NFL – Conference Finals Best Bets
Jacksonville @ New England
3 KEY STATS
1. Jacksonville is the No.2 Scoring defence (16.8 ppg) & No.1 passing defence (169.9 ypg)
2. The Jaguars are 10-0 when Blake Bortles doesn't throw an interception
3. Since 2000, the Patriots are 18-3 in the playoffs at home 85.7% win
The Jaguars are the darlings of the NFL playoffs this season. Everybody wrote them off and now they're facing New England in the AFC Championship game. Jacksonville is legit. We now know this and should apologise.
The New England Patriots should be fixtures in the AFC Playoff considering how often we find them here.
The Jaguars are no doubt capable of hampering New England's offense with the big men at the front. Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue, the Jaguars' big men up front, are more than capable of making Brady's life a nightmare. They combined for 26.5 sacks this season.
The Patriots however are capable of taking away a team's best weapon. Safe to say that is not Bortles. New England will put their No.2 Rush defence on the line as they aim to stop Leonard Fournette. If the game is solely placed in Bortles' hands, the game could get ugly, quick.
The line is fishy as anything. The Jaguars played a distracted Steelers team and Bortles being 5/5 in the red zone is an aberration. I expect the odds makers know something we might not and for that the choice is clear.
KEY TO VICTORY
Both teams share the same key to victory. DON'T TURN IT OVER! Bortles gifting the ball would be suicide. Whilst Brady letting the Jags defence take the ball away would put New England in a hole even they couldn't get out of.
Total: Jacksonville / New England Under 46.5
Side: New England Patriots -9
Minnesota @ Philadelphia
Both starting quarterbacks, Keenum & Foles played for the LA Rams last season
Minnesota led the NFL by allowing 15.8ppg throughout the regular season
No team has ever played and hosted a Super Bowl in their stadium, Minnesota has the chance to be the first.
This game pits two perennial backup quarterbacks against each for the right to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.
The Vikings defence has led the way, limiting opponents to a paltry 40% on 3rd down conversion during the regular season. The Vikings overcame losing their starting quarterback and running back in Sam Bradford and Dalvin Cook by relying on Case Keenum and the McKinnon/Murray combination.
After losing Wentz, many thought the Eagles were done for this season. Foles has done a serviceable job filling in, with some less than ideal performances almost costing them, but he's done just enough and not capitulated when down.
KEY TO VICTORY
Both these teams are built from the defence. These squads are riddled with big impact studs that can change games in a single play. Linval Joseph, Fletcher Cox, Sendejo are all game changers. The defence that can force the most punts and make play will allow their quarterback to manage their team to victory.
Total: Minnesota / Philadelphia Under 38.5
Side: Minnesota -3