The 2018 NFL playoffs got off to a wild start when the Tennessee Titans upset the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on Saturday to kick off wild-card weekend. The Atlanta Falcons then upset the L.A. Rams at the Coliseum in Los Angeles, even though AccuScore predicted that to be the tightest game of wild-card weekend.
Sunday was more straight forward with favorites Jacksonville and New Orleans securing their places in the divisional round with predicted wins at home. A sign of the changing NFL landscape is that two teams from the previously laughable AFC South are among the final eight teams in this year’s playoffs.
So, how will the divisional round games play out this weekend? AccuScore has made its 2017 NFL playoff picks by simulating each divisional-round game 10,000 times to predict the probabilities of reaching the next round on the road to Super Bowl 52. Below are the probabilities to win each game this weekend.
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NFL playoffs: Divisional-round win probabilities
Falcons at Eagles
In the first game Saturday, the Atlanta Falcons hope to continue their successful road trip in Philly against the Eagles, who haven’t been the same team since Carson Wentz went down with a season-ending knee injury. Simulations predict Atlanta as a favorite with a 67-percent win probability on the road. This is a rare case against a top-seeded team, but current QB Nick Foles hasn’t provided enough reason for more hope. Straight up, AccuScore predicted 12 out of 16 regular-season games correctly for the Eagles this season.
Titans at Patriots
On Saturday, Tennessee will travel to freezing Foxborough to meet the New England Patriots. AccuScore simulations don’t give the Titans much of a chance, as New England’s win probability is hovering around 82 percent. Even though defensive mastermind Dick LeBeau showed his genius against Kansas City with adjustments at halftime, a Tom Brady-led offense should be too much for Tennessee this time. So far during the season, New England has been one of the easiest teams to predict with their 13-3 record. That shouldn’t change on Saturday night.
Jaguars at Steelers
On Sunday, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Jacksonville Jaguars kick off the festivities. The prediction here is similar to the Patriots: Pittsburgh has a 75-percent win probability against the Jags, who are in the playoffs for the first time in 10 years. Even though Jacksonville upset Pittsburgh during the regular season, AccuScore has been able to predict Steelers games with a 13-3 record. When Ben Roethlisberger, LeVeon Bell and Antonio Brown are all healthy, stopping a Pittsburgh team that won 10 out of its last 11 games should be too much for the Jaguars.
Saints at Vikings
Maybe the most interesting matchup takes place in Minneapolis, where the New Orleans Saints visit the Minnesota Vikings. The Saints lost at U.S. Bank Stadium in Week 1 when these teams last met. Since then, much has changed, but the Vikings have been playing steady, strong football all season. Meanwhile, the Saints have been trending upwards since the first two weeks of the season. After the wild-card win over Carolina, they are slight favorites with a 51-percent win probability, according to AccuScore’s simulations. Minnesota hasn’t been easy to predict during the season, as only eight games were correct in AccuScore’s predictions. However, Saints games have been correct 12 times. On Sunday, we will see which team in this coin flip heads to the NFC championship game.
Super Bowl favorite
Currently, the New England Patriots have the highest probability to win the Super Bowl at 29 percent, and are AccuScore’s pick to win the championship for the second year in a row.
AccuScore’s 2018 NFL Playoffs Bracket:
All expert game picks>>> https://t.co/CmGpb214gv pic.twitter.com/FJHK0YTV10
— AccuScore (@AccuScore) January 11, 2018
AccuScore’s NFL playoff probabilities will be updated every week.
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