We already know that the New England Patriots are the favorite in sunday’s AFC Championship game, not to mention the super bowl favorite as well. This doesn’t mean they have it locked up, not by a long shot. But the New England Patriots have a huge advantage when it comes down to one very important position… the quarterback.
Now I know what you’re thinking, obviously they have an advantage at QB, Tom Brady is the best of his time and considered by many to be the best ever. However, this year they happen to have even more of an upper hand and this is because the remaining quarterbacks are probably the most inexperienced group to make the Conference Championship games. Nick Foles, Case Keenum, and Blake Bortles have a combined 5 playoff starts. All of them, getting their first postseason wins for the first time in their careers this year. This past saturday, Brady got his 26th postseason win. This will also be Tom Brady’s 12th AFC Championship game, and he has won 7 of them. For the other three this will be a completely new experience.
Of course there is a lot more to a football team than their quarterback. The Jaguars have the best cornerback duo with Ramsey and Bouye, the Eagles a big front line and a strong secondary, and the Vikings probably have the most well balanced defense in the league. These are all big parts of how these teams have made it this far.
The Jaguars have been carried by their defense all season. Their offense is very inconsistent and is really held together by Fournette. Otherwise there is no way Bortles could lead this team, Fournette takes tons of pressure off of him.
The Vikings have been hurt by injuries this season, but still have a complete offense, despite losing Dalvin Cook and their 1st and 2nd string QB’s. Theilen, Diggs, and Rudolph are a very strong receiving core along with McKinney and Murray at running backs. Again the only struggle is with Case Keenum, who has proved himself this year, but still has yet to perform in any great manner under the pressure of the postseason competition.
The Eagles also have a well balanced team. The only problem is that there is no star power. They don’t have any players that can make or break a game, they are all just good players that play well together. This is what has made them good, but it won’t take them to the super bowl any time soon unless someone on that team breaks out.
And finally the Patriots. They have the top offense in the league, no doubt. Their defense has struggled this season, but has still managed to give up the 5th least points per game to opponents. Like I’ve already said, the Patriots true advantage is their quarterback Tom Brady. He’s arguably the best postseason quarterback ever, and he’s got the most unstoppable tight end in the league to pass to. Gronkowski cannot be guarded without opening up someone else on the field. This is a big reason why the Patriots have the best offense. Brady can pick apart any defense with all the weapons he has. Plus Rex Burkhead is expected to return for the Patriots against the Jaguars, which will bring back some strength in their run game. Even if I wasn’t a Pats fan, I couldn’t say that the Patriots aren’t the best team left. They don’t have it locked up, but they’ve got the best chance of winning it all again this year.