 27-0 earlier this year with their third string QB. Now with a healthy, rested and focused Brady back under center it is hard to fathom anything but a lop sided Patriots win.
Many believe the Steelers may be the most dangerous team in the postseason, and they will get a chance to prove it Sunday at Arrowhead when they face the Chiefs. Earlier this year the Steelers punished the Chiefs 43-14. Will the Steelers defenseThe continue to shine, and will big Ben’s ankle be ready for the Chiefs pass rush?
Which teams will prevail to play in the Conference Championships on January 22nd? Make sure to jump in on all the NFL Divisional Playoff action at Fanpicks.com where we always offer you multiple ways to win.
NFL NFC East Review
Fantasy Football 2015 Season Review
FanPicks is proud to bring you this NFL NFC East Review of the 2015 season. Come enjoy daily Fantasy sports news at Fanpicks.com during this NFL offseason.
The NFC East was by the far the worst division in the NFC Conference and second worst in the entire NFL after the AFC South this past campaign. Even by being home to 4 of the most popular teams in the league, the fact that the lead for the division as changed over 5 times and saw each teams lead the division at some point this season showed an immense struggle and competition for a playoff berth.
- Washington Redskins
With 9 wins this year and bringing their all time total wins to 601, the Redskins became the 5th franchise to pass the 600-win mark. They clinched their 5th division title and 24th overall for their franchise. The Redskins are also the only team to have clinched the NFC East twice in the last five seasons. Their turning point of the season came down in week 7 against the buccaneers when Kirk Cousins and his team were down 24-7 at half but rattled off 24 points in the 2nd half to take the lead with 28 seconds left 31-30. They would then finish their season with a 6-3 records and takeover the NFC East.
It was one of the most remarkable passing seasons in Redskins history for their QB Cousins. Not only he became the first player in team history to throw a TD in all 16 games but his 32.8 pts per game average to close their 4 game winning streak at the end of the season was the most in the NFL during that time frame.
- Philadelphia Eagles
The Philadelphia Eagles had a really tough season and are in an obvious period of transition. They’ve abruptly fired their coach Chip Kelly at the end of the season when they were eliminated from playoff contention after their loss to the Redskins. They had to bring in Doug Pedersen in and it will be very interesting for their off season preparation and team makeover. They have to figure out their QB position as soon as possible with Sam Bradford’s contract up and Mark Sanchez not being a long-term solution. With Chip Kelly having cut or traded several important starters before their last campaign, they will need to find a way to attract other special talent alike LeSean McCoy, Jeremy Maclin, Nick Foles or Trent Cole all let go by Kelly within the last 2 years.
- New York Giants
The New York Giants have not made playoffs since their 2011 season, ironically, the same year they won the Super Bowl against the Patriots. It was coach Tom Coughlin’s 12th year with the Giants. The main problem that occurred this year was their inability to close out games, having lost 5 games this season in which they held leads in the final 2 minutes. They actually became the first team in NFL history to start their season 0-2 while holding double digit leads heading into the 4th quarter for both games. Fantasy owners will definitely be hoping for a revival of Eli Manning, often disrespected lately but will set their eyes on Odell Beckham Jr. who’s absolutely essential to their offense.
- Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys’ 4-12 record was the team’s worst since 1989, the first year Jerry Jones became owner (1-15). Despite starting the season 2-0 and leading the NFC East, the Cowboys lost 7 straight and finished the season on a 2-12 skid. The Cowboys still made some big moves keeping Head Coach Jason Garrett, signing him to a $30 million contract and resigning big man Dez Bryant to a 5 year $70 million contact. They will hope to come back to their winning ways and it will be interesting for fantasy owners to monitor their offseason strategy and snipe the best deals.
NFC Conference Championship Recap –
Arizona Cardinals vs Carolina Panthers
This game went just about exactly as expected, a blowout in favor of the Panthers. They roll onto the Super Bowl with a 49-15 win over the Cardinals. Furthermore, all of the fantasy leaders except for Gronk came from this game, mostly concentrated on Carolina as well.
