NFL Playoffs: All-Out Blitz Staff Picks Conference Championship Games

January 20, 2018 • Ben Heck • Features, Front Page, Lists, NFL Playoffs, Preview

Okay, I’ll be honest. We here at All-Out Blitz have truly struggled with game picks this postseason.

But that’s what so great about the NFL playoffs, right?? Any given Sunday!

Sunday afternoon’s Conference Championship match-ups feature three squads without any Super Bowl victories (Jacksonville, Philadelphia and Minnesota) and one squad searching with a legendary quarterback searching for his SIXTH Super Bowl championship (New England, obviously).

This gives us about a 75% chance of seeing a team win its first Super Bowl ever. Exciting.

Here are our championship round picks for this weekend.

AFC: Jacksonville Jaguars @ New England Patriots (1:05 PM ET)

Ben’s pick: Patriots 24, Jaguars 14

Don’t get me wrong, I would love to see Jacksonville pull off the Conference Championship win and earn its first Super Bowl appearance in franchise history. And I don’t believe a Jacksonville win would be very far-fetched, given what this Sacksonville defense has done this season. I just have a hard time picking against Tom Brady in a January playoff game at Foxboro. This will mark Brady’s 36th career postseason game, and he’s 18-3 in playoff games at Gillette Stadium. He has six touchdowns and zero interceptions, and a 2-0 record, against Jacksonville in the postseason. I’ll take my chances on Brady (while secretly cheering for a Jacksonville upset).

Jordan’s pick: Jaguars 28, Patriots 23

Many of you are going to pick New England rolling over Jacksonville, but not so fast. If Blake Bortles avoids turnovers and makes a couple plays down the stretch like he did last week, Jacksonville can keep this game close. If Bortles makes more than a couple plays and Leonard Fournette gets going, this game will be entertaining. If the aforementioned occur and the defense finds a way to slow down Tom Brady, Jacksonville will emerge victorious. That’s what I’m banking on. The drama surrounding the Patriots is going to be amplified immediately following this game, along with questions beginning to come to the surface about Tom Brady’s status for next year. Will the Patriots dynasty over? I’m not sure, but I think it’s going to be put on hold until next season, starting Sunday. I’m going out on a limb and picking the upset.

Minnesota Vikings @ Philadelphia Eagles (4:40 PM ET)

Ben’s pick: Eagles 21, Vikings 17

Well, I guess the Eagles and their fan base are just fully embracing the underdog role at this point, even though I feel they should be favored in this one. Philly gets to host the Conference Championship after beating Matt Ryan and the Falcons last week, yet Vegas is favoring Minnesota (-3.0) for Sunday’s showdown. Quarterback Nick Foles truly stepped up in the second half last week and the defense shut down Atlanta’s high-flying offense, keeping them to just 10 points. Given Minnesota needed a last-second miracle to pull off the win over New Orleans last week, and the fact Philly has home-field advantage once again, I’ll take the Eagles in a close one at home.

Jordan’s pick: Vikings 24, Eagles 14

Minnesota is simply the better team out of the two playing in this game. Case Keenum is better than Nick Foles. Keenum has equal, if not better weapons at his disposal and has a top-two defense to alleviate some of the pressure when things get intense. Philadelphia’s defense won the game last week. If Foles can’t throw a touchdown against the Falcons, he’s in for a rude awakening against Minnesota. Whether Foles throws 50 times or hands it off 35 times, it’s not going to make a difference. It’ll be close, but the better team will win and advance to Super Bowl 52. Case Keenum vs. Blake Bortles. Who would have predicted that heading into the season? Nobody.

Photo: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

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