The NFL Today: AFC/NFC Championship Games
January 21, 2018 1:33 PM - Season 44, Episode 1 - Subscribe

Jaguaras/Patriots & Vikings/Eagles

I hate the NFL, but the playoffs are just so compelling. Generally this is the second best weekend of the NFL season. The first is of course the divisional playoff round. Superbowl is like 8th best week.
posted by skewed (39 comments total)
I live in Vegas, and when I heard that the Patriots were a nine point favorite, I swear I almost put money down for the Jags to cover. Now, I'm posting this at halftime, so this talk is cheaper than normal, but this would be such a great story if they pull off the upset.
posted by skewed at 1:37 PM on January 21, 2018

Help! I’m trapped at a kids birthday party and have only been able to sneak glances at the boxscore. What’s happening? Is Bortles bortling? Is Brady broken?
posted by nubs at 1:57 PM on January 21, 2018

Brady is mostly OK. Jags defense is good, Bortles has been pretty good, and Fournette’s good.

Gronkowski got hit helmet-to-helmet just before halftime and is in the concussion protocol.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 2:03 PM on January 21, 2018

So it’s time for the Pats to pull this one out then?
posted by nubs at 2:10 PM on January 21, 2018

Ten point lead with most of the 4th quarter left. This is prime Brady heart-break situation. Though Gronkowski has been ruled out for the game, so that makes it more interesting.
posted by skewed at 2:19 PM on January 21, 2018

Oh my god, backward pass by the patriots for a 20 yard gain and then the Jags strip it for a fumble, holy jeez, that's ridiculous. Under review, but it looks like a fumble.
posted by skewed at 2:20 PM on January 21, 2018

Tony Romo is such a freaking delight as an announcer. I want him to do all the games.
posted by something something at 2:34 PM on January 21, 2018 [4 favorites]

I take it from the score change that it wasn’t a fumble.
posted by nubs at 2:34 PM on January 21, 2018

Oh it was a fumble but jags couldn't turn it into points.
posted by skewed at 2:37 PM on January 21, 2018

huge defensive stand by Jags, thought Pats would definitely score after the big pass interference penalty. six minutes left, jags with the ball deep in their own territory, up by three.
posted by skewed at 2:47 PM on January 21, 2018

THeyll probably regret that. When you come at the king you best not miss. (Wrt to the fumble)
posted by nubs at 2:47 PM on January 21, 2018 [1 favorite]

it’s ok you guys they just need Blake Bortles to go 75 yards for a touchdown
posted by Huffy Puffy at 2:56 PM on January 21, 2018

3rd and 18, it's time for a Bortles miracle.
posted by skewed at 3:01 PM on January 21, 2018

Jacksonville looked like the better team for much of the game.

But then we won anyway.

Ima just gonna go ahead and embrace the dark side of the Force on this.
posted by Diablevert at 3:08 PM on January 21, 2018

I thought I'd sit down with a glass of wine now that I'm home and see which of these teams I wanted to see go lose to the Pats, but I guess that decision is made.
posted by nubs at 5:12 PM on January 21, 2018

Eagles fan: Nick Foles is playing out of his mind. He wasn't this good the season he set the record for accuracy.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 6:01 PM on January 21, 2018 [2 favorites]

Ah, now this is more the sort of Vikings performance that I am used to.

posted by ckape at 6:13 PM on January 21, 2018 [2 favorites]

As Drew Magary says, Foles will play like Montana tonight and Tebow in two weeks . . .
posted by Carillon at 6:23 PM on January 21, 2018

As a Saints fan I kept wondering why the Vikings collapse couldn't have been last week. I was all #TeamBortles because, well, I'm generally for anyone that's playing against the Pats at any given moment.

I was prepared to be rooting for the Vikings (I guess) but honestly? if I don't have a dog in the fight I really enjoy rooting for whatever team is just demolishing another one, especially if the other team isn't total chumps. I mean no one cares who beats the Browns, right? But watching the supposedly relatively-evenly-matched Eagles just stomp the crap out of the Vikings is fun.

