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NFL playoff picks 2018: Experts have full faith in the Patriots and no one else

We’re split on every matchup except one in the Divisional Round.

New York Jets v New England Patriots Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

We’re now down to the final eight teams in the NFL postseason, and the matchups keep getting better — and harder to pick. The Wild Card Round last week didn’t bring too much debate. Our experts unanimously sided with the Jaguars and Saints, but also the Chiefs.

Everyone was correct on the first two. But Titans vs. Chiefs didn’t turn out so well, because nobody expected Marcus Mariota to do literally everything — including throwing a touchdown pass to himself — to get the 22-21 win.

The staff was mixed on the Rams and Falcons, but Atlanta’s experience, along with its defense and running game, ended up being too much for the young Rams to overcome.

This time around, the only unanimous selection among our experts is the Patriots knocking off the Titans. Perhaps not the biggest surprise in the world! But who knows — maybe Mariota can work some big-play magic again for another upset win.

Elsewhere, there’s not much consensus. Despite not having Carson Wentz, the Eagles still have a couple believers around here. They’ll be facing a Falcons team that has been hot and cold all season, although they’re coming off of a good performance against the Rams. But even with Nick Foles instead of Wentz, the Eagles have the third-best run game in the league and a run defense that gives up fewer than 80 yards per game.

Vegas is going with the Falcons in this one, which marks the first time a No. 1 seed has been an underdog heading into the postseason. A majority of our experts believe the Falcons will pull this one off on the road. But make no mistake: This isn’t a virtual bye for Atlanta.

Jaguars vs. Steelers is almost unanimous with every single expert except for Adam Stites taking Pittsburgh. Blake Bortles ran for more yards than he threw in the Jaguars’ Wild Card Round win over the Bills last week, but the Jaguars also stomped the Steelers in Pittsburgh in Week 5 of the regular season.

The hardest game to pick this weekend is probably the Saints against the Vikings. Minnesota will be coming into this one fresh after a bye last week. The Saints took care of an NFC South rival, the Panthers, in a thriller that came down to the wire and was decided by some game-breaking mistakes by the Panthers.

The Saints and Vikings have been two of the best teams in the NFL this season. New Orleans boasts a powerful offense, and Minnesota, a powerful defense. The computer’s going with the home team, but a slight majority of our experts expect the Saints to get the win — and a trip to the NFC Championship.

As usual, everyone has the option to change up to two picks by Friday, so these picks are subject to change.

Here’s how our experts see things shaking out in the NFL’s Divisional Round.

NFL Picks 2017, Divisional Round

Games Ryan Van Bibber Stephen White Geoff Schwartz Harry Lyles Jr. Jeanna Thomas Adam Stites Joel Thorman OddsShark Computer
Games Ryan Van Bibber Stephen White Geoff Schwartz Harry Lyles Jr. Jeanna Thomas Adam Stites Joel Thorman OddsShark Computer
ATL vs PHI ATL ATL ATL ATL ATL PHI PHI ATL
TEN vs NE NE NE NE NE NE NE NE NE
JAX vs PIT PIT PIT PIT PIT PIT JAX PIT PIT
NO vs MIN MIN NO NO NO MIN NO NO MIN
Goodnight, sweet picks

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