NFL divisional round

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NFL divisional round

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles completes a pass against the Atlanta Falcons in a NFC Divisional Game on January 13, 2018, at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS)

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles completes a pass against the Atlanta Falcons in a NFC Divisional Game on January 13, 2018, at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS)

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles completes a pass against the Atlanta Falcons in a NFC Divisional Game on January 13, 2018, at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS)

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles completes a pass against the Atlanta Falcons in a NFC Divisional Game on January 13, 2018, at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS)

Story by TJ Wall, staff writer

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The Divisional Round of the playoffs was a round that favored the underdogs. Here’s a recap of the mayhem that occured:

Saints vs. Vikings:

The Minnesota Vikings defeated the New Orleans Saints 29-24 in a heartbreaking fashion.

Minnesota had a 96.1 percent chance of winning at the half due to the fact that they were up 17-0. However, at the beginning of the fourth quarter, all of that started to change as the Saints made an incredible comeback effort.

With 25 seconds left in the game, New Orleans’ kicker Will Lutz made a 43 yard field goal to push the Saints ahead of the Vikings with a score of 24-23. At this moment, New Orleans had secured the victory, so they thought. Minnesota quarterback Case Keenum made a last-ditch-effort on the final play of the game with a deep pass to receiver Stefon Diggs.

All New Orleans’ defense had to do was tackle Diggs in-bounds and the clock would have run out, resulting in a victory for the Saints. However, things just can’t be that simple.

Diggs caught the ball in mid-air and the Saints’ rookie safety Marcus Williams totally missed Diggs, leaving a wide-open path for Minnesota to score and put the final nail in the Saints’ coffin as time expired.

What was Williams thinking? Who knows? Maybe he just totally missed the tackle, maybe he was trying to avoid interfering with the pass or maybe he was paid to miss the tackle (just kidding). All I know is the Saints messed up big time and the Vikings are moving on to the Conference Championship.

In my eyes, the Vikings are the strongest team left in the playoffs. I believe they have the best chance at taking home the Lombardi trophy this year. However, the playoffs hardly turn out as expected.

Falcons vs. Eagles:

The Philadelphia Eagles defeated the Atlanta Falcons 15-10 in a game that came down to the very end.

The Eagles were considered by many as the underdogs coming into this matchup. However, the Eagles fought hard and managed to take down the Super Bowl LI runner-up despite their two turnovers. Philadelphia beat Atlanta in pretty much every stat; the Eagles had more time of possession, more total yards, more yards per attempt and so on.

The Falcons, despite the fact that the Eagles’ defense prevented them from doing much, still had a chance at the very end to pull out the win. Unfortunately for Atlanta, the potential game-winning pass slipped right through receiver Julio Jones’ hands and with it, their season.

All in all, this game was a nail-biter. Despite my predictions last week that the Falcons would pull out the win, I believe the better team won. Now, the Eagles led by backup quarterback Nick Foles have one more game to win in order to make it to the Super Bowl. The only question that remains is will the Eagles continue playing strong, or will they collapse under pressure against a strong Minnesota team? We can only wait and see.

Titans vs. Patriots:

The New England Patriots dominated the Tennessee Titans 35-14.

At the end of the first quarter, Tennessee took an early 7-0 lead over the Patriots of New England. The Titans’ confidence skyrocketed and they felt as if they actually had the ability to take down last year’s champs. Then, that’s when the Patriots decided to stop giving Tennessee false hope and instead show them who was really in charge.

It all went downhill from that moment on. Tennessee didn’t score again until the end of the fourth quarter. The Patriots absolutely obliterated the Titans’ hopes and dreams.

New England is the Super Bowl favorites once again this year. I mean, how could you not be when you have Tom Brady on your team? However, I’m a little skeptical of New England. I don’t think that things will turn out how they’re supposed to. In fact…well…you’ll just have to read my predictions at the end.  

Jaguars vs. Steelers:

The Jacksonville Jaguars came into this game as the underdogs and yet still managed to, unexpectedly, take down the Pittsburgh Steelers 45-42.

The Jaguars rookie running back from LSU, Leonard Fournette, dominated the Steelers. Fournette managed to gain 109 rushing yards and three touchdowns along with 10 receiving yards with a total of 27 touches. If Jacksonville’s defense would have played like they usually do along with Fournette performing like he did, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Jaguars won by two or more touchdowns.

Pittsburgh seemed to underestimate the Jaguars coming into this game; they were already thinking about the Conference Championship against the Patriots. But, if we’re all being honest, who wasn’t underestimating the Jaguars? Who wasn’t already looking forward to the rematch between the Patriots and Steelers in the Conference Championship? Who ever thought in their wildest dreams that the Jaguars would be in the AFC Conference Championship after a season that consisted of 3 wins and 13 losses? No one did! That, folks, is what makes football great. Anyone can defy the odds and accomplish their goals, unless you’re the Cleveland Browns. In that case, just stop trying.

Conference Championship Predictions:

AFC:

  1. Jaguars vs. Patriots:

The Patriots have Tom Brady. The Patriots won the Super Bowl last season. The Patriots are projected to win. That is exactly why they will lose. Yes, the Patriots will lose to the Jaguars with a final score of 31-28.

NFC:

  1. Vikings vs. Eagles:

While both teams have solid defenses, Minnesota’s is better. While both teams have solid offenses, due to the absence of Carson Wentz, Minnesota’s is better. Therefore, Minnesota will win with a final score of 23-13.

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