NFL conference championship

The NFL Conference Championship was exciting on one hand and pretty awful on the other. Here’s a recap of what happened:

Vikings vs. Eagles:

The Philadelphia Eagles defeated the Minnesota Vikings with a score of 38-7.

Coming into this game, the odds were in favor of the Vikings to win this game. However, the final result was the complete opposite of what was expected.

Led by quarterback Nick Foles, the Eagles completely obliterated the Vikings. Foles had a monster performance in which threw for 352 yards and three touchdowns all while completing about 79 percent of his passes.

The Eagles took over this game completely. They were more efficient in pretty much every aspect. They lead in time of possession, total yards, yards per play and they had no turnovers compared to the Vikings’ three.

The Vikings, on the other hand, didn’t play well at all. They went from being on an emotional high after winning on the last play versus the Saints in the divisional round to an all-time low from being blown out by Philly. Their defense, which is arguably the best in the NFL, didn’t play like the elite defense they’re supposed to be.

Honestly, I don’t even know why we’re here talking about this game; it wasn’t really even a game. There’s just not much to say about it except the Vikings folded under pressure and the Eagles destroyed them. That’s about it.

Patriots vs. Jaguars:

The New England Patriots defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 24-20 in the only entertaining game of the week

The Jaguars won the first half with a score of 14-10. If it wasn’t for the touchdown that New England got in the last few minutes of the half, the Jaguars would have completely dominated the first and second quarter.

The beginning of the second half continued the same way the first half ended. Jacksonville seemed to be taking control even further. However, with eight minutes and 44 seconds left in the fourth quarter, Tom Brady and his squad started to regain control of the situation by scoring a touchdown, making the score 20-17.

After that, it all just went downhill. The Jaguars did not score another point and the Patriots took the lead.

Overall, it was a very exciting game that was definitely worth watching even though the team I was going for lost. Even though the Jaguars didn’t make it to the promised land, they can be extremely proud in what they accomplished.

With the New England Patriots facing the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII, I definitely have a few thoughts. However, you’ll have to tune in next week to hear a few interesting points about this matchup and maybe some things to be watching for.  




NFL divisional round

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.




All things must come to an end

With it being the last week of the regular season in the NFL, week 17, there aren’t too many big things going on. The playoffs are pretty much set and teams who aren’t in the running for a playoff spot don’t really have much to fight for except their dignity. With that being said, here’s a recap of some important things that went down:

Titans Earn a Spot In the Playoffs:

The Tennessee Titans defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars in a make-or-break game for the Titans’ season.

If the Titans would have lost, they would be watching the playoffs from their couch. However, thanks to a horrible performance by the Jaguars’ offense, the Titans live to see another day.

The Jaguars offense was held to just one touchdown and one field goal, making their final score a disappointing 10 points. During their 26 minutes and 33 seconds worth of offense, the Jaguars somehow managed to lose two of four fumbles and throw two interceptions which shows how inefficiently their offense was playing. With Jacksonville’s quarterback Blake Bortles only completing a little under half of his passes and their star rookie running back Leonard Fournette only running for 69 yards on 19 carries, the Jaguar offense just couldn’t get things rolling.

What’s funny in my eyes is that the Titans’ offense really didn’t do much better; they just managed to do “less-horrible” than the Jaguars. The Titan defense is what pushed Tennessee over the top to get the win.

Free safety Kevin Byard helped out tremendously by racking up two interceptions and was a part of a total of six tackles. Titans’ linebacker Avery Williamson played a big role in the defense as well; he made five tackles and assisted in six other tackles.

In all honesty, I don’t believe the Titans are really a threat in the playoffs. I truly am a fan of the team that they’ve built, but they just don’t have what it takes to defeat the competition that is to come. I really hope that I’m wrong in saying that, but as of now I don’t believe there’s any hope for the Titans of Tennessee.

Playoff Picture/Wildcard Games:

The wildcard games of the playoffs are set! Here’s how it’s looking:

AFC:

  1. Tennessee Titans vs. Kansas City Chiefs
  2. Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Buffalo Bills
  • I predict that the Chiefs will defeat the Titans by about 10 points with a final score of 13-23 and that the Jaguars will defeat the Bills by at least two touchdowns with a final score of 31-17.

NFC:

  1. Carolina Panthers vs. New Orleans Saints
  2. Los Angeles Rams vs. Atlanta Falcons
  • I predict that the Saints will defeat the Panthers by less than 10 points with a final score of 20-14 and that the Rams will defeat the Falcons by at least 10 points with a final score of 24-10.

Jon Gruden Is Back as the Head Coach of the Raiders:

Former head coach Jon Gruden is back in the game!

The Oakland Raiders are preparing to sign Gruden to a 10-year 100 million dollar contract which is believed to be the richest coaching contract in NFL history. Gruden has previously spent time as the head coach of the Oakland Raiders and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and even won Super Bowl XXXVII with Tampa Bay (ironically against the Raiders) back in the 2002-2003 season.

Since Gruden stopped coaching for a while, he has spent nine NFL seasons as a color commentator for the ESPN’s Monday Night Football broadcasts.

I personally believe that Gruden is exactly what Oakland needs to be that lethal team that they were supposed to be this season. The Raiders have all the pieces they need to be successful along with a top ten pick in this year’s draft where they will most likely be looking to draft an inside linebacker or offensive lineman. I am a fan of Gruden and I am a fan of the team Oakland has so I’m excited to see where this thing goes.




