The Divisional Round of the playoffs is probably the best weekend of football all year. All four games are between essentially all the best teams. Even with only eight teams remaining there’s plenty of injury updates and news around the league to note. Before I dive in, be sure to check out Ian Hartitz’ Fact or Fiction column which answers some important questions regarding making predictions in the NFL Playoffs.
Tom Brady Unlikely to Retire
Nothing is official but based on Brady’s post on Instagram it’s likely he’ll play another season. Excluding most of the fluff from his post he said, “In both life and football, failure is inevitable. You don't always win. You can, however, learn from that failure, pick yourself up with great enthusiasm, and place yourself in the arena again. And that’s right where you will find me. Because I know I still have more to prove.” This all but seals the deal as he also noted retirement was “pretty unlikely” after the Patriots Wild Card loss against the Titans.
It'll be interesting to see where Brady plays since he’s an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career. There’s always a chance he'll return to New England but it might be tough for the two sides to come to an agreement after Brady has mentioned he might not give the Patriots a home town discount. If he isn’t with the Patriots the current speculation is the Chargers, Colts, Bears, and Panthers. No one really knows much about where he’ll play but this will surely be one of the most talked-about storylines in the coming months.
Teddy Bridgewater likely to stay in New Orleans
Bridgewater is technically an unrestricted free agent but ESPN’s Mike Triplett notes it would “take a special situation to pry [Teddy Bridgewater] away.” That special situation is likely a large chunk of money to be a starter on a good team. The chance of that happening is pretty slim. Bridgewater was 5-0 as New Orleans’ backup this season and reportedly loves the coaching staff and players so there’s a good chance they offer him high-end backup money and he remains with the Saints.
Divisional Round Injury Notes
Ravens OC Greg Roman called Mark Ingram (calf) "day to day." Ingram was reportedly feeling “tightness” at practice this week and is by no means a lock to play. If he isn’t able to go the Ravens will roll with a combination of Gus Edwards and Justice Hill. Edwards would likely play the majority of snaps on first and second down while Hill plays in pass-catching situations.
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said he's "optimistic" Stefon Diggs (illness) will be fine for Saturday's Divisional Round matchup against 49ers. Diggs is “sick” but “will be fine” according to Zimmer. His status is something to check back in on prior to game time. Adam Thielen (ankle) was a limited participant for Wednesday's practice. He suffered a mid-practice injury making his status something to keep an eye on. We’ll likely receive an update after Thursday’s practice. Both Thielen and Diggs have a chance of sitting this weekend which would leave the Vikings with Bisi Johnson and Laquon Treadwell as the top options. If both players sit Kirk Cousins’ fantasy viability is severely damaged.
Jamaal Williams (shoulder) was a full participant for Wednesday's practice. He’s expected to return on Sunday barring a setback. There’s a good chance that Williams eats into Aaron Jones’ workload but it’s unknown how much. Either way, both backs have a great matchup against Seattle’s defense which ranks 26th in run defense DVOA.
Mark Andrews (ankle) remained limited for Wednesday's practice. He was also limited on Tuesday. His status on Thursday will be telling towards whether or not he plays in the Divisional round against the Titans. He’s a low-floor, high-upside play in DFS against the Titans.
Travis Kelce (knee) was a limited participant for Wednesday's practice. He should be good to go for this weekend’s matchup as he’s just reportedly nursing a bit of soreness. He and George Kittle are the top tight end plays of the weekend.
Will Fuller (groin) was a limited participant for Wednesday's practice. He’ll almost certainly be limited throughout the week and wind up as a game-time decision. He’s a high-upside DFS play if he suits up especially with the Chiefs S Juan Thornhill out.
Titans CB Adoree' Jackson (foot) returned to practice Wednesday. This is a great sign for Jackson who missed Tuesday’s practice. He’ll be at full strength for this week’s game against Baltimore.
49ers CB Ahkello Witherspoon (foot) said he's starting in Saturday's Divisional Round matchup against the Vikings. This isn’t too much of a surprise as Witherspoon has started in each of San Francisco’s past five games.