Category Archives: NFL

#RumorHasIt: 7 NFL Offseason changes that will change next seasons playoff picture

No one is safe from an off-season move. If the NBA Trade Deadline taught us anything, it’s that no matter how much you’re worth, trades and free agency can still change the dynamic of any team in the league.

Here are seven NFL teams facing off-season decisions that will impact the playoff picture in 2018. There are a lot of quarterback decisions to be made, which keeps free agency exciting.


Philadelphia Eagles, NFC Eastlarge (1)

Yes, the Eagles just won Super Bowl 52. They also just lost their offensive coordinator, Frank Reich, to the Colts and their QB coach, John DeFilippo, to the Vikings. Aside from potentially learning a new offense, the Eagles are also at a crossroads in their quarterback battles (Foles vs Wentz) along with upgrading and maintaining their defense.

Although he was named Super Bowl 52 MVP, the Eagles aren’t expecting to start Nick Foles in 2018. With Carson Wentz, a potential regular season MVP, the Eagles can’t chose Foles to start.

Foles is with the Eagles through this season, and I expect him to play a bit, but unless Wentz gets injured again, he won’t start any games for the Eagles.

Currently, the Eagles aren’t seeking a new offensive coordinator to replace Reich, who just signed as the new head coach for the Colts. With questions about continuing their success in 2018 without an OC, the team may try to find someone later in the off-season as other teams make moves.

Another big question mark for the Super Bowl Champions is the state of their defense. Super Bowl hero Brandon Graham reportedly wants to stay with the team, and has already let the Eagles know he wants to retire as only an Eagle. If this doesn’t happen, the Eagles will need to find their next star on the defense.


New England Patriots, AFC EastFarmvilleMiddle

After advancing to their third Super Bowl in four years, the Brady-led Patriots are poised for another playoff run in 2018. With no news on retirement from Brady or Belichick, the Patriots dynasty will continue as planned.

Now that Josh McDaniels remains with the Patriots, there isn’t going to be a new offense for the team, but there are still a couple of major decision on the offensive and defensive side of the ball that will impact how successful the 2018 season plays out.

Star tight end Rob Gronkowski, who suffered a concussion in the AFC Championship game against the Jaguars but played in Super Bowl 52, is considering retirement. He had an excellent season, coming back from a leg injury and posted a 100+ yard, two touchdown performance in the Super Bowl.

Only 29-years-old, and already a 5-time Pro Bowler, Gronkowski is weighing his options, following the Patriots loss to the Eagles.

On the defensive side, the Patriots are expected to release cornerback Malcolm Butler in free agency and need to find a high-talent pass rusher to keep up with the league.


Minnesota Vikings, NFC Northminnesota-vikings-logo-transparent

The biggest decision for the Vikings comes at quarterback. With the injury to Sam Bradford, five-year veteran Case Keenum took over the role of starter. Finishing the season 12-3, Keenum and Bradford are both about to be free agents. The Vikings will be deciding who to choose moving forward, and if Teddy Bridgewater is in the mix.

I expect the Vikings to move on from Bradford, potentially franchise tag Keenum and then the conversation will be between Bridgewater and the NFC surprise, Keenum. There are also rumors that Kirk Cousins could end up in Minnesota this off-season.

In addition to their quarterback dilemma, the Vikings are also in the midst of an identity crisis. After boasting the top defense in the NFL last season, the Vikings gave up nearly 500 yards to the Eagles in the NFC Championship.

Luckily, a majority of their defensive line remain under contract through 2018 and will continue to help the Vikings defense.


Indianapolis Colts, AFC Southi

With a new coaching staff, the Colts will need big changes to get back in the playoff picture in 2018.  The biggest question for the Colts is whether quarterback Andrew Luck will be healthy enough to play in 2018.

After missing the entire 2017 season with a shoulder injury, the Colts had an abysmal 4-12 record. With Jacoby Brissett at the helm, the Colts don’t necessarily need to rush Luck into playing.

