Aaron It Out: Championship Swag

Just… wow.

I mean…


Last Sunday was an amazing day of football. You have to admit it – you just HAVE to. Everyone outside of Jacksonville thought that the Jaguars would get the pants beat off of them by the Steelers, and the Jags dominated every bit of that game. A quarterback that has bounced around three teams in the last three years threw a last-second touchdown pass that will be burned into the minds of Vikings fans forever.

Last Saturday was okay, but Sunday was just indescribable. We don’t deserve a day of football like that, but we got it anyway. The Minneapolis Miracle was something that will resonate in the minds of general football fans forever. The last time the Vikings were in the playoffs past the Wild Card round, they were led by Brett Favre and got beat by the Saints in the NFC Championship game, where New Orleans would go on to win the Super Bowl. Now, Minnesota, perennial underdog, stole the game from under the Saints’ noses, in front of 70,000 screaming fans, and they are one game away from playing the Super Bowl in their home stadium, something no team has ever done.  You just can’t write a better story.

The Jacksonville Jaguars were overlooked by everyone in the northeast last week. The Steelers wouldn’t look at them, but past them. As if they were making a statement, the Jaguars received the ball and scored on the first drive of the game. They didn’t look back, and yes, the score may have been 45-42 but I would contend with you that the Jaguars dominated that game, and certainly the Jags’ defense was constantly in the minds of the Steelers’ offense, so much so in fact that the Steelers never led the game.

You can imagine my pick for the Super Bowl matchup: Vikings-Jaguars would be great. Sure, it may not pick up as much of a headline as Tom Brady making his umpteenth Super Bowl appearance before he blows away into dust for the offseason, but both the Jaguars and Vikings are benefiting from unexpected success. The Jaguars were written off in August before a regular-season game was even played. Nobody believed in them; even the fanbase just wasn’t sure of what to expect. The Jaguars have shown that they can almost dominate nearly all aspects of a game. They will need to against the Pats, and Bortles will need to bring his A-game. The scary part is, I kind of think he can do it.  The Vikings truly have an embarassment of riches at quarterback: with Teddy Bridgewater down, they had Sam Bradford, former number one overall pick, to lead them… until his knee started giving him issues. Enter Case Keenum, who was mistreated by Jeff Fisher in L.A. last year, who is a student of the game and I personally thought would thrive given the right situation, and he goes 11-3 as a starter and has led Minnesota to the NFC Championship game. The media may try and bill Vikes-Eagles as a “battle of backup QBs” and they’d be right as Wentz is The Guy in Philly, but Keenum has earned the right to be a starter in the NFL.

Eagles-Vikings looks to be a good game, but I don’t know who will win. Both have great defenses, both went 13-3 in the regular season. Both should be acclimated to playing in the cold.

Jaguars-Patriots should also be a good game. The problem with the Pats is the Jaguars won’t get much bulletin board material out of them.

The Patriots are the beneficiaries of cupcake schedules, and it seems like everyone is in denial about it. Think about it: they play in one of the easiest divisions in football, the AFC East. That’s at least 4-6 wins nearly every year. This year, divisionally, they played the NFC South and the AFC West, and we know how bad the AFC West was this year. Last year they played and defeated the Texans, Cardinals, Browns, Bengals, Niners, Rams, Ravens, and Broncos. Does that sound like a hard schedule to you? They play cake schedules, play in a cake division, and then they go to the playoffs. Granted, they had an impressive comeback win last year against the Falcons. But they kind of coast through the regular season, if you ask me.

What can I say about the Jaguars that hasn’t already been said? The defense is amazing. The offense isn’t horrible. Booyah. As long as we get the Blake Bortles that doesn’t make stupid mistakes, and the defense does its job, I certainly hope that the Jags will make their first Super Bowl appearance.

1. Vikings
2. Jaguars
3. Eagles
4. Patriots
5. Saints


VIKINGS @ EAGLES – Two great defenses. This will come down to QB play. Vikings win.

JAGUARS @ PATRIOTS – Can the Jags be disruptive enough to stop Brady from being Brady? Can the offense exploit the issues in New England’s defense? We’ll find out Sunday afternoon. Jaguars win.


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