Posts tagged Patriots
Ball Don't Lie - Lavar SZN has returned

Hoops N Brews' Pavy fills in for Joe for two DEEP hours of NBA basketball and trade deadline talks. Everything from the Sixers stacking up to the Lakers' failed pursuit of Anthony Davis to Kevin Durant's zesty press conference Wednesday. Oh, and I guess we'll talk about that shitty Super Bowl last Sunday.

Topics:
Patriots win Super Bowl
Bulls president John Paxson rattled during radio interview
NBA trade deadline news
Lavar Ball returns
KD lashes out at media
NBA All Star Game draft
Goofy Mog of the Week

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Nearly Canceled: Entourage drops January 2019 exclusively on the Barber's Chair Patreon! Become a patron of The Barber's Chair on Patreon! $5 a month will get you a thank you on Ball Don't Lie and guarantees you access to Nearly Canceled: Entourage, along with more exclusive premium content from The Barber's Chair!
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Ball Don't Lie - Bron Gotti

It's the Super Bowl preview edition of Ball Don't Lie, but before we get to Rams-Patriots, the NBA is heating up with news of Anthony Davis' plans not to return to New Orleans, James Harden's MVP campaign and the Warriors' run for a fourth title in five years.

Topics:
Anthony Davis requests trade
LeBron's power in the league
Why isn't James Harden's season impressive?
Who's the biggest threat to the Warriors?
Carmelo's legacy
Super Bowl LIII preview
Goofy Mog of the Week

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Celebrate your division champs by grabbing one of the NEW shirts straight from The Barber's Chair merch store!
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Nearly Canceled: Entourage drops January 2019 exclusively on the Barber's Chair Patreon! Become a patron of The Barber's Chair on Patreon! $5 a month will get you a thank you on Ball Don't Lie and guarantees you access to Nearly Canceled: Entourage, along with more exclusive premium content from The Barber's Chair!
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Ball Don't Lie - The Show Must Go On

Dante sits in for Pierce and Flows to preview the rest of the NFL playoffs, and Wos joins the show to catch us up on everything going on in the NBA.

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Celebrate your division champs by grabbing one of the NEW shirts straight from The Barber's Chair merch store!
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Nearly Canceled: Entourage drops January 2019 exclusively on the Barber's Chair Patreon! Become a patron of The Barber's Chair on Patreon! $5 a month will get you a thank you on Ball Don't Lie and guarantees you access to Nearly Canceled: Entourage, along with more exclusive premium content from The Barber's Chair!
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Ball Don't Lie Ep. 33 - The Kings of the North

It's been eight long years, but the Chicago Bears are once again the Kings of the NFC North! Pierce and Scott talk about the division champs and more from Week 15 of the NFL Season.

Topics:
Are the Bears legitimate Super Bowl contenders?
Changing the national perception of this team
Re-drafting the 2017 NFL Draft
Can Nick Foles write the sequel and take Philly to the playoffs?
Did the Seahawks miss a golden opportunity to go into the playoffs hot?
Do you trust the Vikings to win out?
Who wins the AFC West?
Are the Steelers back?
Do you trust the Patriots to win two playoff games on the road?
Does a bye give the Texans a shot in the AFC
Week 16 predictions
Avengers: Endgame trailer
Goofy Mog of the Week

Celebrate your division champs by grabbing one of the NEW shirts straight from The Barber's Chair merch store!
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Nearly Canceled: Entourage drops January 2019 exclusively on the Barber's Chair Patreon! Become a patron of The Barber's Chair on Patreon! $5 a month will get you a thank you on Ball Don't Lie and guarantees you access to Nearly Canceled: Entourage, along with more exclusive premium content from The Barber's Chair!
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intro music: Pavy: "Problematic"
outro music: "Jive" by The Loyalist - hooksounds.com

Ball Don't Lie - "Not my GOAT"
Ball Don't Lie - Let's Get Spicy

This week's Ball Don't Lie gets a lil spicy! Don't trip... there's still plenty of the same bullshit we give you on the regular. So sit back and enjoy this week's show!

Topics:
Scott's night at the Lakers game
Sound-Off
Bears/Patriots fallout
Did Trubisky have a bad game?
What to do about Blake Bortles?
Amari Cooper trade to Cowboys
Patrick Peterson on trade block
Heartbreaking sports losses
Week 8 NFL predictions
CP3-Rondo brawl
Goofy Mog of the Week
Shoutouts
World Series predictions

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Ball Don't Lie - "WTF is going on?"

