Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, January 22, 2018 at 9:08 AM
Network Continues Red Hot in the NFL Playoffs!
3-0 Sunday in the Conference Championships!
Now 11-1-1 Going Into Super Bowl LII!
Eagles (+3) over Vikings 38-7
Jaguars (+7.5) over Patriots 20-24 & UNDER 46
OUR FIRST LOOK AT SUPER BOWL LII - IT'S EAGLES VS. PATRIOTS FOR ALL THE MARBLES AS WE PUT A REAL WRAP ON SUNDAY'S CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES
Let's get something straight right off the bat here: The New England Patriots - the NFL's reigning defending champions - know their history. After all, Sunday's epic 24-20 come-from-behind non-cover win against the 7.5-point underdog Jacksonville Jaguars in this year's AFC Championship Game happened to be the fourth time in the past seven years that the Pats have advanced to the Super Bowl and - of course -- the 10th overall SB appearance merely extends the organization's record ... note that Pittsburgh, Dallas and Denver each have made it to eight Super Bowls.
Ahh, but there's other history too at work here and that's three times in Super Bowl lore a team that won a Super Bowl one season happened to lose in the big game the very next season:
See the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl XIII (a 35-31 loss to Pittsburgh); the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl XVIII (a humbling 38-9 loss to the then-Los Angeles Raiders); and the Seattle Seahawks in SB XLIX (a 28-24 loss to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots).
And, for all this rich Super Bowl history, the Patriots have repeated just once - yup, back in Super Bowl XXXIX when New England beat the Philadelphia Eagles 24-21. So, are we looking at another Patriots' repeat where the Eagles play the foil on the second part of the back-to-backs or will the NFL folks be writing a whole new bit of history in less than two weeks' time ... as in a first-ever Super Bowl trophy for the championship-starved Eagles?
Folks, we're gonna kick around a whole lot of good/solid information in these next two weeks but first things first:
Jim Hurley's Network of Handicappers and Bloggers will get you the winning Side & Totals plays on Super Bowl LII between the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots on Sunday, February 4th when you check in with us then on game-day morning. Jim's gonna keep blasting the books with his NFL post-season winners so get 'em right here online or 1-800-323-4453 and cash in big! Plus there's a whole lot of College Basketball and NBA winners each and every day/night as the hardcourt action is really heating up this winter. So, keep rollin' in the profits here in 2018 with Jim Hurley's Network and count down with us towards Super Bowl Sunday!!!!
NFL CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES
Okay, so let's finally hit the re-wind button on what happened in both the AFC and NFC Championship Games and take note that heading into Super Bowl LII that NFL Playoff Betting Favorites are 1-9 ATS (against the spread) with New England's 35-14 AFC Divisional Playoff win against 14-point pup Tennessee the lone cover for a post-season chalk side:
AFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME -
NEW ENGLAND 24, JACKSONVILLE 20 - No question the post-game headlines screamed of double-digit comebacks (the Jaguars led 20-10 with less than nine minutes remaining in this title tilt) and the road team getting jobbed by the "zebras" (see one New England penalty for 10 yards while J'ville committed 98 yards worth of penalties) but when you got down to the nitty-gritty of this game you saw the aforementioned Mr. Brady (26-of-38 for 290 yards with two TDs and 0 INTs) play a magical final quarter when his quarterback rating was 136.3 and you watched the Jags play tight, not cover a short punt very well and then lag badly in pass coverage.
Brady's pair of fourth-quarter scoring strikes to WR Danny Amendola combined both grit-and-guile by the heady pass-catcher but where was Jacksonville's pass rush and downfield blanket coverage beginning with that uber-important third-and-18 play that Brady hooked up with Amendola (7 catches for 84 yards) that jump-started the next-to-last touchdown drive for the Patriots?
In our Jim Sez game preview, we rattled off a laundry list of what the Jaguars needed to do if they were gonna "steal" this one in Foxboro and - truth be told - Doug Marrone's squad played brilliantly with QB Blake Bortles throwing for 293 yards with one TD and 0 INT plus, when Pats' TE Rob Gronkowski went down in the second quarter with a game-ending head injury, you got the feeling that maybe the brilliant Bill Belichick and Company had finally met their match.
Hardly. The dynasty ain't over - not by a long shot.
NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
PHILADELPHIA 38, MINNESOTA 7 - Go ahead and raise your hand if you told your buddies beforehand that the Eagles were gonna be singing/dancing on the sidelines the whole fourth quarter of their championship game win against the 3-point favored Vikings ... yeah, right!
Hey, the folks that scripted "Rocky" more than forty years ago in this great city had nothing on this Eagles team that - among other things - scored four offensive touchdowns against arguably the league's best back-to-front defense and wound up watching journeyman QB Nick Foles (26-of-33 for 352 yards with 3 TDs and 0 INTs) resemble a video gamer with his precise slant passes and some deep balls too as Minny fell asleep at the wheel more than once when facing Philly's newfangled vertical passing game.
Toss in a weaving/rating 50-yard pick six by DB Patrick Robinson that merely turned the game around midway through the first quarter and some daring-do at both the end of the first half (no kneel downs here for an aggressive Eagles' offense) and early in the second half (flea-flicker magic with Foles air-mailing a 41-yard scoring strike to little-used WR Torrey Smith) and mix in with a fierce Eagles' defense that pass-rushed/bull-rushed QB Case Keenum all game long following Minny's game-opening TD drive and - voila - the Eagles were partying hard and suddenly Foles and head coach Doug Pederson were being hailed as the city's latest heroes.
The $64,000 question now is will February 4th go down as the great night in Eagles history ... or will Philly be another footnote along the way to New England's sixth Vince Lombardi Trophy?
Whoa, that's something to chew on between now and the first Sunday next month.
NOTE: Get more Super Bowl LII coverage plus Hoops too in the next Jim Sez.