Aside from the quarterback question, the Colts are in need of defensive improvements. Last season, the Colts were near the bottom of the league in every defensive statistic. Injuries to key players played a role in their disappointing season, but this off-season could be what they need to turn things around.

Under new defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus, the Colts have switched to a 4-3 defensive scheme that will help them pressure the quarterback more than their previous 3-4 scheme.

With questions about the status of running back Frank Gore with the Colts next season, I expect them to draft a running back. Although they just drafted Marlon Mack last season, and his season was productive behind Gore, I don’t think he’ll make his career with the Colts.


Arizona Cardinals, NFC WestteamPic117911-25092-1di6loo

The Cardinals suffered some major injuries that caused them to miss the playoffs last season. With injuries to star running back David Johnson in week 1 and starting quarterback Carson Palmer in week 7, the Cardinals looked to their reserves to get them through the 2017 season.

Finishing 8-8, the Cardinals are looking to Johnson’s return to help them in 2018.

After 15 seasons, Palmer has called it a career, announcing his retirement in January. Along with Palmer, head coach Bruce Arians also retired follow the season, leaving a new coaching staff to revitalize the struggling Cardinals.

Drew Stanton, Blaine Gabbert and Matt Barkley all stepped up after Palmer’s injury, leading to his retirement. Stanton became the starter for the remained of the season, but all three are bound to be free agents in March. The Cardinals will have to decide if they want to go with one of their current backups or draft a new franchise quarterback.

On the defense, the Cardinals sit in the middle of the league in most statistics. With a handful of 2017 starters entering free agency in 2018, the Cardinals will need to be smart about their acquisitions to get back to the playoffs.


Los Angeles Rams, NFC Westlarge

In 2017, Sean McVay saved the Rams from everyone’s expectations. With Jared Goff and Todd Gurley having the best seasons of their young careers, the Rams put together an 11-5 season and made it to the NFC Wild Card game before losing to the Saints.

With most of their offense returning, the biggest moves for the Rams should come for their defense.

Cornerback Trumaine Johnson and safety Lamarcus Joyner are both set to become free agents. Alongside stars Aaron Donald and Robert Quinn, Johnson and Joyner had exceptional 2017 campaigns. Donald was named defensive player of the year.

The Rams would like to keep Quinn, but he may have to accept less money to stay with one of the best teams in the NFC next season.

McVay took the league by storm, transforming one of the worst offenses in 2016 to one of the best in 2017. His contract is through 2021, but he’ll have to continue to prove himself on the field to keep the Rams moving in the right direction.


Pittsburgh Steelers, AFC North51bxeTuGmPL

Le’Veon Bell wants to be paid better for the impact he has for the Steelers. After losing to the Jaguars in the AFC Divisional Game, the Steelers were shocked.

After the tough loss, and end of their season, three major decisions need to be made for the Steelers.

  1. What kind of contract do they want to offer Bell? How much is he worth to them?
  2. Who will be Ben Roethlisbergers replacement?
  3. How can they improve their defense?

First, Bell is set to become a free agent in March. If the Steelers don’t want to lose one of the best running backs in the NFL, they’ll need to pay him. A lot. The Steelers are considering offering Bell a franchise tag, again. Worth upwards of $15 million, Bell accepted last year, but only so he was on a roster and could play.

Next, Ben Roethlisberger is going to be playing in his 15th season, all with the Steelers. In the next few years, he is expected to announce his retirement. This means the Steelers should start developing his replacement this season.

Draft a quarterback in a later round of the draft and give him some playtime in the preseason. Let me learn and grow under a veteran quarterback and hope he is ready whenever Big Ben calls it a career.

Last, the Steelers need to upgrade their defense. With the loss of Ryan Shazier (praying for a speedy recovery), they need to fill his linebacker spot. With Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and Bell on the offense, the Steelers weakness is their defense. Upgrading their safety position and linebacker spots would improve the who team, without spending too much money in the off-season.


 

NFL: Colts & Patriots Rivalry Revival

Let me start by saying how difficult is it for me, a Colts fan, to write about the success of the Patriots. In my memorable life, I’ve seen the Colts beat the Patriots four times.