Joe misses his first of an expected six episodes this season, but don't fret. Scott & Pierce hold it down for you on this TWO-HOUR edition of Ball Don't Lie.

Topics:
Sound Off
Jimmy Butler/KAT/Wiggins/Timberwolves Drama
NBA Media Day
Why ‘Kyrie to the Knicks’ makes no sense
Ending the ‘Everyone wants to be a Laker’ narrative
Expectations for the NBA season
NFL Week 3 recap
Jimmy G torn ACL
Rams injuries
Saints-Falcons
Carson Wentz return in Philly
Lions-Patriots
Patrick Mahomes & the Chiefs are 3-0
Can the Jags win the Super Bowl with Blake Bortles playing like mid?
NFL Week 4 predictions
First impressions of 'The Joker'
Can the DCEU, X-Men right the ship?
Mini-35th and Addison
The Cubs folding down the stretch
Grading the 2018 Chicago White Sox
The return of 'Red Shirt Tiger' sundays
Shoutouts
Goofy Mog of the Week

Follow Pierce: @HennyOmega
Follow Scott: @Scott_CEOofSUH

Ball Don't Lie - "Starting Nick Foles Is Like Trying Coke Once"

Ball Don't Lie returns to recap week 2 of the NFL season! What's going on in Pittsburgh with Mike Tomlin and Antonio Brown? How long will Fitzmagic last in Tampa? Are the Eagles rushing Carson Wentz? Is Patrick Mahomes the real deal or should we wait it out? Can Blake Bortles be consistent enough for the Jaguars to make a real run at the Super Bowl? We'll also talk about the Packers/Vikings tie, Josh Gordon to the Pats, and Vontae Davis quitting the Bills at halftime. PLUS D-Wade's last season, Kanye’s fufu-ass apology tour and the Captain Marvel trailer!

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Ball Don't Lie EP 21 - Season 2 Premiere

The boys are back for another season of Ball Don't Lie! They're going by Random Acts of Podcast's Amp to discuss week one of the NFL season, and Xavier from The Looking Glass joins to chat about Insomniac's Spider-Man for the PS4!

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AFC Playoff Outlook

This is a continuation of my 2018 NFL season outlook. You read my article on the NFC playoffs here

Tier 1: Locked In

New England Patriots
Jacksonville Jaguars
Pittsburgh Steelers

The New England Patriots land at the top but there always seems to be the same wide range of outcomes with them. We saw them get crushed in the opener by Kansas City last year then still managed to find their way back in the Super Bowl. We're all still waiting for the Tom Brady drop-off. It's going to need to be pretty steep because we haven't seen any signs of it yet and Brady gets all his favorite weapons back this year.

The rest of the AFC East seems to have taken a step backwards so that's already six potential wins. I think the biggest question mark will be the defense. They'll be without Matt Patricia as the defensive coordinator for the first time in six seasons. If they can overcome that then another playoff run is likely in their future.

If you play fantasy football then you've probably reached for the Jacksonville Jaguars defense early or seen someone else do it. I'm pretty envious of those people because I don't normally grab a defense early but I was captivated by what I saw last year. It's like they're the Monstars and they stole all the Seahawks' powers.

Their offensive line added Andrew Norwell who's one of the best graded guards in football. Now Leonard Fournette has even bigger holes to run through. The obvious concern is Blake Bortles. He's good enough to win games and made stars out of Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns back in 2015. He now he has a wealth of receivers at his disposal and the league's best defense. If Jacksonville doesn't make it back to the AFC Championship game, they may look elsewhere for a quarterback next season. 

The Pittsburgh Steelers are a sleeper Super Bowl contender every season - they just can't put it all together. Le'Veon Bell and Antonio Brown are the best players at their position in the NFL. They have a young and talented defense that continues to make strides every season. I've never been big on Ben Roethlisberger but his auxiliary pieces may finally take him back to the top this year.

Juju Smith-Schuster could have his sophomore season breakout. Rookie James Washington was last year's Biletnikoff Award winner (best WR in the country) in college football and he could be an upgrade over Martavis Bryant. Now that Vance McDonald has a full season with Pittsburgh under his belt, he should push Jesse James for the starting tight end job.

