Sunday, January 14, 2018 1:00 am
Jacksonville at Pittsburgh
Time: 1 p.m. today (CBS)
Records: Jaguars 11-6, Steelers 13-3
The skinny: Jacksonville has the No. 2 overall defense, and No. 1 against the pass, and will put the pressure on Pittsburgh's offense. While most of the talk all season has been about Jacksonville's pass rush, it was the Steelers who led the NFL with a franchise-record 56 sacks. The Jaguars finished second with 55. Pittsburgh's defense is ranked fifth overall and fifth against the pass. The Jaguars' offense looked pitiful against Buffalo in the wild-card round and quarterback Blake Bortles will need to do more than lead the team in rushing to pull off the upset. Pittsburgh's offense may be slowed by Antonio Brown's calf injury, but it still has a healthy and rested Le'Veon Bell. Unless the Steelers completely overlook the Jaguars, they should advance to the AFC title game.
Prediction: Steelers 21-14
New Orleans at Minnesota
Time: 4:40 p.m. today (Fox)
Records: Saints 12-5; Vikings 13-3
The skinny: Everybody is waiting for Minnesota quarterback Case Keenum to implode. This is Keenum's first career start in the playoffs. New Orleans' defense is ranked eighth in NFL in sacks per pass attempt in the regular season and sacked the Panthers' Cam Newton four times last week. The Saints also ranked third in the regular season with 20 interceptions and tied for ninth in the league with 25 takeaways. New Orleans has the QB experience in Drew Brees and rookie sensation Alvin Kamara, who had the second-most receptions (81) in the league by a running back in the regular season. Minnesota's defense is ranked No. 1 overall and No. 2 against both the rush and the pass.
Prediction: Vikings 26-21
Last week: 2-2; Season: 176-84
– Mark Jaworski, The Journal Gazette