Watching the Colts win 27-20, on the road in Gillette Stadium, in November of the 2006 season was one of the first games I watched. From then on, I knew I’d be a Colts fan.

The next season, I watched Manning and Vinatieri beat Brady on their way to a Super Bowl XLI victory against the Bears.

The last two times the Colts beat the Patriots was in Lucas Oil Stadium in 2008 and 2009. Both games were decided by one score, and are some of my favorite memories of the Manning era.

Recently, the Colts haven’t played at the same level as the Patriots. Winning the last seven match ups, including two AFC Championship games (2014 and 2015), the Patriots have been the biggest rival for the Colts in my life.

Sure, generally a rivalry is full of close games, both sides winning as many times as they’ve lost. With an all-time record of 29-51 against the Patriots organization, the Colts need a change to get back to playing competitively.

I expect that change to come with Frank Reich, the new head coach for the Indianapolis Colts.

In his press conference announcing Josh McDaniels, Patriots offensive coordinator, had changed his mind about accepting the head coach position with the Colts, GM Chris Ballard ended with five words that should make Colts fans excited for the season.

“The rivalry is back on.”

Heading to Foxborough for the first time since losing the Patriots in the 2015 AFC Championship, the game that sparked the “Deflategate” controversy, the Colts, will look to win in Gillette in what could be the last season of Tom Brady’s career.

With a healthy quarterback in Andrew Luck, a new defensive scheme (more on that in a later blog), and a new coaching staff, I hope to see the Indianapolis Colts in the playoffs for the next 5+ straight years.

I think it’s very doable for the team. Depending on how the draft goes this year, the Colts could have a new, young star running back. They could draft a strong defensive end or linebacker. They could even make a run at a stud receiver in free agency to accompany T.Y. Hilton.

To be successful, the Colts have to win the big games in the big moments. Beating the New England Patriots is always a big win in a big moment in my book.

NFL: 2018 Eagles rain supreme in instant classic shootout over Patriots in #SuperBowlLII

If you’re a Patriots fan, be aware.

I’m not going to blast the Pats for their performance in Super Bowl LII. They played a game that would’ve beaten literally any other team in the NFL. I give all the credit to Nick Foles and the Eagles for beating the best dynasty currently in football.

That being said:

“Suck it, Patriots.”

                                             –A happy Colts fan

In an MVP performance, Nick Foles played the game of his life against the defending champs. From the beginning, Foles and his receivers were feeling it and it showed.

Although they only got three points on the opening drive, they opened up a 9-3 lead through the first quarter following Jake Elliot missed XP (not the only blunder of the night on special teams).

After another Eagles TD and a Goskowski FG, the Pats found the endzone for the first time on a 26-yard James White run. Surprisingly, Goskowski missed the XP (the second blunder) to make it a 15-12 game just before the two minute warning of the first half.

In an incredible 7-play, 70-yard drive that covered 90 seconds, Nick Foles drove the Eagles to the 1 yardline, but faced 4th & goal. The biggest play of the half.

Here it is. Gutsiest call for the Eagles to end the half with 10-point lead.

Tom Brady did what he does, finding tight end Rob Gronkowski four times on the opening drive of the third quarter on a 8-play, 75-yard drive that ended with a Gronk Spike. His first of two.

The Eagles followed the score with an answer, driving 85-yards to stay up by 10 midway through the third.  Tom “Playoff” Brady came back strong and led yet ANOTHER long drive to keep the Patriots in the game.

Going 75-yards in just under four minutes narrowed their deficit back to three points, 29-26.

Enter fourth quarter antics.

In one of their least productive drives of the night, the Eagles only mustered a field goal to open the fourth quarter. It seemed like they were running out of steam from keeping up with the Patriots all game.

They weren’t.

Tom Brady led a 10-play drive that lasted nearly five minutes.

The result? A second Gronk Spike that gave the Patriots their first lead of the game with just over nine minutes left in regulation.

If you thought the 4th & goal play to end the first half was gutsy, it gets better.