Sportsnaut

Sportsnaut

Tier 2: Not Far Behind

Los Angeles Chargers
Houston Texans
Kansas City Chiefs

The Los Angeles Chargers haven't made the playoffs since 2013 but they're one of my favorites to make it to the Super Bowl this year. Philip Rivers has thrown for at least 4000 yards and 27 TDs in nine of his last ten seasons. Receiver Mike Williams returns after an injury-plagued rookie season; he's the extra redzone threat Rivers needs to alleviate some of the pressure from Antonio Gates. It's a shame they lost Hunter Henry but Keenan Allen and Melvin Gordon are still two of the best at their position in the league. Tyrell Williams and Travis Benjamin round out the weapons as every quarterback needs a few deep threats.

This might be the best defense Philip Rivers has gotten to play with as well. The main ingredients of a great defense are two edge rushers (Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram) and a shut-down cornerback (Casey Hayward). They were third in passing touchdowns allowed, third in passing yards allowed, and sixth in total turnovers. However, they were the worst in the league against the run. If they could get even a little better in that department, the Chargers could be a serious threat to their conference.

Deshaun Watson returns to the Houston Texans and I can't remember the last time I saw so much hype for a quarterback in their second season. Watson set the world on fire in his six starts last year before an ACL tear ended his season. The potential peak of Watson is all we've seen; that's equally exciting and worrisome, although I'm not too concerned. DeAndre Hopkins can bail any QB out of a play, Will Fuller is one of the best deep threats in the league, and Bruce Ellington is back to cover the intermediate routes. They also added receiver Keke Coutee in the draft who reminds me of Tyreek Hill.

Running back D'Onta Foreman will start the season on the PUP list but he should overtake Lamar Miller's starting job when he returns. Not only did they add Tyrann Mathieu in free agency, but JJ Watt is returning from his injury and you guys know what they can do.

The Kansas City Chiefs' playoff hopes come down to Patrick Mahomes. Alex Smith looked like the league MVP at times last season but they still felt comfortable enough to let him go so Mahomes could take over. If you're unfamiliar, go look at his college game logs; you would think he was playing Madden on rookie level.

My main concern is that he's definitely going to turn the ball over more than Alex Smith. Mahomes is still learning and Smith has always been one of the best in the league at maintaining possession. However, we could be seeing the types of games Deshaun Watson was putting together last year. With all the offensive talent surrounding him, he's one of the players I'm most looking forward to watching this season.

Zimbio 

Zimbio 

Tier 3: Don't Be Surprised

Denver Broncos

Denver Broncos quarterback Case Keenum went from being a backup QB to leading the Minnesota Vikings into the playoffs. Some people still aren't sold on him but I think he's an incredible improvement over the quarterbacks they've had the last few seasons.

Rookie running back Royce Freeman is also a refreshing upgrade over CJ Anderson. CJ still managed to have a 1000 yard season in a mediocre offense so Freeman has plenty of room for opportunity. Their defense hasn't been as scary recently but now you get the best pass-rusher in the draft in Bradley Chubb opposite of Von Miller. If both the Chiefs and Broncos hover around eight or nine wins then Denver could sneak past Kansas City for a Wild Card spot.

The Tennessee Titans made the playoffs last year though I didn't think they belonged. They didn't make the playoffs in 2016 even though I thought they could have been poised to upset a few people. I was sour on them all offseason after Marcus Mariota took a giant step back last year. However, I'm starting to come around.

I'm not as high on Derrick Henry as other people but Dion Lewis could bring out the best in him. Lewis gives the offense the jolt and change-of-pace that DeMarco Murray couldn't. When Murray hit his slump last year, the whole offense went with him. The offensive coordinator for last year's Rams is now on board with Tennessee. That's the same Rams team that led the league in points scored in 2017. Similar to the Broncos, if the Texans don't live up to the hype then an improved Titans team could find their way back into the playoffs.

The Cincinnati Bengals were pretty hard to watch last year. They were at the bottom of the league in offensive plays ran and couldn't string anything together. Last in total offensive yards, 31st in 1st downs, and 31st in rushing yards is what the Bengals were last season. It's easy to say things are looking up because that's the only direction they can go.

Tyler Eifert is back and healthy (for now at least). When he scored 13 times back in 2015, Andy Dalton was in the discussion for MVP. He could be what keeps drives alive. I wasn't a big fan of Joe Mixon coming out of college, but he has a chance to tap into his true skillset now that Jeremy Hill is gone. The offensive line suffered after LT Andrew Whitworth joined the Rams, but they've addressed some of the problems. They added Cordy Glenn to fill the left tackle position. He's no Andrew Whitworth but it's much better than what they had last year. Their 1st round pick was also spent on center, Billy Price. All they need to do is stay on the field a little longer then they can let AJ Green and Geno Atkins can do the rest.