And now I have to be all "yay eagles" in two weeks.

as opposed to last year where I was #TeamStadiumFire when I couldn't figure out a way for the Pats and the Dirty Birds to both lose the same game.
posted by komara at 7:45 PM on January 21, 2018

OK, for those of you shell-shocked, here's what happened:

The Jags got gassed. They were tired out, and the replacements were absolute schlubs. MEANWHILE.

The Patriots substituted their name-brand linemen, O and D, on the regular, with lesser lights who were proven not to make dumb mistakes. The linemen to their left and right would be elite, but their replacements would be competent, the whistle blows, and a new, rested set of linemen come in, half of them not elite but proven not to make dumb mistakes...

And the hell and fury of it is, no-one else in the league has figured this out. Even tho the local sports talk radio guys have been on it since game one in September. Next Man Up.

Brady doesn't get gassed. His receiver corps doesn't get gassed. Tom doesn't get frustrated... Crooks dropped how many balls? And Brady kept throwing to him? Pure and perfect rainbow arches, all for naught... until....

Also, fuck the Jagwaggons for going head-hunting. They deliberately took Gronk out of the game, to the point where he was kicked in the head accidentally on purpose after being laid out by a helmet-to-helmet hit. That one particular moment dissolves the entire notion of "Refs loves Pats" - No, they came at Gronk to kill, and in the last, futile drive, they tried to hurt Patriots in what should have been a kneel-down.

I mean, they will be elite for the next few years, but everytime JAX plays the Patsies, Bortles is only upright because we don't cheat.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:57 PM on January 21, 2018

Interestingly, that is the worst possible strategy for dealing with the Eagles' defense, because they have eight starter-quality defensive linemen and rotate them often enough to keep everybody fresh. So we'll see what the plan is for keeping Brady upright in Minnesota (I expect quick it probably won't be quick slants).
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:03 PM on January 21, 2018 [2 favorites]

Jason Mendoza is going to be crushed.
posted by daybeforetheday at 12:31 AM on January 22, 2018 [11 favorites]

My dream for the Superbowl is now just a massive blizzard.
posted by Elly Vortex at 6:06 AM on January 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

I regret to inform you they'll be playing in a dome.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 6:07 AM on January 22, 2018

My cousin was out in the streets celebrating the Eagles win; I asked for video of people climbing poles and I got one! It has everything- cheering crowds, flying objects, cops, a getaway, even a WaWa cameo.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:11 AM on January 22, 2018

Vikings seemed to implode after the Eagles returned an interception for a TD and tied the game.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:52 AM on January 22, 2018

Once the Jags lost, I was prepared to root for the Vikings against the Patriots, because even though I love my team, I didn't think Nick Foles could withstand the Vikings defense. I'm elated to be surprised by how good Foles did play, and how good the coaching was. When Pederson was hired, most of the town was worried about Andy Reid, Part 2. Instead, Pederson has a lot of the strengths of Andy Reid during the Jim Johnson era, plus Pederson actually seems aware that football is a timed sport.

I mute my TV so I can listen to the local radio guys call the game, and they were talking about Calm Nick. When Nick Foles turns off his own interior monologue, he's so much better.

Plus, I had a nice cry watching U.S. Women's National Team player Julie Ertz cry finding out that her husband, Eagles TE Zach Ertz, was going to the Super Bowl, and then Zach Ertz cry watching the video of her crying.
posted by gladly at 7:00 AM on January 22, 2018 [2 favorites]

I'm just going to go ahead and skip this thread so I don't find out who among you all are Pats fans.

posted by ominous_paws at 7:20 AM on January 22, 2018 [2 favorites]


No one needs to root for the Pats, of course, but so much Pats hatred seems to be premised on the twin delusions that your team (a) doesn't have its own conservative/Trump-adjacent white players and/or (b) doesn't break the rules as much as it possibly can get away with. Having no appetite for one or the other would be a very sound reason not to follow the NFL at all (honestly I do wonder if I'm going to be even the casual fan I am now in ten years), but, as a basis for choosing one team over another, it's silly.
posted by praemunire at 8:14 AM on January 22, 2018 [7 favorites]

I mute my TV so I can listen to the local radio guys call the game, and they were talking about Calm Nick.

