Road to the Super Bowl

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Now that the NFL season is over, we enter the final game of the season. It's that magical time of the year where one game decides the fate of your favorite team. So, let's take a look at the playoff picture and how we got to the final two teams.

NFC:

The Wildcard game gave us two amazing games. The first was a proper quarterback showdown between Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers and Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints. It was quite the showdown, where Drew Brees was able to pull it off in the end. The scary news came when Cam Newton had to leave in the 4th Quarter following concussion protocol, but quickly returned only to fall short in the end. That leaves the other game where two big runningbacks in the league couldn't get anything going. Devonta Freeman of the Atlanta Falcons went up against Todd Gurley II of the Los Angeles Rams and neither could break it off for a big play. That meant we had to rely on the air game and the Rams couldn't get it done. Too many dropped passes to get anything going, they allowed Atlanta to take an early lead which they never relinquished. 

Next up were the Divisional games where the Atlanta Falcons tried to keep to their winning ways against the Philadelphia Eagles. Without their star QB Carson Wentz, the Eagles tried to keep the fight alive, but the Falcons came to play and held the Eagles down in the first half. Leave it up to Nick Foles to make a final drive effort to win the game and a bend-don't-break defense to keep the Falcons from scoring at the end and securing the win for the Eagles. That left the other game between Saints and Vikings the game to watch. The Vikings had the first round bye, but the Saints showed up last round and looked poised to win yet again. It was the Vikings who stormed to an early lead and held the Saints offense to nothing in the first half. That all changed come halftime as Drew Brees remembered how to play football and took the lead from the Vikings in the final minutes of the game. That is until the last play of the game where one missed tackle ended the Saints chances and the Vikings win in the most improbable of events. 

That brings us to the NFC Championship game with the Vikings went against the Eagles and laid a goose egg. That's not an exaggeration as the Vikings didn't even show up to this game and got trounced in a 38-7 beating. The man of the hour, Nick Foles, threw 350+ yards for the easy victory. The number 1 seed in the NFC overwhelmingly proved why they are the best and are headed to the Super Bowl. 

AFC:

The first of the two Wildcard games left us in suspense as two teams faced off that were a shock to make the playoffs. The Jacksonville Jaguars faced off against the Buffalo Bills, yeah those teams which only a couple of years ago were considered easy wins against. Boy, that was a crazy game but leave it up to Blake Bortles to go full on Blake Bortles during the game, and by that I mean he ended up with the most rushing yards in the game. He ran for eighty-eight yards while passing for only eighty-seven yards. The only touchdown of the game came with a one yard pass to unknown Ben Koyack for one yard. In the other bracket, we had the hottest start in the league, the Kansas City Chiefs going against the hottest QB in the league, the Tennessee Titans. Normally, this game should have been a breeze for Kansas City as it boasted one of the best offenses in the league, but Tennessee's defense is no joking manner and neither was their offense as they mounted a 21-3 comback. Marcus Mariota upended his team to victory with a pass to himself (yes, check it out) and the game winning block to free running back Derek Henry for the first down win. 

I don't know what sounds like a more lopsided match-up: Tennessee Titans vs New England Patriots or Jacksonville Jaguars vs Pittsburgh Steelers. The Titans come off the surprise win, but against a well rested Tom Brady they never stood a chance. Brady came out firing and the run game couldn't be stopped. The Patriots easily won and showed everybody that they were still the top team in the league. However, on the other side of the bracket was Bortles vs Rothlesburger where the Jaguars won earlier in the season when they played. It would not be a repeat of that game as the Jaguars didn't shut down the Steelers like last time, but instead they fought until the final seconds of the game. It was Blake Bottles and Leonard Fournette with a deadly 1-2 combo to not only ruin the Steelers playoffs chance. There's a reason the Jaguars, yes the Jaguars, have the number one defense in the NFL. Now both teams are set for the AFC Conference Championship game. 

We have made it to the penultimate game of the season. The number one seeded New England Patriots vs the number three seeded Jacksonville Jaguars. It was time to see what if Blake Bortles had what it takes to drive his team to the Super Bowl. To do that, they would need the Patriots and specifically Tom Brady to falter which actually happened. The Jaguars and their defense came to play and shut down Brady down by taking a 14-3 lead early in the game. However, you can never count out Brady as he once again brought the Patriots back into the game and prevailed over Blake Bortles and the monstrous Jaguars defense. The Patriots were able to win 24-20 in dramatic fashion to send them back to the Super Bowl to defend their title. The match up is set and now we await a winner between both number one seeds in the NFL. It's the New England Patriots taking on the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII.  

- Mike