FALCONS at EAGLES
Sat., 4:35 p.m., Ch. 4, Falcons by 3, 41½
HANK’S HONEYS: Going against conventional wisdom in this one. Everyone has already written off the We ntz-less Iggles and jumped onto Falcons’ bandwagon. Might be premature. Nick Foles and his mates looked punchless the last two weeks of the season but they were playing for nothing. Doug Pederson used the week off to retool the offense around Foles and that means realizing that the way to replace his QB is not to ignore the league’s third-ranked rushing offense. True, Falcons were very impressive in smothering Rams on the road, but much of Matt Ryan’s success came in playing off the running game. Philly front defends the run as well as anyone. Third and long is not where Matt Ryan wants to be against Jim Schwartz’s defense. If it’s a defensive game, Eagles have the better one.
IF I WERE A BETTING MAN: Eagles and the under.
TITANS at PATRIOTS
Sat., 8:15 p.m., Ch. 2, Pats by 13½, 47
HANK’S HONEYS: OK, so Tom Terrific has never thrown a touchdown pass to himself. He ’s got it over Marcus Mariota in every other way. No one-dimensional team can come into Foxborough and win a playoff game. While big Derrick Henry is a horse, Pats have always done a good job of taking away your best player. Conversely, if the Titans couldn’t cover Travis Kelce, they’re not going to cover Gronk. Mariota was stellar in K.C. comeback but rallying against Chiefs is a lot different than rallying against Pats because they keep scoring. Meanwhile, all the melodrama in New England is sure to work in the Pats’ favor. An angry Tom Brady? Not who the Titans want to see. He should come out of his December funk in a big way.
IF I WERE A BETTING MAN: Patriots and the over.
JAGS at STEELERS
Sun., 1:05 p.m., Ch. 2, Steelers by 7, 41
HANK’S HONEYS: The Steelers ’ Revenge Tour starts here with Mike Tomlin taking full motivational advantage in a payback scenario. Steelers have something to prove after that 30-9 beatdown at home in Week 5 (they were 10-1 after that) and they will. Steelers will not allow themselves to be run on as they were when Leonard Fournette taunted them with 181 yards and two TDs. Blake Bortles is going to have to step up to beat them, while dodging the Pittsburgh pass rush, and after a putrid performance against the Bills and with top target Marqise Lee (ankle) still hurting that’s unlikely. Ben Roethlisberger, too, must make amends for his five-INT game against Jacksonville. Look for Steelers to rely more on Le’Veon Bell this time, and with Antonio Brown’s return likely, allow Big Ben to stay away from that pass rush.
IF I WERE A BETTING MAN: Steelers and the under.
SAINTS at VIKINGS
Sun., 4:40 p.m., Ch. 5, Vikes by 5, 44½
HANK’S HONEYS: Flip a coin. Vikes are 17-4-1 in their last 22 games as a home favorite and, while Saints went 9-3 SU to close out the season, those losses came in their last three road games. Vikings have been tough in their new home this year (7-1 SU, 6-2 ATS) , but Saints are much better than the team that stumbled in Minnesota opening week. Throw that game out. If Panthers could take away Kamara/Ingram, so can Vikes, but Drew Brees is perfectly capable of putting game on his back. People underrate the Minnesota offense. It’s really well balanced and it does not turn the ball over. Also note that Saints have been giving up some big passing days lately but we’re talking about a QB in Case Keenum making his first playoff start. It’s Brees’ 13th. With good arguments on both sides, we’ll take the points.
IF I WERE A BETTING MAN: Saints and the over.
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