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Eagles, Patriots in February

Mill Woods

Posted on January 16, 2018 12:53

1 user

The Patriots and Eagles have been leading the parade all season. In my view, the conference championships will anoint these two teams and send them to the Super Bowl.

Even if I were a betting man, I wouldn't bet a plugged nickel on this weekend's conference championships. Parity in the NFL has made it difficult to predict winners. Last weekend's divisional matches were all the reminder we needed.

For the second week in a row, I got three of four picks correct, but I could easily have gone 1-3. I am not complaining. For fans like me, parity is one of the main reasons we watch - even if our favorite team is done for the season. 

The New Orleans Saints were exactly one play away from knocking off the Vikings in Minnesota. The Atlanta Falcons were 20 yards away from taking out the Eagles in Philly. The Jacksonville Jaguars repeated their upset of the Steelers in Pittsburgh (I got that one wrong). The only game that went almost according to my script was the Patriots' victory over the Tennessee Titans - and that one wasn't close.

I am happy for the red-hot Jaguars, but I don't think they will survive the cold steel of Gillette stadium and the efficient Patriots. I think the Vikings are excellent, but 1) I like the Eagles' offense better, and 2) just like last weekend, a slippery field and freezing temperatures will favor the home team.

Let me discuss some of last weekend's drama. I felt there were a few rather obvious mistakes made - and I am not just talking about the Saints allowing that crazy score at the end.  

The reason the Vikings had one foot out the door was because of a strategic coaching error. On that late drive when they went ahead with a field goal, the Vikings threw incompletions and stopped the clock, leaving a minute and a half for Drew Brees to drive his offense for a field goal of their own. The Vikings were only saved by a player's inability to simply stay behind the receiver, let him catch the ball, and make a routine tackle. That one will go down in sports blooper history.

The Falcons reminded me that their main weakness (they don't have many) is power running, especially in the Red Zone. Field conditions helped neutralize Devante Freeman, but the Falcons have even struggled in Atlanta in obvious short-yardage situations. Saturday, the Falcon offense spent their final plays attempting to get a passing TD.  

I thought the Titans had a weak game plan. They were seemingly not intent on using ball control to keep Tom Brady and company on the bench. On defense, the Titans did not seem committed to blitzing Brady, even after it was clear that their defensive line alone was unable to get pressure. But I also had a feeling that the Patriot offensive line would win the day, and many teams suspect that blitzing Brady is quite risky.

Now, it's down to four teams. I'm going with the Patriots and Eagles. I think both championship games will be highly entertaining, so pick your favorites and enjoy.

Mill Woods

Posted on January 16, 2018 12:53

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Source: KSDK

Some local high schools have gotten commemorative footballs from the NFL to celebrate Super Bowl 50.

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