The Rustic GOAT: Is Tom Brady ruining his legacy?
Mark J. Rebilas USA TODAY Sports

Mark J. Rebilas USA TODAY Sports

Tom Brady...just typing the name pisses me off….

This nigga had ONE job to do: beat the St. Louis Rams 17 years ago.  No one asked him to keep winning…

From 1999 to 2001, EVERYONE hated the greatest show on turf. They were just too good. The Rams needed to be stopped, and what better way for them to end their run than to lose in the biggest game of the year to a backup quarterback (ironically the same situation as Super Bowl LII) …who would have guessed that same backup quarterback would grow into the greatest quarterback of all time.

…but it’s time for him to hang up the cleats.

AP, Mark Humphrey

AP, Mark Humphrey

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t doubt his ability to play.

Can Tom Brady make it to another Super Bowl this year? Absolutely.

Can Tom Brady win another Super Bowl this year? Absolutely

But…what if he doesn’t?....

Although he didn’t win the Super Bowl this year, he made it there. That’s not an easy feat, even for the invincible Patriots. Why not end your legacy at the Super Bowl? Brady is risking the possibility of ending his career on a mediocre season or injury. The Patriots offensive line is pure shit, and Tom isn’t built to take that beating, especially at 41 years old. I don’t give a fuck how vegan you are and how much yoga he does.

Also, can the Pats continue to dominate the NFL? Many NFL teams have stepped their game up during the offseason. Niggas ready to ball with the Patriots.  Although they’ve acquired one of the best running backs in college football in the draft along with a top offensive guard, the rest of their team has not significantly progressed. Unless Bill Belichick has some hidden tricks underneath that hoodie, Brady’s Cinderella ending could go up in flames.

From Nightmares to Dreams: Eagles are ringless no more

I'm putting my Eagles slander to bed.

For years I got such satisfaction from ringless jokes, my favorite of which the one of Donovan McNabb chilling next to a trophy case with a single can of Campbell's Chunky soup inside. They were the NFL's punching bag, and punching the Eagles when they were down felt fun for fans of fellow mediocre teams.

(Gregory Shamus / Getty Images)

(Gregory Shamus / Getty Images)

But the Eagles aren't mediocre anymore. In the wonkiest football season in recent memory, Philly overcame early-season injuries to their kicker (Caleb Sturgis), third-down running back (Darren Sproles), a leader in the defense (Jordan Hicks) and their All-Pro left tackle (Jason Peters) to surge towards the best record in the league & an NFC East crown. But when would've-been MVP Carson Wentz injured his ACL late in the season, everyone wrote the Eagles off.

Insert Nick Foles. 

Foles is only four years removed from a Pro Bowl season where he led the NFL in passer rating and set the best TD-to-INT ratio (27-2) in history. He'd since fallen out of favor in an ugly Chip Kelly-led mess in Philadelphia, gotten shipped off to St. Louis for Sam Bradford and benched by the Rams, only to back up Alex Smith the next year in Kansas City. He contemplated calling it quits, and then Doug Pederson's Eagles called him back.

Philadelphia Eagles

Philadelphia Eagles

Eagles fans couldn't have predicted they would be on this stage with this quarterback. None of us did two months ago when Foles was thrusted into the starting job. Even less when he struggled mightily against New York and Dallas towards the end of the season. The Eagles were 13-3 and the top seed in the NFC, but they were anything but favorites.

The Falcons were favored to roll through Philly on their revenge tour. The Eagles defense held them to 10 points.  The Vikings were practically given the NFC Championship after their stunning win over New Orleans the week before. Their fans even hit the Skol chant in front of the Rocky sign. The Eagles delivered the knockout blow.

And then with history, Tom Brady and the mighty New England Patriots staring them in the face, the underdogs rose to the occasion again. And it was the quarterback no one thought could pull it off leading the way.

Nick Foles played as outstanding a game as you could ask. He outplayed the greatest of all time in Tom Brady, throwing for 373 yards and 3 touchdowns; all on perfect strikes to Alshon Jeffery, Corey Clement and Zach Ertz to win the game. But it was the trick play to cap the first half that everyone will remember. Pederson and Foles fooled the Patriots defense all game, but none moreso than Trey Burton's touchdown PASS to Foles. It was a testament to the balls of Pederson and Foles to take risks in order to beat the best team of our generation.

Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Patrick Smith/Getty Images

It took a lot of risks to get the Eagles to this point, not counting the trick plays and fourth down gambles. The Eagles took a risk in bringing back an Andy Reid-coordinator, all of whom except one (John Harbaugh) have hoisted a Lombardi before. Alshon Jeffery took a risk on himself when he declared a Super Bowl victory without having a team last offseason; he signed a one-year deal, parlayed that into a new contract, and then made good on his promise. LeGarrette Blount and Chris Long bet on themselves as well, leaving the Patriots after capturing a ring to go play together in Philly.

And Nick Foles took a risk by not hanging them up when it felt all was lost. Now, the Super Bowl MVP is ready to cash in big time.

Eagles fans, your 365 days of uninterrupted shit talk begins now. Enjoy it. It was well earned.

#FreeMeek

Fairly Odd Football Family Super Bowl preview

It's the Saturday before the Super Bowl, and Pierce and Jordan talk about Jordan's nerves, what this game means as an Eagles fan, and who will be the MVP of the Big Game.

Patriots, Eagles battle for immortality in Super Bowl LII
C.J. Gunther / EPA / Shutterstock

C.J. Gunther / EPA / Shutterstock

The Patriots vs who? It's become a preseason expectation to see the Patriots in Super Bowl. On Sunday, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady will team up for their 8th Super Bowl appearance together, having won it an astonishing five times. This level of dominance is unlike anything we’ve seen before in pro football, but it nothing out of the norm for the Patriots.

When comparing the experience of the team's leadership, the Eagles seem to be overmatched. Bill Belichick is coaching in his record-11th Super Bowl as a coach (twice as an assistant with the Giants, once as a Patriot assistant); Doug Peterson is in his first as a head coach. Nick Foles is in also starting in his first Super Bowl.

On paper, the Eagles match-up stat for stat with the Patriots and have just as much talent if not more, but the experience factor is what gives the Patriots an edge. Tom Brady, at 40 years old, has maintained his excellence and will look to hold up his sixth Super Bowl trophy which would undoubtedly establish him as the greatest quarterback ever, as if that hasn't already been done.

JIM DAVIS/GLOBE STAFF

JIM DAVIS/GLOBE STAFF

The Patriots excellence can be credited to Bill Belichick and his program that he has built for success. Belichick put this roster together from top to bottom and led this team back to the promised land with 18 undrafted players on the roster. The Eagles have nine. Every single player was handpicked by Belichick to run his system to perfection, and it has paid off tremendously. Belichick is the only coach in the league with full roster control, a trust that he has built with owner Robert Kraft.

It's easy to count the Eagles out of the game before it even starts, but the Eagles are playing their best football. Nick Foles proved that he is not just a backup in the conference championship game and silenced all doubters who believed the Eagles wouldn't make it this far. The Eagles managed to overcome adversity after losing their MVP candidate in Carson Wentz, and still have been clicking on all cylinders.

This Eagles team is solid, and would probably be favored in this game if Carson Wentz was starting. Tom Brady will once again have his hands full against a tough defense that has only surrendered two touchdowns this playoff season. The Eagles have a solid attack, efficient in the run game with Jay Ajayi and LeGarrette Blount, a passing attack that showed it could flourish against the number defense in the league by carving the Vikings secondary, and a defense that is playing at its best.

Despite being overlooked in this matchup, the Eagles players are incredibly confident going into the game. “Right now, at this time of the season, I don’t think anybody can call us underdogs,” starting cornerback Jalen Mills said. “Two teams left, about to play in the Super Bowl… No way we’re underdogs right now.”

The Eagles know exactly what challenges they are facing going up against the highly favored Patriots, but don't expect them to back down. “It’s pretty funny, but it’s definitely motivation," said Eagles defensive end Vinny Curry. "If people want to call us underdogs, so be it. You can call us anything you want to call us, but you still have to line up against us Sunday and play. Since we’ve been called underdogs, we’ve been winning. So, keep calling us that.”

Tom Brady knows not to take his opponent in this game lightly. "They're well-coached. They're good in all three phases. They play complementary games. They do a great job. There's no underdogs in the Super Bowl," Brady said. "They're the first seed in the NFC. Man, they're 13-3. They had an incredible season. I don't buy into any of that. I think they're as dangerous as any team in the league. It's going to come down to whoever plays the best, and hopefully it's us.”