Foles orchestrated the drive of a lifetime, going 75-yards on FOURTEEN (14) plays and killed over seven minutes off the clock. Just before the two minute warning, Foles found Zach Ertz for a controversial 11-yard TD to take the lead back, 38-33.

After the failed 2PT to go up by seven, the Eagles had one thing to do–stop Tom Brady.

Tom Brady is one of the, if not THE, best clutch quarterbacks in the history of the NFL. His numbers in games don’t lie.

This wasn’t going to be one of those games. On the second play of his final drive, Brady was under pressure and got strip-sacked by Brandon Graham, the Eagles leading sack earner.

The Eagles took over on the NE 28 and stayed in FG range for the Elliot kick to make it 41-33.

One last ditch effort to score points (and possibly a 2PT to even the score) fell short for Brady and the Patriots.



Underdogs throughout the entire postseason. Overlooked once Carson Wentz got injured. Overlooked and underdogs no more.

For the first time since 1960, the Philadelphia Eagles are Champions, winning Super Bowl LII, over the Patriots, 41-33 in offensive shootout

APTOPIX_Eagles_Patriots_Super_Bowl_Football_22965.jpg
Photo from: macon.com


Notable Stats:

Eagles   41
QB: N. Foles (SB MVP)         28/43, 373 yds, 3 TD, 1 TD rec, 1 INT
RB: J. Ajayi                               9 car. 57 yds.
RB: L. Blount                           14 car. 90 yds, TD
RB: C. Clement                         3 car, 8 yds, 4 rec, 100 yds, TD
WR: A. Jeffery                         3 rec, 73 yds, TD
WR: N. Agholor                       9 rec, 84 yds.
TE: Z. Ertz                                7 rec, 67 yds, TD (GW)

Patriots     33

QB: T. Brady                            28/48, 505 yds, 3 TD
RB: J. White                             7 car, 45 yds, TD, 2 rec, 21 yds.
RB: R. Burkhead                     3 car, 18 yds, 1 rec, 46 yds.
WR: D. Amendola                   8 rec, 152 yds.
WR: C. Hogan                          6 rec, 128 yds, TD
TE: R. Gronkowski                 9 rec, 116 yds, 2 TD



If this game wasn’t enough to get you to love the game of football, it was certainly one that’ll go down in history as one of the best ever. Breaking 17 records and tying 12 more, this game was the best offensive shootout in the history of the Super Bowl.

In the middle of many of these records is Tom Brady. Now the only quarterback in NFL history with 10,000+ postseason passing yards, Brady also has the most pass attempts (357), completions (235), passing yards (2,576) and passing touchdowns (18) than any other player in Super Bowl history.

This game, Brady broke the single game passing yards record in a SB with 505, breaking his record from last year against the Falcons (467).

The two teams combined for a NFL record 1,151 total yards (874 of which were passing), which is the most in ANY NFL GAME (regular and postseason games).

I’m not going to list all 29 records that were broken/tied in the game, but CBS Sports did, so here’s a link.

 

NFL: 2018 Super Bowl LII (Patriots vs. Eagles) Preview

USA TODAY Sports

As I’ve said in previous blog posts, I’m a die hard Indianapolis Colts fan, so I have a hard time cheering for the Patriots in any circumstance. I recognize the legacy Belichick and Brady have built and every team in the NFL aspires to have that kind of success.

There are rumors circulating about the end of this legacy. Tom Brady, who is now 40 years old, and Bill Belichick, 65 years young, would be the oldest in league history to win a Super Bowl in their respective roles.

One of the biggest things to know going into Super Bowl Sunday is the experience difference between the Patriots and Eagles.

If the playoff and Super Bowl experience differential isn’t enough to influence your prediction, consider this season.

Tom Brady led the NFL in passing yards with 4,577. According to NFL Research, QB’s who led the league in passing yards are 0-5 in Super Bowls in that season. This isn’t a reason to bet against Brady and the Patriots, but it is something to consider against Nick Foles and the Eagles this season.

