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2018 NFL Conference Championship: What each team needs to do to make it to Super Bowl 52

Jaguars need to pressure Tom Brady while the Vikings need to score fast.

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Getty Images/Peter Rogers Illustrations

Holy crap. Let’s just start with that, shall we?

I knew I was right picking the Vikings to go to the Super Bowl. The “Minnesota Miracle” is just proof that the Football Gods have finally given up their cruel vendetta against the Vikings and have decided that they as well want to see the Vikes at home for the Super Bowl. HOW COULD ANYONE ROOT AGAINST THIS TEAM??

Also, not to toot my own horn (but I am about to do just that), but I was 100% on my game picks on this week’s RB1 podcast. Called the Jags win and went toe-to-toe against Clark saying Vikings continue their postseason magic.

Clearly the two winners I pick in this article will be the Super Bowl matchup.

Jaguars vs Patriots

What the Jaguars need to do: Pressure Tom Brady like their life depends on it...because spoiler alert: it does

What’s the number one way to disrupt Brady and beat the Patriots? Everyone in New England can tell you it’s pressure him up the middle. If you have strong interior pass rushers who can collapse the pocket, Brady has nowhere to step up and boom, you have yourself a sack. The Jaguars have two legit interior guys in Calais Campbell (who they move all over the formation) and Malik Jackson who can certainly get after the quarterback. Pressure also is how you force turnovers, either through interceptions or fumbles. The Jaguars have been amazing all season at forcing turnovers and scoring, and that all comes from their front four.

Also, Blake Bortles needs to be perfect.

What the Patriots need to do: Give Gronk football

While the Jaguars do have the number one pass defense per DVOA and are the best defense at defending the opponent’s number one receiver (I love you Jalen Ramsey), the Jags struggle to cover tight ends, ranking 20th this season. We saw this Sunday as the Jaguars gave up 112 yards on 10 catches to Vance McDonald. Now the Jaguars have to face the Gronk. We all know what Rob Gronkowski can do and I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest to see the Patriots build a game plan around Gronk and getting the their running backs out in space for quick passes.

But mainly get Gronk the football. I mean, the guy is a human cheat code.

Prediction: Patriots 31, Jaguars 24

Vikings vs Eagles

What the Vikings need to do: Get a lead, force Nick Foles to win the game

This once great Eagles offense has fallen through the floor since Carson Wentz tore his ACL. Over the past three games, Philly’s offense has ranked 30th in the league average in both yards and points and they’ve converted only 24% of their 3rd downs. That’s not going to help them as they face a Vikings defense that’s allowed less than 20% of third downs converted in last three games. This Eagles offense is not built to come from behind, so if the Vikings can come out of the gate on fire and put up points, this game might be out of hand quickly.

What the Eagles need to do: The exact opposite of what I just said the Vikings need to do

Not exactly the most clever statement but keeping this game close is exactly what the Eagles need to do. It’s how they managed to beat the Falcons Saturday. The most Atlanta led by last week was four points which allowed the Eagles to kick their way back into the game. This won’t be easy as the Eagles defense has been less than stellar at holding opposing offenses out of the endzone. The Eagles finished 20th this year in opponent red zone scoring, allowing a touchdown 55% of the time. If Philly hopes to win this game, they’re going to need to do a whole lot more of this:

Prediction: Vikings 20, Eagles 13

Poll

What will be the Super Bowl matchup?

This poll is closed

  • 58%
    Patriots vs Vikings
    (60 votes)
  • 16%
    Patriots vs Eagles
    (17 votes)
  • 16%
    Jaguars vs Vikings
    (17 votes)
  • 7%
    Jaguars vs Eagles
    (8 votes)
102 votes total Vote Now