Ultimately, this game will come down to which defense plays the best. Both offenses have proven capable to put up points in bunches, and Foles will look to go tit for tat with Brady. The Eagles managed to jump out to a comfortable lead against the Vikings, but if they do establish a lead, don't count the Patriots out; Brady has already earned his stripes in second half comebacks (refer back to last year’s 28-3 halftime deficit where Brady led them back to victory.) Even with all of the experience that the Patriots have, the Eagles are fully capable to pull off the upset.

Prediction: 21-17 Patriots win.

NFL Conference Championship preview
(Photo: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports)

(Photo: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports)

And then there were four. This has been one of the most exciting postseasons in recent years, and this week’s matchups look to keep the entertainment rolling with the conference Championships set to kickoff.

(Maddie Meyer / Getty Images)

(Maddie Meyer / Getty Images)

AFC Championship: Jacksonville at New England, Sunday, Jan. 21, 3:05ET CBS

"I ain't got too much to say, but make sure you all bring that same energy out next week and the week after,” Jalen Ramsey said in front of Jacksonville fans after the Jaguars win over the Steelers. ”We are going to the Super Bowl, and we're gonna win that bitch. We're gonna win that bitch."

The Jaguars have every right to be confident after putting on two strong performances this playoff season, but the last time they beat the Patriots was in the 1998 playoffs…and that is the only time. The Jags are 1-10 all time against the Pats, 0-7 in New England, and 0-6 in the Brady/Belichick era. They are underdogs to say the least,  but the Jaguars aren’t looking to back down against the reigning Super Bowl champs. A win in New England solidifies an amazing turnaround season, from nine straight losing seasons to the Super Bowl.

The Patriots are used to big-game situations. However the Jaguars are not, and the bright lights and cooler temperatures could factor into their performance.

The Patriots will need to prepare for a physical game as the Jaguars ranked number one in the regular season in rushing yards, averaging 141.4 yards per game. Expect the Jags to rely heavily on rookie running back Leonard Fournette, who torched the Steelers last week with 109 yards and 3 touchdowns.

As well as the Jaguars have been playing, it’s tough to pick against the Patriots in the playoffs. Brady is the most successful quarterback in postseason history, taking ownership of just about every statistical category a quarterback can have in the postseason. The most passing yards, touchdowns, and wins in NFL postseason history all belong to Brady, the G.O.A.T.

Jalen Ramsey and the Jaguars will have their hands full this weekend, but expect this to be a hard fought gritty matchup that could very well come down to the end of the game.

Prediction: Patriots 30 Jaguars 24

(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

NFC Championship: Minnesota at Philadelphia, Sunday, Jan. 21, 6:40 ET FOX

Both teams barely slipped their way into this conference championship game, but have proven to be two of the NFL’s toughest teams this season. This is the Jeff Fisher Bowl(HOW did Jeff Fischer not win with either of these quarterbacks???) One of these teams will advance to the Super Bowl with their backup quarterback taking the lead.

The one big difference between the quarterbacks is Case Keenum has had all season to work out his kinks and receive plenty of game time reps, while Nick Foles was thrust into the starting role at the very end of the season. Keenum went undrafted after college but has managed to have the best season of his career.

Despite losing MVP contender Carson Wentz to a season-ending ACL injury, the Eagles have advanced to their first conference championship since 2008. Quarterback Nick Foles appeared a bit shaky at times during last week’s win over the Falcons but managed to go 23 for 30 with no interceptions. He can manage the game, but just managing the game may not be enough this week going up against a stout Vikings defense.

The Vikings have one of the toughest defenses in the league and will need to play physical all game to stop Eagles running backs Jay Ajayi and LeGarrette Blount, who are punishing runners and have the ability to wear a defense down and move the chains. A key factor in this game could be the Vikings forcing Nick Foles to use his check downs as these two running backs have only accounted for 18 catches combined all season. This is where rookie running back Corey Clement, who has been a versatile addition to the team, could come into play. Clement has caught 10 passes for 123 yards and two touchdowns this season out of the backfield and was a factor last week with 5 receptions.

This game could be decided between the Vikings receivers and the Eagles secondary. Eagles corners Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills played well against the Falcons but will have their hands full once again this week matching up with wideouts Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs. Thielen has been the go-to-guy all season for the Eagles but Diggs provides a tough matchup for any corner and has big play ability as seen last week when he scored the walk off touchdown to win the game.

Don’t expect this game to be high scoring game and don't expect it to be a blowout either. This will be an old school, grind it out defensive battle.

Prediction: Vikings 20, Eagles 17

 

Fairly Odd Football Family episode 17 - playoff confidence picks