Cam Newton led the list of quarterbacks and cemented the MVP with 335 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns, and 2 rushing touchdowns for a total of 39.1 fantasy points. Cam Newton was a must in any NFL Daily Cash Draft this weekend.
Corey Brown, Ted Ginn, and Greg Olsen were the receivers to stack with Newton. Corey Brown had 4 catches for 113 receiving yards and a touchdown totaling 24.3 fantasy points. Greg Olsen had 6 catches for 113 receiving yards totaling 20.3 fantasy points— still short of Gronk’s numbers. And Ginn had 2 catches for 52 yards as well as a 22 yard rush for a touchdown. Ginn ended the day with 15.4 fantasy points.
The Carolina defense was also a must totaling 24 fantasy points. They did this by allowing only 15 points (1 fantasy point), 4 interceptions (8 fantasy points), 1 touchdown (6 fantasy points), 3 fumble recoveries (6 fantasy points), and 3 sacks (3 fantasy points). Yes, that is a total of 7 forced turnovers by the Carolina defense.
The only redeemable part of the Cardinal’s offense was David Johnson, who led the list of running backs this weekend. He rushed for 60 yards and 1 touchdown as well as 9 receptions for 68 yards. This totaled 27.8 fantasy points.
Fanpicks.com NFL Playoff Sunday NFC Wildcard
Fantasy Football Picks
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Sunday afternoon will feature a gridiron battle between the Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks. While the forecast does not announce rain or snow; the cold weather may be a determining factor in this game. These initially squared off on December 6th with the Seahawks showing all the momentum leading 21-0 at halftime and overcoming the Vikings by a final score of 38-7. The Seattle defence held strong against the Vikings offence. The Seahawks played a superb man to man strategy and staked the line to severely cripple and Adrian Peterson offence attacks. We think that the Seahawks will continue with this strategy in this game; offsetting the running game to force Teddy Bridgewater into his weaker position going to the aerial attack. No doubt, Peterson’s bad back will further offset his passing accuracy.
In their last appearance, Seattle limited Vikings offensive attack to 31 yards rushing and 118 passing yards. The Seahawks finished the regular season with the number one rushing and scoring defense and were number two against the pass. Seahawks will burn clock with a conservative approach on offense. No need to take chances when you have the defense to limit scoring chances for the opponent here. Fewer possessions will lead to fewer yards and points for the Vikings.
Play Seattle Seahawks Defense
Teddy Bridgewater will be a desperate quarterback as we believe this game will be taken away from Minnesota. Bridgewater will have to test the Seahawks secondary and will get picked off by the veterans of which Earl Thomas has five picks this season.
Play Earl Thomas
Seattle Seahawks S
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is coming off a successful regular season. He completed a career high 68.1% of his passes for 4024 yards with 34 touchdowns and 8 picks. Completion percentage, yardage and touchdown throws were all highs in his four years in the pros. In the playoffs, look for Wilson to take more chances in the run game. He rushed for 553 yards on 103 carries this year for 5.4 yards per carry average.
Play Russell Wilson
Seattle Seahawks QB
The Washington Redskins take on the Green Bay Packers for your evening NFL viewing pleasure. The Green Bay offence has shown some weakness in recent games; being held to only 9 and 13 points respectively against Arizona and Minnesota.
On the opposing side the Redskins were the surprise winner of the NFC East this year despite a measly 9-7 record which takes into account their 6-2 home record. Nonetheless, Washington’s offence have sparked to life scoring more than 34 points to win in their final three games of the season
The Redskins have been moving the football. Green Bay’s defense is good in the red zone. Washington has a good kicker in Dustin Hopkins who went 25 of 28 in the season. There is a possibility that Hopkins could be successful with at least three field goal tries in this game. The kicker in the Wildcard round you should take for your daily leagues will be Dustin Hopkins.
Play Dustin Hopkins
Washington Redskins K