Throwing for a whopping 352 yards and 3 TDs against a defense that only gave up an average of 192 pass yards/game during the regular season. If Foles and Eagles Offensive Coordinator Frank Reich can dial up that same offensive performance, this game will be well in hand for the NFC Champions.

                      BleacherReport.com

I don’t expect that to happen. Crazier games have been played, in a Super Bowl, nonetheless. Need I remind you of SB XLVIII?

A big question mark looms over star tight end Rob Gronkowski and his readiness to return to the field following his injury early in the AFC Championship game two weeks ago. Currently in concussion protocol, Gronk knows what it’s like to miss a huge game, missing last seasons Super Bowl with a back injury.

I don’t expect scoring to be hard to come by. The current over/under is 48 points with the Patriots favored by just 3 points. Both teams boast high flying offenses and reliable defenses that will look to take every advantage at their disposal to gain an edge.


My prediction:

I fully expect the Patriots to continue their dominance and win another Super Bowl. As much as I’d like to see the Eagles,the biggest underdog since 2009, beat the Patriots, I don’t think it’ll happen. It’s going to come down to how well Nick Foles plays.

I expect the Tom Brady to have an average playoff TB12 game and lead a solid, well-rounded offensive effort. In order for the Eagles to even have a chance, Foles will have to play out of his mind. As good or better than he played against the Vikings.

The Patriots will keep the Eagles running game locked down and make Foles convert and make plays all game long. The Eagles will, and should, bring blitz more often than usual.

Sporting News Online

Patriots         28
Eagles            24

 

 

NFL: Is the Pro Bowl worth watching?

In a sport filled with gruesome injuries from big hits, season-ending non-contact injuries and fans wanting safer games, but less regulations, how can the NFL continue to hold the Pro Bowl?

Since leaving Hawaii a few years ago, the Pro Bowl has expanded its activities from just the game to an entire week/weekend of games and activities for players, coaches and families to participate in. I think this trend is smart for the league, but I don’t think it solves the problem I have.

The biggest problem I have is the game itself.

The Pro Bowl, an AFC vs NFC battle for bragging rights, mostly, happens the weekend between the AFC/NFC Championship games and the Super Bowl. No Super Bowl teams participate because they are preparing for the biggest game of their season.

In the past, the Pro Bowl has been just a time to relax, have fun and play the game all the athletes love. With 44-man rosters, and a handful of the best players at each position attending, the game is generally close and got a decent amount of viewers on TV.

Now, the game is played in the middle of the day (2pm kickoff on Sunday), and though it saw a 28% increase from last year, it still fails to exceed its rating, according to Sports Media Watch, for the sixth straight year.

Viewership isn’t everything.

In addition to the consistently poor rating, two other things stick out as unimpressive about the game. Officiating and separation of athletes.

I understand that this is a special game and no one wants athletes getting hurt in a “just-for-fun” type game, but it’s ridiculous.

The refs were blowing plays dead once they see  a stoppage of progress. The problem with that is sometimes the progress isn’t stopped.

Doug Baldwin had a HUGE gain blown dead

My other issue with the Pro Bowl is how little the NFL does to make it a special game. Except for the 2014-2016 seasons, the game has been AFC vs NFC. Blue vs Red jerseys, no specialty helmets or jerseys or anything that makes the game better for fans and viewers.

There are endless possibilities for the league to be creative with this game, and they’re not.

To me, the Pro Bowl is on its way out. Unlike the NBA, MLB and NHL All-Star games that are in the middle of the season, the Pro Bowl is at the end of its season. People are getting bored with watching football and viewership shows it.

Here’s more information about the Pro Bowl

For the second consecutive year, the Pro Bowl week has included a handful of “Skills Challenges.” This year, highlight challenges included 10-on-10 Dodgeball, Kick-Tac-Toe (tic-tac-toe for placekickers), Gridiron Gauntlet (relay race), Best Hands (receiving), Precision Passing (best accuracy) and Drone Drop (catching a ball dropped from designated heights with a drone).

