Who goes to the Super Bowl?

Doug Mendoza
January 22, 2018

You've heard about Minnesota's chances to play in a Super Bowl at home over and over again.

Tom Brady is seeking his eighth trip to the Super Bowl. Is Flacco elite? Someone else can debate that. Curiously, when we ran the same search for the Eagles and Jaguars, no such Super Bowl LII appeared.

More precisely, on whichever quarterback can keep his wits on a night when defense wins championships is nearly certain to rule.

But this season, all of them have something in common: They're backed by rock-solid defenses. The Patriots and future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady are favored to beat the Jaguars in the AFC Championship Game, and they're the oddsmakers' early pick to win their sixth Super Bowl since 2001.

Considering that the Eagles also lost veteran back Darren Sproles and play-making linebacker Jordan Hicks relatively early in the year, it's fantastic they're still fighting right now for their first-ever Vince Lombardi Trophy.

Can Minnesota keep the magic going?

"I know this is what all you guys predicted back in the day, a Foles vs. Keenum NFC championship, " Keenum joked with reporters.

If not, Brady and Belichick will breeze into yet another Super Bowl.

The emergence of Danny Amendola (11 catches last week) and success of Rob Gronkowski provide tough matchup problems even for Jacksonville's quick, athletic defense. Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles does not belong on the same field as the GOAT, and the Patriots will give the Jaguars their full effort - unlike what the overconfident Steelers did last week. We do it because we get coal in our playoff stocking while Dallas, Washington and NY act like they're entitled to the Lombardi trophy and have celebrated their success multiple times.

But yet here we are; somehow we've found ourselves in this weird post-Jeff Fisher reality. The same can't be said for a Vikings team that got next to nothing out of preseason starter Sam Bradford and preseason backup (if healthy) Teddy Bridgewater.

For now, though: conference championship games!

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Another week, another game with the Eagles being the underdog. Which method is correct? It depends on who you ask.

Many predicted the defense would be the reason the Jaguars would escape Heinz Field with a win a move on.

The stats back up that theory. So, our hunger for a Super Bowl championship parade is as intense as it can be.

Chris McPherson: I think for Ertz to have an impact it will be from a quality over quantity standpoint. We don't get as much attention or hype or stuff like that.

Still, it's harder to do now than it used to be. "Carson Wentz is injured so the Eagles will lose". Woodson said the current rules place an emphasis on the fundamentals and discipline, which is why Zimmer's Vikings thrive.

However, their pass protection has been strong all season and typically it doesn't take too many steamboats for one receiver among WR Stefon Diggs, WR Adam Thielen, TE Kyle Rudolph or RB Jerick McKinnon to get open.

If anyone claims to be sure of this, then they should be examined. "Teams know that this is a passing league and it is geared toward offense and all that". This is a group the Eagles can generate four-man pressure against, which will be key.

"When the game is geared toward offenses, when you have that type of firepower, when you have a defense that can shut that type of firepower down, it allows you to win ballgames", Robison said.

"It's a great opportunity ... in true Minnesota fashion, watching football outside in the middle of January", said Emily Bertram of the St. Cloud Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. Yes, defense still wins championships and the Bucs were last in the league in total yards.

"It's definitely different having an understanding of this side of it - being involved in pro sports - it's different than prior to that", Vogel said.

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