A Case To Make the Super Bowl For Each Remaining Team
In this article, I want to break down how each team can win their conference championship game. Obviously every team that is in the conference championship game can win, simply because they have been good enough to have made it this far... only now it is a matter of schemes, skill, hard work, and luck. Lets dive in.
Lets start with the Superbowl favorites, the New England Patriots.
- Lets first address the panic that has overtaken Boston and all New England Patriots fans everywhere... Tom Brady's hand "injury". Apparently he jammed his hand while colliding with a teammate at practice this week. I'm sure he will be just fine.
- The formula for a Patriots win is nothing ground breaking or spectacular. Tom Brady needs to play like classic Tom Brady, they need to be able to run the ball at least somewhat effectively against that fierce front four of Jacksonville. Then the defense needs to be able to stop the run and make Bortles beat you over the top. Take away the easy runs and short dump off's and see if Bortles can connect with his receivers downfield.
- Sounds easy, and Brady could make it look very easy like he has many times in the past. The Patriots have the 2nd overall offense in the league and I am not sure Jacksonville will be able to score enough points to stay with the Pats. Patriot's winning prediction = 30-20.
Lets now jump to the Pats fierce opponents, the Jacksonville Jaguars.
- Most likely Jacksonville will win by doing a couple of things really well. The Jags have the 2nd overall run offense in the league and the 2nd overall defense in the league. Of the 6 TD's that were scored against the Steelers, 4 were rushing and 1 was a defensive TD. That about sums up the blueprint for a Jags win over the Patriots.
- Here is a positive for Jags fans or Patriot haters... New England has the 20th ranked rush defense. I would not be surprised if the Jags try and run the ball 40 times in this game (they ran it 35 times against the steelers). If the Jags win, the main factors will be that they were able to run the ball effectively on first and second down, and that defense was able to get pressure on Brady and not let him pick the defense apart with too much time in the pocket.
- If you look at the teams that were able to beat the Pats in recent years... they all had fantastic defensive lines that were able to get to Brady and make him uncomfortable. Here is the negative for Jacksonville. If they get behind by two TD's or more, this game may very well be over. They are not built to come from behind and pass their way back into a game.
- Effective run game and disruptive D-line could get the job done for Jacksonville. Jaguar's winning prediction = 28-27
Now lets talk about the very intriguing NFC championship game.
Lets start with the #1 seed Philadelphia Eagles.
- Here is the good thing for Eagles fans, they ranked 3rd overall in defense and have been playing even better in the playoffs. The bad news... obviously there is no Carson Wentz. In the 2 games that Foles has started, they have scored 15 and 16 points.
- I still believe that Foles is a good quarterback. Lets not forget he was a pro bowler with Chip Kelley at the helm. I think that he needs to take more risks and stop playing it so safe, because it is hurting his team. The Eagles gameplan should be and will be similar to Jacksonville. I expect Ajayi to run the ball at least 25 times, and I expect the defense to be super aggressive and blitz the quarterback all day long.
- Also, the Vikings had the 2nd best defense overall defending the TE position, which will make it even more crucial for Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith, and Nelson Agholor to show up in a big way. I expect this game to be quite a bit lower scoring than the AFC championship game. Eagle's winning prediction = 20-17
Lastly, the Minnesota Vikings.
- The Minnesota Vikings by all means should not be in this position. When an offense loses it starting QB and starting RB, typically that team would crumble. But not this viking team. They don't seem to do any one thing great on offense, but they do a lot of things well. Keenum takes care of the ball, Diggs and Thielen have sure hands and dont drop many passes, and the running game didn't slow down after Cook went down. Mckinnon and more importantly Murray, have looked fantastic in recent weeks.
- So what is the gameplan for the vikings? The Vikings boast the number one overall defense which has pushed them to the position they are in now. Keenum went from journeyman backup, to starting QB and possible franchise QB for the Vikings, all in a span of one year. So the gameplan will be to keep 8-9 in the box against the Eagle's running game and force Foles to be more aggressive. Hopefully that aggressiveness will turn into turnovers for the vikings D.
- With two of the best defenses in the league playing against each other, more than likely this game will be lower scoring. I give the edge to the Vikings because they are able to move the ball with more ease and have more fluidity on offense. Foles has not shown enough ability to make plays. If the Vikings are able to take care of the ball and score over 20 points... they will win this game. Viking's winning prediction = 23-16
This should be a great weekend with a couple of fantastic games... Enjoy!