This season, the AFC came back from down 20-3 at halftime to beat the NFC 24-23 to win its second consecutive Pro Bowl. Von Miller (Broncos) won Defensive MVP and Delanie Walker (Titans) won Offensive MVP.

 

NFL: 2018 NFC Champion, Eagles roll to Super Bowl 52

Not only did the Philadelphia Eagles beat the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Championship, they obliterated them. The Vikings started the game strong with a 9-play, 75 yard drive to get on the board first. Their only points of the game. After a quick four play drive that only amounted to 17 yards, the Eagle punted the ball back to the Vikings who were already nursing a 7-0 lead. That’s when momentum changed.



Full Recap Here:

After driving to the edge of Vikings territory, Case Keenum was pressured in the pocket and tried to heave a ball to one of his receivers. Needless to say they didn’t catch it–Patrick Robinson, an Eagles cornerback, caught it and took in 50 yards for a pick-6.

With the score even at 7-7, the Vikings and Keenum had the ball and a chance to stay in the game. They failed to pick up a single first down and punted the ball back to the Eagles just 90 seconds after they scored. The Eagles took their time, driving 75 yards in over six minutes and scored on a 11-yard run by LeGarrette Blount to give the Eagles their first lead. They never looked back.

Already down 14-7, the Vikes only gained 91 yards of offense in the remaining first half and their defense gave up 150. After a Vikings fumble late in the second quarter, the Eagles put together another 75 yard drive in just over two minutes to pull ahead, 21-7.

Nothing could go right for the Vikings as they managed to punt the ball back to Philly one more time before the half. Foles threw for three consecutive first downs and added 60 passing yards to his total, getting into field goal range with 0:04 left in the first half. Jake Elliott knocked it through from 38 yards out and the Eagles went to the locker room up 24-7 against the best defense in the league.

The Eagles got the ball to start the second half and again, took it 75 yards to pay-dirt to extend their lead to 31-7. Another long drive for the Vikings ended in a turnover as a Keenum to Thielen connection was ruled incomplete on 4th and goal from the seven.

At this point, the Eagles were winning handily and were draining the clock. On a crazy 12-play, 92 yard drive that killed 7:11 off the clock, the Nick Foles connected with wide receiver Alshon Jeffery for their second TD of the night, making Foles’ total three. The score was 38-7, the Vikings had the ball and a few more drives, but nothing came from them. That score is final.



Major Stats:

Ealges:  38                                                              Vikings:  7
QB: N. Foles 26/33, 352 yds, 3 TD                        QB: C. Keenum 28/48, 271 yds, 1 TD, 2 INT
RB: J. Ajayi 18 car, 73 yds                                      RB: J. McKinnon 10 car, 40 yds, 11 rec, 86 yd
RB: L. Blount 6 car, 21 yds, 1 TD                          WR: S. Diggs 8 rec, 70 yds
WR: A. Jeffery 5 rec, 85 yds, 2 TD
TE: Z. Ertz 8 rec, 93 yds



Stacking up against my prediction:

This game is the only game so far that my prediction was WAY off. I predicted a close game, like most people. I predicted a 21-17 game with the Vikings winning. Obviously, that’s way off. It happens. I don’t think anyone predicted a blowout.

About the only aspect of my prediction that stood true was the defensive TD. Foles exceeded my prediction for yards and TDs. Keenum did break 200 yards, but only threw 1 TD. The run game was rough for both teams, so my prediction fell flat their.

The Eagles, home underdogs this weekend, move on and will travel to Minnesota to play against the AFC Champion Patriots in Super Bowl 52 in two weeks. Keep an eye out for a blog breaking down what each team will have to do to win SB52.

Super-Bowl-52-Logo

NFL: 2018 AFC Champion, Patriots heading to Super Bowl 52

Yes, the Patriots did win the AFC Championship…again. In their seventh straight appearance in the game, Tom Brady and Bill Belichick did what they seemingly always do–walk away with a spot in the Super Bowl. The Jaguars did themselves proud, fighting until the last drive against the best team in football, but fell short as Blake Bortles and the offense got put in a tough 4th down spot.



