2017-18 NFL Picks Against the Spread: Conference Championships

Championship week is here!!! The week were we get to see the best of each conference battle it out for a bid the play in Super Bowl LII.  Here are my picks for the week:

Jacksonville Jaguars @ New England Patriots (-7.5)

No one expected that the Jaguars were going to win last week, especially by a score of 45-42, but here they are.  It seems that the Steelers were just so focused on the Patriots rematch they forgot they had to play a game against a dangerous team.

Now if the Jaguars want to have any chance to upset the Patriots the defense needs to play better.  They are such a talented group, and they will need to play their best game of the year to have a chance in this one.  I’m talking like they need at least one defensive touchdown and multiple turnovers to give Blake Bortles favorable field position.

For the Patriots their job is pretty simple.  Shut down the run game, and force Blake Bortles to beat you.  I don’t know what happened to the Steelers last week, but it is not going to happen to the Patriots.  Matt Patrica’s unit, which had a dreadful start to the season, has grown to be one of the better units in the league.  They aren’t tops in the NFL in many categories, but they play great “bend, don’t break” defense.  The Jaguars may drive down the field, but it is going to be hard for them to punch it in inside the 20.

I would love to see the Jags win, but I’m going to guess that their offense comes back to Earth and the defense can’t hold off Brady forever.

Pick: Patriots (-7.5)

Minnesota Vikings (-3) @ Philadelphia Eagles

Two teams that have been #1 and #2 in the NFC standings for most of the season will finally collide in the NFC Championship game.  This is going to be a great game.

Both of these teams are very similar.  They both exceed expectations this year, each team features a great defense and a back up quarterback.  The biggest deciding factor for me in this game is the home field advantage of the Eagles.  After their win last week the Eagles are now 14-3 at home over the last two year, good enough for best in the NFL.  Also the Eagles defense has been crazy good at home, allowing just 13.0 points per game on the season, and only 7.25 points over the last four home games.

The biggest match up to watch in this game is the Eagles front four against the Vikings offensive line.  The jumbled offensive line of the Vikings has played well at times, but largely they have been average at best.  The Eagles led the NFL in pressures during the season, and getting to Case Keenum has to be a priority to them.

Pick: Eagles (+3)

Last Week: 2-2

Season: 18-19-3

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