The Palmerbet Sports Team preview two blockbuster NFL Conference Championship Games, with Jaguars aiming for a boilover against the Patriots and the Vikings out to end a four-decade Super Bowl drought against the Eagles!
History: Played 11: Patriots 10 V Jaguars 1.
Last meeting: September 27, 2015: Patriots 51 d Jaguars 17.
Final Thoughts: The New England Patriots remain on track for their eighth Super Bowl appearance in 17 seasons, with Tom Brady putting on a masterclass in a 35-14 Divisional Playoff thrashing of the Titans last week – the Patriots’ 12th win in 13 games.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have put a poor end to the regular season – losing their last two – behind them to grind out a Wild Card win over the Bills (10-3) and hold on in a high-scorer against the Steelers at Pittsburgh (45-42), ending a three-game losing streak on the road.
Four of the teams’ 11 meetings have been in the playoffs, with the Jaguars’ solitary win over the Patriots coming in the 1999 AFC Wild Card Game. Their last post-season clash was the 2008 Divisional Playoff, with the Pats prevailing 31-20 at Gillette Stadium; the Jaguars’ other four other visits to the venue resulted in losses by 14 points or more.
The Jaguars are being widely tipped as a genuine threat to the Patriots’ march to back-to-back titles, boasting a defence capable of troubling supreme shot-caller Brady and relying on a simple-but-effective offensive strategy. But having never been to the Super Bowl, this is the biggest game in the Jaguars’ 23-season history and the pressure at Gillette Stadium will be immense.
The Patriots’ experience at this time of the season and Brady’s influence should prove too much for the plucky Jags.
History: Played 26: Vikings 13 V Eagles 13.
Last meeting: October 23, 2016: Eagles 21 d Vikings 10 at Lincoln Financial Field.
Final Thoughts: The Minnesota Vikings remain in the running for their maiden NFL title and first Super Bowl appearance in 41 years after a miraculous last-second touchdown to Stefon Diggs gave them an unbelievable 29-24 Divisional Playoff win over the Saints. Meanwhile, the written-off Philadelphia Eagles overcame the ongoing absence of injured QB Carson Wentz to upset the Falcons 15-10.
These teams have met three times previously in the post-season – most recently in the 2009 NFC Wild Card Game – with the Eagles winning all three. The Eagles have also won six of their last eight against the Vikings overall, and seven of the last eight in Philadelphia. The Vikings are 6-2 on the road this season, while the Eagles are 8-1 at home.
Philly’s maligned stand-in quarterback Nick Foles went some way to silencing his critics last week with a high completion percentage, but he still lacks the class that saw Wentz lead the Eagles to the third-best offensive record in the regular season. Minnesota counterpart Case Keenum is not exactly the definition of a dynamic quarterback, but the Vikings’ defence – comfortably the best of the 2017 regular season – is their trump card.
The Vikes look the goods to end an agonising run of losses in their last five Conference Championship Games and extinguish the gutsy Eagles’ campaign.