After two weeks of wild finishes and underdogs finding ways to win, there are only four teams remaining in the NFL Playoffs. Who would have thought that besides Tom Brady the other three remaining quarterbacks would be Blake Bortles, Case Keenum, and Nick Foles. It’s clear that each of the remaining teams has enough talent on both sides of the ball to take home the Lombardi Trophy, but what other factors could help them finish on top.
Number One Seeded Underdog
When is the last time a number one seed hosting a home playoff game was the underdog? The answer is never before. The Falcons were favored at Lincoln Financial Field by 4.5 points and most experts picked Atlanta to leave Philadelphia with a victory. After Carson Wentz went down, the Eagles knew no one believed in them outside of their locker room. Not caring about what anyone else thought, the Eagles used this underdog mentality as additional motivation to beat the Falcons. After the game Lane Johnson walked around the field wearing a dog mask, inspiring the city to embrace the underdog mentality. 70,000 dog masks, get ready now Case Keenum.
Minnesota is once again favored by 3.5 points in Philadelphia. The man Eagles fans like to call “Nicky Franchise” will have to continue silencing his doubters in order to make it out of the NFC.
— Lane Johnson (@Lanejohnson65) January 14, 2018
Win for Wentz
Lets just put it out there, if Carson Wentz never gets injured the Eagles are the clear favorite in the NFC. After Wentz got hurt, Eagle fans were devastated, rightfully so fearing there Super Bowl aspirations were finished. However, Carson has been there on the sideline encouraging his teammates and helping Nick Foles in whatever way possible. Wentz was having an MVP caliber season, putting the Eagles in a great position to make the playoffs, so there is extra motivation in Philadelphia to win it for their star quarterback.
Did you know that the Vikings have a chance to play the Super Bowl in their own stadium? You probably had no idea because the media literally never talks about it, but it is very close to happening. 52 Super Bowls and never has a team hosted the game and played in it. The Minnesota Vikings have the potential to make history with a victory in Philadelphia on Sunday. Playing in Minnesota is already tough enough, but imagine facing the Vikings in a Super Bowl atmosphere in front of the home fans.
Whether or not you believe fans affect the game, playing the Super Bowl in front of your home fans is something that every team dreams off. Imagine hearing the SKOL chant in a Super Bowl atmosphere, with Case Keenum leading the fans as he did this past sunday. What could be better than that?
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) January 15, 2018
Feeding of the magic of the “Minnesota Miracle”
Stefon Diggs game winning touchdown catch to defeat the Saints-was the first time in postseason history a game ended with a walk off touchdown, nothing short of a miracle. Some are calling it the “Minnesota Miracle” while others are calling it “Seven Heaven”, but no matter the nickname people are calling it one of the greatest plays ever. The shear excitement, shock, and jubilation Vikings fans and players felt was amazing. While Diggs and other Vikings players say they are no longer focusing on the play, it will serve as a huge momentum builder going forward. After that miracle, maybe there is a little more magic still left in the tank for Minnesota.
Teams in the past have used incredible plays and stories as additional inspiration, let’s see if the Vikings can take this special moment and make it even better with a Super Bowl 52 victory.
Back up the trash talk
Jalen Ramsey has showed this season why he is widely considered one of the best corners in the NFL. While being an outstanding player on the field, Ramsey likes to talk smack off the field as well. After returning to Everbank Field, Ramsey told Jags fans they would not only reach the Super Bowl, but win it as well. Ramsey used some different words of course, but the message is clear. No matter how confident the team may be, the Jags are facing their toughest opponent yet the New England Patriots. If the Jags lose to the Patriots, Ramsey’s quote will be a hot topic in the media. This means that the Jags need to win so that their teammate’s speech doesn’t become the latest meme.
“We goin’ to the Super Bowl. AND we gon’ win that b—h”
— Jalen Ramsey to the crowd of Jaguars fans at EverBank Field pic.twitter.com/fE2jSx3Pj1
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) January 15, 2018
Tom Coughlin: Patriot Killer
Patriot fans, remember when you thought you would never have to face Tom Coughlin in the playoffs again? Well he’s back and better than ever with a team that replicates his Giants’ squads that took down New England twice. Ask any Patriots fan and the one coach they do not want to face in the playoffs is Tom Coughlin.
While Coughlin will not be on the sideline, you can be sure he is giving Doug Marrone and the whole Jags roster some advice this week. Although Eli Manning is no longer his quarterback, Tom Coughlin still has the winning blueprint to defeat the Patriots dynasty.
New England Patriots
One last hurrah for the coaches
Two of Bill Belichick’s most important assistants will most likely be coaching elsewhere when the 2018 season begins. Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia, the masterminds between the Patriots offense and defense, could potentially be coaching their last games for the Patriots this postseason. Patricia and McDaniels have both coached for numerous years building great relationships with their players. Patricia’s trademarked backwards hat and pencil behind the ear look will be sorely missed in New England. While Brady and McDaniels have their occasional screaming matches, Tom and McDaniels have been a deadly pairing.
There is no better way to send off two of your most important coaches than with another Super Bowl victory, and you know McDaniels and Patricia will do everything in their power to make it happen.
Silence the critics
Earlier this year, Seth Wickersham ‘s article about the dysfunction in New England was the talk of the media claiming there was a power struggle between the three most important men in on the Patriots. Brady, Belichick, and Kraft all doubted these reports saying their relationship had never been better. What better way to silence these critics, than by winning another Super Bowl?
Patriots players are going to try use this rumor as additional motivation propelling them to another Super Bowl victory. The last thing you want to do is face an angry Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.