Here’s a recap:

After falling behind 3-0 after the first drive, the Jacksonville Jaguars defense held the high-flying offense of the New England defense to just 10-points in the first half. Following the opening drive FG, the Jaguars put together two consecutive 75+ yard drives to lead 14-3 midway through the second quarter.

Leaving too much time on the clock before half, the stingy defense of the Jaguars did what they could to stall the Patriots, but Brady led a 6-play, 85 yard drive to score with less than a minute before halftime. Up 14-10 with a minute left in the first half, the Jaguars took a knee and rode their advantage into the locker room in Foxborough. Star tight end Rob Gronkowski was injured on the drive and wouldn’t return.

The second half was a completely different game for both teams. With the ball out of halftime, the Jaguars looked to push the ball downfield and drive into Patriots territory. A 9-play, 39 yard drive ended in only three points for the Jags as Josh Lambo hit a 54-yard FG, the only points for either team in the third quarter.

Leading 17-10 after three quarters, Bortles and the Jaguars were in position to hold their advantage and seal the game. Holding Tom Brady and the Patriots to zero points in the third, the Jags took their next possession 11-plays, 66 yards in nearly five minutes to get another Lambo FG, to make the score 20-10 with one quarter remaining.

Enter playoff Tom Brady.

To this point, Brady had thrown for 152 yards and no touchdowns. Brady is not new to playing from behind. Just last year, the Brady-led Patriots came back from a 28-3 deficit to beat the Falcons in Super Bowl 51. If anyone can comeback and win big games, it’s Brady and Belichick.

The Jaguars scored their last points, the Lambo FG to take the 20-10 lead, with 14:52 left in the game. Aside from an early fumble, the Patriots owned the fourth quarter.

Tallying 138 more yards, Brady was on another level. With 10 stitches in his throwing hand all game, from an injury earlier this week, Brady finished the game with a solid stat line. Nothing new for him in the playoffs.

After surrendering two touchdowns in the last nine minutes, the Jaguars had the ball and a shot to earn their spot in Super Bowl 52. Down 24-20 just before the two minute warning, the Bortles got the ball on his own 25-yardline but had a long way to go. Needing 75 yards to win the game, Bortles threw for 41 yards but was sacked for seven yards on second down to the Patriots 45 yardline. On the sack, Bortles lost the ball, but luckily one of his linemen recovered for a loss of nine total yards on the play.

Coming out of the two-minute warning, the Jags faced a tough 3rd and 19 from the New England 47. Bortles dumped off a short pass and his receiver, James O’Shaughnessy, managed only four yards, leading to a 4th and 15.

On his last play of the season, Blake Bortles took a shot to receiver Dede Westbrook downfield. In an amazing effort, Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore got a hand above Westbrook to break up the play and sink the hopes of the Jaguars.

The exciting game finished with a score of 24-20 with the Patriots claiming the AFC spot in Super Bowl 52.



Major Statistical Impact:

                       Patriots:  24                                                                Jaguars: 20
QB: T. Brady 26/38, 290 yds, 2 TD                           QB: B. Bortles 23/36, 293 yds, 1 TD
RB: D. Lewis 9 car, 34 yds, 7 rec, 32 yds                 RB: L. Fournette 24 car, 76 yds, 1 TD
WR: B. Cooks 6 rec, 100 yds                                      RB: C. Grant 3 rec, 59 yds
WR: D. Amendola 7 rec, 84 yds, 2 TD                     WR: A. Hurns 6 rec, 80 yds



Comparing my prediction:

I’m still confident in my predictions throughout these playoffs. Here are my predictions for this game.

Although Brady didn’t throw any picks, the Jaguars did force a turnover. Brady was held under 300 yards, just, and got the 2 TDs as I predicted. With the early injury to Gronkowski, he wasn’t able to play in the second half, tallying just one reception for 21 yards. I correctly predicted that the Jaguars would lead at halftime, led by Fournette. Though he didn’t eclipse 100 rush yards, he did get 76 and the TD, leading all players.

Keep an eye our for a NFC Championship Recap and Super Bowl 52 preview.

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