A game of inches

This week in the NFL was a roller coaster of emotions due to all of the crazy outcomes. Here’s what you need to know:

Rock beats scissors, scissors beats paper, paper beats the Raiders:

The Dallas Cowboys faced off against the Oakland Raiders in a thriller on Sunday night. However, despite their best efforts, the Raiders came up short with a final score of 20-17.

The Cowboys were in the lead with a score of 10-0 at the half. However the Raiders came back with 10 points of their own right after halftime.

With 4 minutes and 45 seconds left in the third quarter, the Cowboys were facing a fourth down with 11 yards to go on their own 24 yard line. Despite the fact that teams in the NFL usually never go for a first down under these circumstances, the Cowboys did by running a fake punt with the punter, Chris Jones, running for the first down marker. Later that possession, the Cowboys’ quarterback Dak Prescott ran in a touchdown making the score 17-10.

Afterwards, the Raiders quarterback Derek Carr threw a touchdown pass to their receiver Michael Crabtree, making the score tied at 17.

With about five minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Cowboys faced yet another fourth down where Dak Prescott ran a quarterback sneak. However, because of the uncertainty of whether he made it past the first down marker or not, the referees had to bring out the chains. The ball was so close that the referee had to use a folded piece of paper to help make a judgement call, and that call was in favor of the Cowboys. This was a key factor in the Cowboys’ victory because this allowed them to continue downfield and score a field goal, making the score 20-17 with about a minute and 45 seconds left.

Derek Carr and the Raiders just needed a field goal to tie it up. However, due to a 55 yard pass interference penalty on the Cowboys, the Raiders had time to score a touchdown and win the game. A few plays later, Derek Carr attempted to run for the endzone. Unfortunately, he fumbled the ball in the endzone and it rolled out of bounds which resulted in a touchback, giving the ball back to Dallas and basically ending the game.

While the Cowboys’ playoff hopes are slim, there’s still a possibility. But one thing is for certain: this victory was a key victory for Dallas and the game next week versus the Seattle Seahawks will be even more important.

He caught it, he dropped it, wait, what?:

The Pittsburgh Steelers, who were the number one seed in the AFC, faced off against the number two seed in the AFC, the New England Patriots.

This game was a shootout as expected and went back and forth the entire time.

The Steelers ended up losing 27-24, and once again, the all-too-common controversial catch rule was to blame.

Ben Roethlisberger had one drive to get the team down field and score a touchdown and it only took two plays to do so. However, on the second play, which was originally ruled a touchdown pass to Steelers’ tight end, Jesse James, the debate on whether or not James actually caught the ball came about. After a closer review by the referees, the previously-ruled touchdown catch was overturned, taking away the touchdown that most likely would have won the game for the Steelers. Two plays later, a pass was tipped and intercepted by Patriots’ defender Duron Harmon, which killed all hope for a Steelers victory.

The Steelers and the Patriots are still the top two teams in the AFC,  and if they meet up again in the playoffs, you should expect to see another great showdown like the one this week.

The underdogs prevail:

The Jacksonville Jaguars and the Los Angeles Rams are two teams that, at the beginning of the season, were expecting improvement, but both could not have foreseen their current success.

The Jaguars, coming off of a 3-13 record, stand now at a respectable 10-4. A big reason for this improvement has been the Jaguars’ defense. Jacksonville’s defense consists of an amazing secondary featuring Jalen Ramsey and AJ Bouye and is ranked top in the league. Without their defense, the Jaguars would still be the same team they were last year rather than being a legitimate threat in the postseason.

The Rams are also doing exceedingly well this season. With a new head coach in Sean McVay, Rams’ quarterback Jared Goff has improved tremendously, and their offense, featuring players such as running back Todd Gurley and receivers Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods and Sammy Watkins, is working very efficiently. Additionally, the Rams defense is ranked number five in the league. With a team as complete as the Rams, how could you not be a contender?

Playoff Picture:

AFC:

  1. New England Patriots (11-3)
  2. Pittsburgh Steelers (11-3)
  3. Jacksonville Jaguars (10-4)
  4. Kansas City Chiefs (9-5)
  5. Tennessee Titans (8-6)
  6. Buffalo Bills (8-6)

In the Hunt:

  1. Baltimore Ravens (8-6)
  2. Los Angeles Chargers (8-6)
  3. Oakland Raiders (6-8)
  4. Miami Dolphins (6-8)

My Prediction:

I believe that if the standings work out that the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New England Patriots will meet up in the AFC Conference Championship. However, this time around, the Pittsburgh Steelers will pull out a win.

Bold Prediction:

The Jacksonville Jaguars will defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New England Patriots and make it to the Super Bowl.

NFC:

  1. Philadelphia Eagles (12-2)
  2. Minnesota Vikings (11-3)
  3. Los Angeles Rams (10-4)
  4. New Orleans Saints (10-4)
  5. Carolina Panthers (10-4)
  6. Atlanta Falcons  (9-5)

In the Hunt:

  1. Detroit Lions (8-6)
  2. Seattle Seahawks (8-6)
  3. Dallas Cowboys (8-6)

My Prediction:

I believe that if the seeding plays out correctly, the Minnesota Vikings and the Los Angeles Rams are the best two teams in the NFC and should meet up in the conference championship, I would put my money on the Minnesota Vikings but only by a small margin.

Bold Prediction:

If the Dallas Cowboys are somehow able to make it into the playoffs, they will win the NFC and move on to the Super Bowl.