2017 Forecaster Frank's NFL Picks
Patriots 41 Jaguars 3
The New England Patriots road to Super Bowl LII has been lined in gold down easy street. After earning a bye and home field, the Patriots faced an overmatched Titans team that despite leading early clearly was not in the same class. Now they face the Jacksonville Jaguars a team that lost to those same Titans twice. The Jaguars are here because the Steelers thought they too had an easy path to the AFC Championship and forgot to actually show up in their Divisional Round game until it was too late. Instead of focusing on the task ahead the Steelers were obsessed with New England, and allowed Jacksonville to sneak up on them and beat them for a second time this season at Heinz Field. One thing you know the Patriots won't ever do is look past an opponent. They won't ever underestimate an opponent they will never be unprepared to play a team, especially when home in the playoffs. The Jaguars have a defense that could hit Tom Brady hard and could create a game changing turnover as they did last week in Pittsburgh. Leonard Fournette is a solid running back who the Jaguars can build around, but I just can't trust Blake Bortles to win a big game against Tom Brady in Foxboro. Bortles nearly cost the Jaguars in the Wild Card Game with a terrible first half, if not for the Bills being incapable of taking advantage they would have been eliminated two weeks ago. When the Jaguars faced the 49ers last month, Jimmy Garoppolo was able to break apart the Jaguars defense. They also were broken down by Ben Roethlisberger last week. You just know the Patriots will find those same holes and work on them all day. Once behind, Bortles will try to force things and the game will quickly get away. This one will not be close, and the Patriots will run away laughing all the way to their eighth Super Bowl appearance in 17 years.
Previous Week No Spread: 2-2 .500
Total No Spread: 170-94 .644
Previous Week With Spread: 2-2 .500
Total With Spread: 126-138 .477
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Vikings 17 Eagles 13
Two forlorn franchises meet hoping for a chance to face Goliath in Super Bowl LII. The Minnesota Vikings one lost three Super Bowls in four years and four overall, while the Philadelphia Eagles have lost both of their appearances in the big game. The Eagles and Vikings are essential in the NFC Championship Game with backup quarterbacks. While Case Keenum may have played his way into Minnesota's future plans, Nick Foles future is staying the understudy to Carson Wentz. Both teams have had solid defensive play all season, as the Vikings were the number one scoring defense in the NFL as they have allowed an opponent to score more than 20 points four times, including their win over the Saints last week in the Divisional Round. The Eagles have at times been vulnerable to the pass, but with the pass rush of Fletcher Cox those occasions were rare in 2017. With Nick Foles struggling early last week, Cox and the Philadelphia defense kept the Falcons from taking flight as they trailed 10-9 and did not allow anything else in the second half. The Eagles may have an edge at the running back position with LaGarrette Blount's history of getting some important hard yardage in playoff games. Nick Foles, though is a question mark, had Wentz been available it would be hard to imagine Philadelphia falling, but Foles is unable to get the ball as deep and throw as accurately. Case Keenum, meanwhile has been a revelation for the Vikings. True he has at times slipped and was that bad Case that struggled with the Texans and Rams, like his duck interception that led to the Saints second touchdown. However, only the good Case could have made that pass to Steffon Diggs that led to the Minneapolis Miracle. With a win the Vikings will be playing Super Bowl LII in their home stadium. I don't know what exactly it is, but there is a certain mojo surrounding Minnesota and that mojo will take the Vikings to Super Bowl LII.
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