The NFL playoffs sadly do not include the Seahawks this season. For 12s, the only good part of this is we are not emotional wrecks on Sunday. That said, here are some quick and silly and non-emotional predictions for the AFC and NFC Championship games.
Jacksonville Jaguars at New England Patriots
Prediction 1: Blake Bortles will have better raw numbers than Tom Brady
This doesn’t mean Bortles will play better, just that he will throw for more yards on more passes. My feeling is that the Patriots will quickly shut down the run game of the Jaguars and force Bortles to throw more. The Patriots in comparison will find a way to run the ball. Bortles will not play badly and after the game people might have some new-found respect for him.
And don’t worry about Brady’s “injured” hand. That is the biggest non-story in sports. He will play just fine.
Prediction 2: The Jaguars will have no more than two sacks against Brady
I say this because New England will run the ball a lot more than expected and do so successfully. This means Brady will be dropping back less. And for as great as the Jaguars defense has been for most of the year, they have had some issues lately. The San Francisco 49ers game in week 16 (Jags gave up 37 offensive points)? Last week’s Pittsburgh Steelers game (Jags gave up 42 points)?
And honestly the Buffalo Bills playoff game shouldn’t count. The Bills stink on offense. A group of guys and I that play flag football near Green Lake every Saturday scrimmaged the Bills and only lost 6-3.
But there have been several comparisons between this Jacksonville team and the 2013 Seahawks defense. When that Seattle team had their chance to shut down a great offense in the Super Bowl they dominated the Broncos and cemented their place as one of the best defenses ever. Jacksonville has a chance to prove their greatness on Sunday.
Prediction 3: Final score: Patriots 31 Jaguars 17
As I said, Bortles will have a decent game. But Brady will make more important throws. And Bill Belichick will prepare his team to defeat the Jaguars’ defense. And Leonard Fournette will not gain more than 60 yards rushing. New England knows how to win in the NFL playoffs; The Jaguars are not there yet.
Minnesota Vikings at Philadelphia Eagles
Prediction 1: The first team to 13 points wins
The Eagles, led by quarterback Nick Foles, scored only 15 points against the Atlanta Falcons last week. Yet, that was enough to defeat a good Falcons offense. But the Vikings defense is even better than Atlanta’s.
The problem for the Vikings is that the Eagles defense is better than the New Orleans Saints, the team Minnesota beat last week to advance in the NFL playoffs. Case Keenum played well enough to win, but at some point he will be asked to be more dynamic. This might be the week.
Like watching dominant defenses take on pedestrian offenses? This is the game for you!
Prediction 2: Philadelphia will not score a touchdown
The real shame of these NFL playoffs is that the Eagles do not have Carson Wentz. If Wentz were healthy and playing, Philadelphia would be the best team left. But he isn’t. Nick Foles is playing in his stead. Because of this I do not think that Minnesota allows the Eagles to get into the end zone.
Keenum will not have it much easier, but at least he has played the whole year and is more comfortable with what his offense can and cannot do.
Prediction 3: Final score: Vikings 13 Eagles 9
I think the Vikings get 10 points in the first half and lead 10-3 at halftime. After that, Minnesota just tries to eat as much clock as possible. Philadelphia will get it to 10-9 before a late Kai Forbath field goal.
Lastly, let’s be honest. 12s want the Patriots to lose. So for this week only, go Jags!