Top ten matchups for Sunday’s playoff: Falcons at Packers, Falcons vs. Lions, Eagles vs. Vikings, Redskins at Panthers, Browns at Ravens
The playoff picture at the NFC South is looking more like a Super Bowl than the wild-card race.
The Falcons are playing a playoff game against the Packers and the Lions are facing the Redskins.
And the Eagles are playing the Vikings and the Vikings are facing Baltimore.
And now the Browns and Ravens are both facing the Panthers.
And if the Eagles win the playoff game Sunday night, they would be the only NFC South team to have a winning record in the last four years.
That’s the landscape.
And it makes sense.
The Eagles are the NFC’s most dominant team and their defense has been the best in the league.
The defense is the best defense in the NFL.
And that has made the Eagles a tough out for anyone.
The Falcons are the second-ranked defense in football and have given up just two touchdowns in their past four games.
They have allowed just one touchdown over that span.
And they’re playing the Packers.
So the Falcons are going to be the team that wins the NFC playoff game, even if it’s a blowout.
But the Panthers and the Redskins have already beaten the Eagles and Lions.
And in their three games against the Eagles, the Panthers have won two of them, including a 24-20 win on Thanksgiving.
They’re going to need to win their next two games to keep up with the Falcons, who have played two more games.
Panthers defense vs. Eagles defense (3-4 record) The Panthers are the best team in the NFC this year and the team with the best record in NFC South.
They’ve played all seven games this season and they have won all of them.
And as the season has gone on, the defense has become better.
Atlanta has allowed just four touchdowns and just three interceptions this season.
This year, the Eagles defense has allowed 18.3 points per game and they’re allowing just 1.4 points per play.
I don’t think we’ve seen a defense that’s more consistent and efficient in the second half of games.
I think we saw a lot of the same things in the first half of the season.
And it’s not just the defense that is better.
I’ve been very impressed with the defense over the past three weeks.
They are playing with a lot more confidence.
They’re playing with more composure.
They’ve had a good week of practice.
They don’t get the ball in the end zone much.
They get it in the air a lot.
They know where they’re supposed to be.
And I think that’s important.
On defense, Atlanta has played the best defensive team in football over the last three weeks, and it’s led the league in total yards allowed (6.5 yards per play).
The Panthers have allowed the fewest points per carry in the AFC South.
New Orleans (2-4) The Saints have been the league’s worst defense in each of the last two seasons and this season is no different.
New Orleans is allowing 7.1 yards per carry and giving up just 6.4 yards per pass attempt.
Against the Eagles this week, New Orleans gave up 10 first downs and three touchdowns on 30 carries.
In the last eight games against Carolina, New England has allowed 12 first downs on 32 carries.
That’s been an incredible rate.
Cam Newton (2/12) Newton has had an impressive rookie season.
He has rushed for 3,521 yards and 31 touchdowns.
He’s scored at least 100 rushing yards in five straight games.
And he has scored a touchdown in four straight games for the first time since 2010.
It’s going to take a lot for the Panthers to beat the Saints.
Saints have had an average offense in the playoffs, but they’re also a better team than they were a year ago.
They haven’t allowed more than 17 points in a game since their 31-24 win at the Panthers in Week 3.
Their defense is very good.
And their offense has had a lot to do with it.
There’s a lot that has gone right for Carolina.
When the season started, the Saints defense was going to have problems against a Panthers offense that is so much better than they are.
But the defense played better than the Panthers offense.
What the Saints have done is get better each week.
Bengals at Browns (1-5) If you’re looking for a divisional matchup, I wouldn’t be too surprised if the Bengals beat the Browns.
But this one is a wild card.
If they do beat the Bengals, it will be the first divisional meeting between the Bengals and Browns since Week 3, and the Browns are 8-6 against the Bengals in the past eight games.
The Browns are 5-6 when facing a