As the 2017 NFL season winds down, only four teams remain after an astonishing year which saw some surprising outcomes. Two games are left to decide the Super Bowl LII participants. One game is between the Jags at Patriots, while the other matchup is the Vikings at Eagles. Both games are going to be blistering cold, but that’s truly what makes these games so much better.
Each of the four teams will have one final challenge before they can get to the Super Bowl. With that being said, let’s take a look to see what we can expect from the remaining teams:
New England Patriots: Will Tom Brady and his offense stay consistent against the Jags’ defense?
You probably think I sound insane to question one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. But we all remember back in 2007 when the Giants sacked Tom Brady over five times, making it one of the most notable playoff losses in Super Bowl XLII. While you think that he has learned him his mistakes, Brady isn’t getting any younger. There was a period during the 2017 season where the 40-year-old QB wasn’t himself, where we would see him throwing incompletions,
interceptions, and even getting sacked. The Patriots will have to make sure they minimize the pressure on Brady, so he isn’t being rushed as often. The Jags finished the season second in pressure rate at 33.3%, which is the lowest rate in football. Belichick and his coaching staff will have to adjust their game plan accordingly, possibly depending more on their run game and cannot pull as many stunts as they did against the Titans.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Which Blake Bortles will show up?
Before I get into anything else, I just want to say that I’m not trying to disrespect Blake Bortles at all. He’s a pro football player which means he did something right to get where he is now. But he has stints where he has an average to below average performance. During the regular season, he finished with five interceptions in two games, and a poor performance in the wild card round win against the Buffalo Bills. It was Sunday’s game against the Steelers where he shocked everyone. He played efficiently throughout the whole game and executed some clever passes. If the Jags want a chance to beat Tom Brady and Company, they’re going to have to incorporate some of the same plays as they used on Sunday, as well as throwing in some new plays. The main goal will be pressuring Brady and limiting his options.
Minnesota Vikings: Will they pull off another last-minute miracle?
The Vikings had a pretty successful season, leading the NFC North with a 13-3 record. With Stefon Digg’s game winning TD on Sunday’s game, Minnesota is only one win away from being the first team to play a Super Bowl in it’s home stadium. While they have a 6-2 record on the road, Philly’s defense may be a challenge for the Vikings, as it has troubled many teams this season. But, they have the ability to beat the Eagles and are even favored to win. What they need to do is focus more on the run game, so they can limit the chances of turning the ball over to Philly. Also, forcing Nick Foles into making more mistakes will go a long way.
Philadelphia Eagles: Will a season of hard work payoff in the end?
The Eagles have played efficiently throughout the whole season, even with star QB Carson Wentz tearing his ACL toward the middle of the season. Veteran QB Nick Foles came in and took over, trying to mimic how Wentz has played. I think one reason the Eagles are so successful is because they come up with a game plan, and can stick with it throughout the whole game.
They relied heavily on RB Jay Ajayi to get their victory over the Falcons because they had the ability to control the clock and the ball. Although, they will be playing a more efficient offense, and defense is going to need to bring their A game if they want to maintain control of the game.