Thursday, January 18, 2018

2017-18 NFL playoff predictions (Part 3 – Championship)

Welcome to part three of Thunderbirds101’s NFL playoff predictions. A rubbish one for four on my Divisional predictions; my only correct prediction was the Patriots trouncing the Titans. Curiously, I once again correctly predicted the exact number of points the New Orleans Saints would score, but they still lost. Let’s hope for more success with the Championship games.

There are now four potential Super Bowl matchups:
New England Patriots vs. Philadelphia Eagles
New England Patriots vs. Minnesota Vikings
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Minnesota Vikings

Which matchup will it be? Let’s take a look.

Thunderbirds101's picks


#1 New England Patriots vs. #3 Jacksonville Jaguars
It’s the battle of Brady versus Bortles! There is no baseline for these two teams this season; the last time they met was in the preseason back in August 2017, where the Jaguars won 34-21. Fast forward to January 2018: the Patriots are fresh off a decisive 35-14 victory over the Titans, and the Jaguars defeated the Bills 10-3 and then narrowly escaped with a 45-52 win against the Steelers.

The Jaguars have a formidable defense, and as demonstrated against the Steelers, can convert their opponent’s mistakes into points. The Patriots, however, now pose the most serious threat to the Jaguars’ defense. The Patriots’ O-line never collapsed against the Titans, and Brady easily outmaneuvered the opposition. Either the Jaguars break that O-line, or their season is finished.

There’s also a slight problem for the Jaguars: they have never won in Foxborough.


There’s always a first time for everything, but it will not happen this year.

Prediction: Patriots win, 35-17.

Result: Patriots win, 24-20.

T-Bird’s comments after the game:
For most of the the game, the Jaguars looked strong. It all collapsed in the fourth quarter as Tom Brady, who had struggled throughout the game, threw two touchdowns to Danny Amendola, the second of which proved to be the game winner.

The Patriots O-line was breached repeatedly, giving Tom Brady an even tougher challenge on top of his injured hand. Regardless, Brady found a way to evade the Jaguars defense at the most opportune times, delivering a heartbreaking end to the Jaguars' surprising playoff run.

The New England Patriots advance to Super Bowl 52 in Minneapolis! 


#1 Philadelphia Eagles vs. #2 Minnesota Vikings
The Eagles defense held strong against the Falcons, resulting in a relatively low-scoring 15-10 victory. Not content with such a boring, low energy victory, the Vikings went all in: they went up 17-0 but failed to maintain the lead and fell behind in the fourth quarter until Marcus Williams tackled a ghost and Stefon Diggs hauled in an insane last-second touchdown for a 29-24 victory.

Defense will be key in this matchup. The Vikings need to avoid a repeat of the second half of the Divisional game, when the Vikings defense fell apart and only a last-second miracle prevented a tragic defeat. The Eagles must continue to stand strong, even more so against an energized Vikings team. Further, the Eagles need to step up their offense if they hope to contain the Vikings. Fifteen points may have been enough to defeat the Falcons, but it won’t be enough to defeat the Vikings.

Prediction: Vikings win, 21-20.

Result: Eagles win, 38-7.

T-Bird’s comments after the game:
We turn now to live footage of the Minnesota Vikings:
The Vikings opened the game with a strong first drive, scoring a touchdown on their first possession.
And that was it.
The Eagles unleashed an unstoppable fury against the Vikings, scoring 38 unanswered points and capitalizing on numerous mistakes by the Vikings. Perhaps the second half of the Vikings-Saints game was an early warning about the Vikings defense, but this time the Vikings offense made a triumphant entrance and fell flat on their faces. 

A rematch of Super Bowl XXXIX it is, then.

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