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I'm from Houston, a graduate of the University of Texas, a fan of the Houston Astros and Houston Texans. But this blog will be about the "greater sports", whatever that means.

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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

2017-18 NFL Championship Weekend Playoff Preview

A step back, but numbers don't lie. I'm doing pretty good.
After an amazing Divisional Playoff Weekend, it's hard to believe there are only three games left in the NFL season, and by default, the football season.  September is so far away.  But we will remember last weekend forever.  The amazing catch by Stefon Diggs.  The see saw affair between the Jaguars and Steelers.  The last minute gasp and odd fourth down playcall ending the Falcons NFC title defense.  And the Patriots continuing to do what the Patriots do.  Reach the AFC Championship game for the seventh straight season.  The best four teams are left, and we break down the games below.

J.R. Ewing and "Bulldog Babe" (@bulldogbabexo) will offer you a full range analysis of the NFL playoffs week by week.  Here each playoff game will have a short breakdown with thoughts on key factors then a final score predict.  The final score predict then gives you a Straight Up, Over/Under, and Against the Spread (ATS) pick to chew on for "recreation purposes only".  We'll be tracking our own progress.  Or if you're someone with disposable income, gamble away (but this blog is not responsible for losses).

My Steelers are out, but I still got some life in my picks!
Not a good week for either of our pickers last week.  Not horrible, but not good.

J.R. Ewing (0-3-1 ATS, 2-2 S/U, 4-0 O/U).  Not a good week ATS.  Had the Falcons, they lost.  Thought the Titans would keep close, they didn't. Thought the Steelers would roll, nope.  Vikings won by the spread (we won't enter the PAT debate).  At least had the Patriots/Vikings winning and wow, did get a lot of the over/under (the overs were a strong play).  All of J.R.'s picks can be tracked at CappedIn.com
(Totals through two weeks: 4-3-1 ATS, 5-3 S/U, 6-2 O/U). 

Bulldog Babe (1-2-1 ATS, 2-2 S/U, 2-2 O/U).  BDB didn't do bad at all against the spread, hitting with Falcons and Bills covers.  Straight up though, only got the Saints winning (although she will tell you that was her most important game from a rooting interest standpoint).  And we won't talk about the over/under.
(Totals through two weeks: 3-4-1 ATS, 3-5 S/U, 2-6 O/U).

Lines and spreads are from VegasInsider.com.

January 21 2018: 15:05 EST
Jacksonville Jaguars (+9, +350) New England Patriots (-9, -450) O/U 46.5

Jacksonville Jaguars (12-6)
Last eight games: 5-3
Road: 5-4
Against Playoff teams: 3-3 (2-1 on road)

New England Patriots (14-3)
Last thirteen games: 12-1
Home: 7-2
Against Playoff teams: 6-2 (2-2 at home)

J.R. Ewing prediction
The Patriots have been here before, like the last six years before.  It's Foxborough, it's January, it's Tom Brady.  I just don't see them losing this game to the upstart Jaguars and Blake Bortles.  The Jaguars defense is being touted but they did give up 42 points to Pittsburgh.  The machine wins.  The house wins.  It's just the way it works.  Patriots big.
Final Prediction: Patriots 31, Jaguars 21

Bulldog Babe prediction:
Jacksonville had the best upset of the weekend when they came into Pittsburgh and completely dominated. I feel like they had a lot of confidence and they wanted that win and they got it! It was very impressive and as a Steelers fan, I gained a lot of respect for the Jags. They wanted it more than Pittsburgh did. Now they're headed into a tough environment in Foxborough to face the Patriots this weekend and if they come into that game with the same confidence as they did with the Steelers, they can win and I firmly believe they will win. They have a complete team and they are hungry! I have the Jags winning this one.
Final Prediction: Jaguars 24, Patriots 20

January 13, 2018: 18:40 EST
Minnesota Vikings (-3, -170)  at Philadelphia Eagles (+3, +150) O/U 38.5

Minnesota Vikings (14-3)
Last thirteen games: 12-1
Road: 6-2
Against Playoff teams: 4-2 (1-2 on road)

Philadelphia Eagles (14-3)
Last six games: 4-2
Home: 8-1
Against Playoff teams: 3-1 (1-0 at home)

J.R. Ewing prediction
I doubted the Eagles last week.  That won't happen again.  I felt like the Falcons were the best offense in the NFC and the Eagles defense tamed them.  The same will happen with the less experienced and frankly less talented Vikings and Case Keenum (which for all intents and purposes should have lost last week).  The Vikings defense is good too, so I see a very low scoring affair.  But the Eagles prevail.
Final Prediction: Eagles 24, Vikings 13

Bulldog Babe prediction:
This is the most deserving NFC matchup. Both of these teams have had an amazing season and they should be very proud. With that being said, only one team can win and I feel like neither team will back down without a fight. Both teams are coming off of close and crazy wins and it makes this weekend's matchup just that much better. I just feel like the Eagles are the stronger team. Yes, Carson Wentz is out with an injury but that's not stopping the Philly offense at all and that will go into this weekend. It will be close for sure, but I have the Eagles winning this. 
Final Prediction: Eagles 34, Vikings 31

J.R. and Bulldog Babe have spoken.  What do you think?  Either comment on our tweet or this post and we'll respond!  Meanwhile, enjoy Championship Sunday!

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