NFL Playoff Schedule 2018: Sunday TV Guide, Live-Stream Coverage Info

NFL Playoff Schedule 2018: Sunday TV Guide, Live-Stream Coverage Info

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The NFL‘s No. 1 seeds won Saturday, as the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots advanced to their respective conference championship games.

We’ll find out who meets them when the final two divisional-round matchups take place Sunday.

Here’s a look at the remaining postseason schedule in addition to five players to watch.

           

Divisional Round

Sunday, January 14, at 1:05 p.m. ET on CBS and CBS All Access: No. 3 Jacksonville Jaguars at No. 2 Pittsburgh Steelers

Sunday, January 14, at 4:40 p.m. ET on Fox and Fox Sports Go: No. 4 New Orleans Saints at No. 2 Minnesota Vikings

                                        

Conference Championships

Sunday, January 21, at 3 p.m. ET: AFC Championship on CBS and CBS All Access (Jacksonville Jaguars or Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots)

Sunday, January 21, at 6:30 p.m. ET: NFC Championship on Fox and Fox Sports Go (Minnesota Vikings or New Orleans Saints at Philadelphia Eagles)

                                      

Super Bowl LII

Sunday, February 4, at 6:30 p.m. ET: AFC champion vs. NFC champion on NBC and NBC Sports Live (game will be played in Minneapolis)

            

5 Players To Watch

Pittsburgh Steelers RB Le’Veon Bell

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell only rushed 15 times when he faced the Jacksonville Jaguars in a 30-9 Week 5 loss.

It’s highly doubtful we’ll see Bell that infrequently Sunday. The Steelers are at their best when Bell is featured prominently, much like he was in Pittsburgh’s two playoff wins last season, when he amassed 59 carries for 337 yards.

Also, the Jaguars run defense has not fared well this season, as it has allowed 4.3 yards per carry, which is the seventh-worst mark in the league.

Given how well Jacksonville performs against passing attacks—their 170 yards allowed per game is No. 1 by far—the Steelers would be wise to primarily stick to the ground and give Bell the ball as much as possible.

            

Jacksonville Jaguars CBs Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye

The Steelers obviously can’t give the ball to Bell on every play, though, and they have two stout wide receivers to utilize in Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster. Therefore, we’ll see Pittsburgh attempt an aerial attack against a ball-hawking Jaguars secondary.

The problem is Jaguars cornerbacks Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye are two of the best at their position in the game. Thanks to their talents, coupled with a pass rush that routinely gets in quarterbacks’ faces, the dynamic duo is enjoying a fantastic season.

Jacksonville finished second in scoring defense (16.8 points allowed per game) behind the Minnesota Vikings, and it also took second in total takeaways (33) behind the Baltimore Ravens.

Five of those takeaways occurred against the Steelers, as Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw five picks in Week 5, two of which were returned for scores. It’s hard to see Jacksonville duplicating that effort, but the Jags pass defense should fare well again Sunday.

               

Minnesota Vikings RB Jerick McKinnon

Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey, who did most of his damage catching passes from quarterback Cam Newton, dominated the New Orleans Saints this year with 20 catches, 235 yards and two touchdowns in three games.

The Vikings should take note and feature pass-catching running back Jerick McKinnon often. The fourth-year pro submitted career highs in catches (51), receiving yards (421) and touchdowns (two) this season in addition to 570 rushing yards and three more scores.

New Orleans’ defensive strength is in the secondary, thanks to outside cornerbacks Marshon Lattimore and Ken Crawley, and pass rush, thanks largely to defensive end Cameron Jordan. Passes to McKinnon could help neutralize those threats, and he could win matchups with other Saints to break off big gains.

             

New Orleans Saints RB Alvin Kamara

One of the bigger surprises of the season has been the emergence of rookie New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara, who led all qualifiers at his position, with 6.1 yards per carry. For context, New England Patriots running back Dion Lewis was second, with 5.0 yards per carry.

The former Tennessee Volunteer has one of his toughest matchups to date, however, as he takes on the Minnesota Vikings. Football Outsiders lists them as the only team that finished top five in run-defense DVOA (defense-adjusted value over average) and pass-defense DVOA.

Minnesota also dominated opposing offenses at home in 2017; no team hit 20 points against the Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium during the regular season.

That being said, Kamara presents a tough matchup as well. Football Outsiders ranked him first in DVOA among all qualified running backs, which is a remarkable feat for a first-year player.

It will be interesting to see how he fares against the stout Minnesota defense.

Breaking Sports News

via Bleacher Report – Front Page http://ift.tt/yO6Sgr

January 14, 2018 at 05:46AM

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