NFL Championship Game Predictions

A Blog by Andrew Brown

Just two games stand in the way before the 2018 edition of the Super Bowl as the Jacksonville Jaguars battle the dynasty of the AFC in New England while the Philadelphia Eagles and the Minnesota Vikings battle for NFC supremacy.

There are a lot of thoughts on how each outcome will pan out and now I would like to throw my two cents into the ring. Throughout my time as a sports fan I have been enthralled with one particular aspect of each sport, and it’s because of that aspect that I will unequivocally predict the 2018 Super Bowl as a match up between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Minnesota Vikings. Seems like a crazy scenario given the power of New England and Philadelphia but hear me out. To me the saying “defense wins championships” isn’t just a phrase, but more factual truth than anything. Great offenses can win but history has shown that great defenses win championships. After all, the past five Super Bowl champions have wielded no worse than the 9th best defense in terms of fewest points per game allowed. What drives the point home is by looking across other sports such as the NBA where four out of the last five champions have held a top ten defense.

It’s really no secret, you can’t win in you can’t score and that’s a simplified reason as to why I feel the better defensive team will reign supreme. Take the Patriots vs. Jaguars match up for example. Although the Patriots do have a 3-1 postseason advantage against Jacksonville, the lone Jaguars win came by allowing the Patriots just 10 points in a 25-10 win back in the 1990 Wild Card round. With 55 sacks and the number one passing defense, the 2017 edition of the Jacksonville Jaguars are a much more formidable opponent. But if you want to shed some light on the offense for Jacksonville, take note that with the 45-42 shootout win in Pittsburg last week, both teams etched their names in history earning top five in most points scored in a playoff game. In case you did forget that last sentence, it was in Pittsburg where Jacksonville won the shootout. And it should be worth noting that the Blake Bortles led Jaguars went from scoring 10 points against Buffalo to scoring 45 points against the Steelers in Pittsburg. If you’re into superstition here’s something to think about, since 2003 only four teams who came into the playoffs as the number one seed won the Super Bowl.

Now onto the NFC side of things. Believe it or not, this is the hardest decision to make as both defenses between the Vikings and the Eagles are not just tops in the NFC, but two of the best in the NFL all together. On the face of it, this match up appears to be purgatory for all running backs. On one hand you’ve got the Eagles wielding the top rushing defense while the Vikings are not too far behind averaging a mere 83 rushing yards given up per game. Now despite Philly’s top tier offense, Minnesota has had some success against such offenses going 5-2 against top ten scoring offenses this season while holding said teams to an average of just 18 points per game. While the Eagles defense is certainly a formidable foe, the Vikings defense seems to be a more complete unit, one the closely resembles the 1975 campaign where the boasted the number one defense in the league. Again in this instance I will once again break out the fact that fewer number one seeds have entered the big game in recent years while only four number one seeds have won it all since 2003. Regardless of the winner the game will be quite exciting but for my money if I had to choose, it would be the northern folk in Minnesota (although after the last Viking game I don’t know if I’d put money on any Minnesota game from here on out) to prove me right.

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