NFL 2017 – Championship Weekend Predictions

How long until Minnesota erects a memorial to the Keenum-Diggs walkoff touchdown?

Seriously though, what a game.

Easily the most entertaining game of the playoffs this year… maybe of the whole year? It’s definitely up there for the whole season.

I don’t think anyone can deny that Keenum is a good quarterback now. If he can beat Philly, the Vikings will be hard pressed to let him walk and retain Bridgewater instead. Tough situation for Teddy, who’s still young enough to become a franchise quarterback for another team.

Feel bad for Drew Brees, who played a great postseason, and with his age, he may not get another chance to make it to the Super Bowl, depending on how things pan out next season or the following after that.

Oh look, the Patriots won against a far outmatched opponent.

And the shootout in Pittsburgh! Blake Bortles tossing the ball around like he’s a competent quarterback! Although, as the stats point out, Doug Marrone scripted a great gameplan for Bortles to be successful against a team with a much better offense.

Ben and the boys just couldn’t overcome the vaunted Jacksonville defense, which has played better than anyone as long as their offense can manage to score points.

The Falcons won’t get to redeem themselves this year after their historical crushing Super Bowl defeat. After handling the Rams effectively, Philly’s great defense and their efficient offense were able to hold off an Atlanta comeback and prevent another winning touchdown drive of Ryan to Julio.

An NFC Championship between Keenum’s Vikings and Foles’ Eagles ostensibly destroys the notion that a franchise quarterback is needed to win the NFL, and supports the old adage that defense wins championships, but generally fails to recognize Keenum’s stellar play this season, as well as Wentz’s MVP-level play before his untimely ACL injury that had led the Eagles to a position to be the number one seed in the NFC.

On the AFC side, the Championship will again come down to Brady and the Pats playing against another new opponent that will attempt to dethrone the masters of the NFL, with the Jaguars making the Super Bowl for the first time ever.

Of the final four teams, three have never won a Super Bowl, one has never made it to the big game, and the last has had one of the greatest franchise stretches in sports history.

Let’s get into the predictions.

Last week: 2-2 (4-4 through all playoffs)

Jacksonville Jaguars at New England Patriots
Sunday, January 21 3:05 pm ET

Can the underdog Jaguars upset the established Masters of the Universe? It will take more heat than can warm the frigid Foxborough air.

Jaguars defense will need to be as ball hawkish and sack taking and rock Boston harder than the British bombardment during the Revolutionary War.

But I think they can do it. They beat Pittsburgh is convincing fashion (score was misleading; was 45-35 at 0:03) and I think their young, red hot defense can rise again.

We know what the Patriots have to (and likely will do) to win and advance to the Super Bowl again. But the Jaguars will have to change their scheme from last week to win. I trust Jacksonville’s defense too much to think they’ll let this slip by. I’m taking the upset!

Score Prediction: Jacksonville wins, 27-24

Minnesota Vikings at Philadelphia Eagles
Sunday, January 21 6:40 pm ET

Keenum v Foles- a battle for the ages. Truly though, this match will come down to their respective vaunted defenses.

Keenum has been the superior quarterback all season, win Foles’ limited work being very scattershot.

I think the Vikings have the superior offense, but the Eagles’ defense is nothing to sneeze at. If they can get pressure like New Orleans did, they might be able to rattle Keenum enough to cause some turnovers and keep the ball in Foles’ hands.

I look for Ajayi and Blount to have some big games in this matchup, since Coach Pederson knows of his quarterback’s limitations. The only thing will be overcoming Minnesota’s defense.

I like a fairy tale ending as much as the next guy. That’s why I’m picking it.

Score Prediction: Minnesota wins, 30-24

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