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  • >The general belief is there are four contenders for the Super Bowl in the NFC Muhammad Wilkerson Jersey , two in the AFC.Let’s see if Tennessee or Jacksonville can prove that theory wrong this weekend.Both AFC South representatives are significant underdogs, the Titans at New England on Saturday night, the Jaguars at Pittsburgh on Sunday. For weeks, it’s been presumed Steelers vs. Patriots will decide who goes to the Super Bowl from the conference.The Titans and Jaguars want to have their say.“They’re the champs and these are the types of teams you’ve got to beat if you want to be the champs,” says Tennessee coach Mike Mularkey, who is 0-5 against the Patriots. “You’ve got to beat these teams at their place.”Jacksonville already has done that, routing the Steelers at Heinz Field 30-9 in Week 5.“We did beat them the first time, so to have all the confidence coming out of there is interesting,” Jaguars DT Malik Jackson says. “They got a bye week, so they’re probably feeling really confident. We’ll see Sunday.”Tennessee (10-7) at New England (13-3), SaturdayAll the numbers favor the Patriots extending their record of consecutive title games reached to seven. They are, by far, the more experienced side: 14 Patriots players have played at least 10 playoff games. That’s more such players than the 11 other 2017 playoff teams combined (13). Tom Brady has a 6-1 career record against the Titans Elandon Roberts Jersey , throwing for 13 TDs and one interception. He’s 11-2 in 13 divisional-round games since 2002 and has completed 316 of 509 passes for 3,700 yards and 28 TDs in those games.And amid reported turmoil involving Brady, owner Robert Kraft and coach Bill Belichick, the quarterback isn’t likely to lose focus.“We do what we always do. We show up to work and try to do the best we can do,” the All-Pro quarterback says. “We know there’s a lot at stake and I think everyone’s put a lot into it. It doesn’t really matter what happened outside of this facility.”Tennessee has lost six in a row to New England, but comes off a stirring second-half rally at Kansas City from 18 points down, the largest postseason comeback on the road in the Super Bowl era.Jacksonville (11-6) at Pittsburgh (13-3), SundayBen Roethlisberger had the worst game of his career in that October loss to the Jags. Pittsburgh lost only once after that, at home to the Patriots in a game that decided the AFC’s top seed.While Roethlisberger probably will play far better than that, the biggest challenge for Jacksonville could be stopping Le’Veon Bell in the running game. The Jaguars ranked first stopping the pass, but 21st against the run.“I feel great, especially not playing these last two weeks, not going to (training) camp earlier in the year Andy Levitre Jersey ,” Bell says. “I can’t complain. I like where I am. This is the freshest I’ve ever been going into the playoffs so we’ll see how it goes.”Pittsburgh also gets back receiver Antonio Brown, like Bell an All-Pro this season.Jacksonville needs far better passing from Blake Bortles. He gained more yards running than throwing vs. Buffalo in the wild-card round.Atlanta (11-6) at Philadelphia (13-3), SaturdayAlthough Philly is the No. 1 NFC seed, the Falcons are favored. Part of that owes to Atlanta’s impressive work in winning at the Los Angeles Rams last week. Part has to do with the Falcons nearly winning the Super Bowl last February.And part has to do with Nick Foles being the Eagles’ quarterback instead of the injured Carson Wentz.Foles, though, has had some success in Philadelphia.“It’s just going out there and playing and staying in the zone and trusting my instincts,” Foles says. “I’ve played this game a long time. There’s a reason I’ve been able to do what I’ve been able to do. When I play my best and I’m most comfortable, I just go out there and play.”By contrast, Atlanta’s Matt Ryan has a passer rating of at least 100 in five straight postseason games, tied for the second-longest streak in league history. Only Joe Montana had a longer string with eight.New Orleans (12-5) at Minnesota (13-3), SundayMinnesota easily handled New Orleans in the season opener, eons ago in NFL terms. The Vikings had a different quarterback then in Sam Bradford. Case Keenum has put together a superb stretch of games since replacing the injured Bradford.The Saints’ RB tandem of Mark Ingram and rookie Alvin Kamara wasn’t quite in place yet, either. And the New Orleans defense didn’t come to fruition until Week 3.Minnesota’s D is balanced from front to back Dave Robinson Jersey , so how Drew Brees deals with it could be the decider here.“There’s no doubt about it,” Vikings defensive coordinator George Edwards says, “you have a first ballot Hall of Fame quarterback that does an excellent job of going out and executing their game from week to week. Our work will be cut out for us keeping them contained and hopefully giving them some things that can cause them some problems.”

    HOUSTON — Heralded outfield prospect Kyle Tucker made his big-league debut Saturday for the Astros, a move that not only has implications for Tucker but two other outfielders.

    With Tucker, who finished 1-for-4 with a bases-loaded walk and three strikeouts in the Astros’ 12-6 win, in the fold, outfielder Tony Kemp will see a reduction in his playing time despite providing a spark for the Astros (60-31) since his mid-May recall. Kemp has a slash line of .295/.385/.410 over 40 games.

    Outfielder Jake Marisnick, meanwhile, was optioned to Triple-A Fresno for a second time on the same night he delivered another sparkling play in center field.

    Marisnick was batting .190 with 69 strikeouts in 163 plate appearances.

    “It was hard for Jake, and it should be,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. “He’s had a roller-coaster season going up and down. The first go-round he was really needing to go correct some things. The second go-around he was doing a lot better and things were out of his control a little bit as to him going down to Triple-A. There are still some offensive adjustments we want him to make.

    “(Kemp) came up and won the right to stay in the big leagues. When a transaction happens, we talk a lot about the guy we sent down but the guy that we kept earned the right to be here. I’m very proud of what Tony has contributed to this team, and it hasn’t always been fair to him the last couple of years.”

    Astros left-hander Dallas Keuchel (5-8 Coby Fleener Jersey , 4.12 ERA) will start the series finale against the White Sox. He has posted three quality starts in his last four outings, going 2-0 with a 2.96 ERA and 21 strikeouts across 24 1/3 innings during that stretch.

    Keuchel is 3-4 with a 3.81 ERA over eight career starts against the White Sox including a 10-1 win on April 21 when he worked six innings and allowed one run on four hits and two walks with six strikeouts at Guaranteed Rate Field.

    Right-hander Lucas Giolito (5-7, 6.93 ERA) gets the starting nod for Chicago (30-59). He is 2-3 with a 7.50 ERA in his last eight starts, allowing five runs or more four times.

    Giolito will make his third career start against the Astros, against whom he is 0-2 with an 11.42 ERA. He was charged with nine runs on five hits and seven walks opposite Keuchel on April 21 and suffered the loss in his previous appearance at Minute Maid Park on Sept. 19, 2017, when he allowed two runs on seven hits and one walk with three strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings of a 3-1 loss.

    White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson was back in the starting lineup Saturday and finished 0-for-4 with two strikeouts after sitting out the previous game to manage the soreness in his left forearm. Anderson was hit by a pitch in Thursday’s series opener.

    Anderson has become a fixture in the eight-hole when Chicago faces a right-handed starter, a move designed to help amplify the depth of the White Sox lineup and provide additional opportunities atop the batting order for fellow infielders Yoan Moncada and Yolmer Sanchez.

    “If you look at the lineup it just lengthens out (and) allows us to put him and keep him there,” White Sox manager Rick Renteria said of Anderson. “As long as he stays comfortable there he helps us there quite a bit. Picks up the back end of the lineup and I think we’ve gotten some benefits out of it.”

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