Hi, hello & welcome to America’s favorite column about America’s favorite sport! This past Sunday’s games were a top example of why everybody loves the NFL. The Jacksonville Jaguars, a team that won three games in 2016 & eleven games total in the last three seasons, find themselves in the AFC Championship Game after defeating a franchise steeped in tradition & trapped in their own hubris. The Minnesota Vikings snatched victory out of the hands of the New Orleans Saints in the last seconds.

Yeah, there were games on Saturday too, but those weren’t nearly as fun. The Patriots won in a blow out on Saturday night as we all knew they would. Eagles vs. Falcons was a snoozefest disguised as a competitive game. Two out of four games being good ain’t bad though, and NFL fans can hope for two more good ones this week.

Jacksonville at New England (-9): The Jacksonville Jaguars story is something else. It’s amazing how Tom Coughlin can come in as executive vice president of football operations, and in one season the Jags can turn into one of the top teams in the NFL. Part of it is due to lack of competition in the AFC South. But you really have to give the young Jags credit for the way they’ve flipped the script on this franchise. These young bucks have swagger. They talk trash. As long as they back it up, which they have so far, it’s all good.

The Pittsburgh Steelers sold the Jaguars short. They thought they could just show up, run over the Jags & get ready for the New England Patriots. They should have known better considering the 30-9 result earlier in the season, but they thought that was no big deal. It was, as it was part of multiple events that gave the Jags the self-confidence they have right now. They’re going to need every bit of that confidence this week, as they head into Massachusetts & take on the biggest dogs in the yard.

I really hope the Jaguars win. But I know better than to bet against the Patriots. The Jags might end up covering, but I get the feeling this is where their season ends. Keep an eye on them going forward.  After years of ineptitude, the Jacksonville Jaguars are looking like one of the top teams of the future. It should give hope to also-rans like the Browns, but it really doesn’t because the Browns organization just isn’t as smart.

Minnesota (-3) at Philadelphia: It seems like everything’s set up for the Vikings, doesn’t it? An amazing game-ending play in the previous round that should be replayed for years to come. A top-notch defense going against Nick Foles. A Super Bowl in their home stadium. Mike Zimmer, Case Keenum are looking at a once in a lifetime opportunity here.

The problem is that its the Minnesota Vikings. We know this is bound to end in heartbreak. We also know they’re playing a #1 seed that has been an underdog at their home stadium two straight weeks now. They’re wearing dog masks in Philly. The NOBODY BELIEVES IN US vibe has always been strong with Eagles fans. I feel like the Vikings are the better team & should win this game, but there’s something about the vibe here that has me leaning Eagles.

bluto-chug-o