That was not the nickname I had heard of Philly fans bestowing on Mr. Foles. They went for the obvious rhyme.
posted by Diablevert at 8:16 AM on January 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

No one needs to root for the Pats, of course, but so much Pats hatred seems to be premised on the twin delusions that your team (a) doesn't have its own conservative/Trump-adjacent white players

Yeah, if you're going to say this you need to come up with your NFL team that you're willing to say isn't evil. And unless you're a Packers fan, that is going to be tough. And once you start including players, yikes. Your NFL team is evil. We should all stop watching. I'm down to ab out six games a year on tv, I really should do better.
posted by skewed at 8:43 AM on January 22, 2018 [2 favorites]

Most dominant sports teams have the same "problem". The Patriots, Man Utd, the All Blacks even the Liverpool team of the 1980s was insufferable and I'm a Liverpool supporter. They win everything and are still whiny and entitled about it but that's probably one of the reasons they win everything.

Still can't fucking stand Tom Brady though.
posted by fullerine at 8:51 AM on January 22, 2018

The Packers are not less evil than any other team. I assume you’re referring to the idea that they’re fan owned, however, buying shares in the Packers gets you nothing. They’re not some socialist football utopia. They’re governed by a shadowy board of directors with no accountability to the public.
posted by chrchr at 9:24 AM on January 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

The Pats are honestly one of the least braggadocious teams I've ever seen on a long championship run. The fans, you know, they definitely do what all fans of repeat winners do, which is become insufferable. But the team culture is obviously one of public restraint from giving your opponents articles to wave in the locker room. There will be no smack-talking about "making Foles look like Bortles" in the next two weeks.
posted by praemunire at 10:08 AM on January 22, 2018 [3 favorites]

They went for the obvious rhyme.

Obvious and, according to teammates, accurate!
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:25 AM on January 22, 2018

"I regret to inform you they'll be playing in a dome."

There is precedent for blizzards disabling a domed stadium in Minneapolis.
posted by kevinbelt at 1:09 PM on January 22, 2018 [2 favorites]


Well, time to entirely reverse my perception of Patriots fans!

safety wink

posted by ominous_paws at 6:42 AM on January 23, 2018

Rule of sports smack-talk: if one talks smack, one must be prepared to be smack-talked in return.
posted by praemunire at 8:43 AM on January 23, 2018

It's so tedious and depressing. It's also OLD, so very OLD, back when the Pats won their second Superb Owl, then the "They only win because they cheat" meme became a thing. No, the Patriots did not film the Rams at practice.

Then came SpyGate. Ask anyone who dislikes the Patriots what SpyGate was about, and they will really get it wrong.

Then came "I Trip Opposing Players From the Sideline" Tomlin accusing the Patriots of cheating when his headset stopped working, the headset maintained by the League and not the Pats, and the same system shut down for the Pats by the league...

And DeflateGate. I flat out defy anyone to make any kind of sense of that. I mean, really. A federal judge tossed all of the conspiracy horse-hockey out on its ear, and the appellate upheld only because of a loophole in the contract that said Raja Gobbles could impose any damn punishement he saw fit for any or no reason.

Now, after yanking draft picks from New England as hard as they can, the League is now telling the refs to cheat? Dumb. Stupid. Tedious. Everyone kind of knows it.

New hotness? Tom Brady is on illegal drugs. Nevermind Brett Favre and Warren Moon were still VERY GOOD at 40, and Drew Brees is VERY GOOD at 39, of course it's miracle drugs that are so illegal, he has to be deported to another galaxy to stand trial for his crimes.

Pro Tip - if a QB talks at length about how he practices constantly falling down when a huge human hits him, mmmmaybe credit training and technique and not undetectable anaboloids?

Nope. The Patriots Cheat. They have a camera slightly out of place. Take away a first rounder. Football pressure, the survey of which for every regular season game taken and correlated for every game all season after deflategate: sooper-secret, never to be told. For reasons and stuff.


The Patriots are going to win (cross fingers, knock on wood) because their QB, Tom Brady, has seen and lost to players very close to the Eagles Front Eight or Nine before, and knows how to deal. Matt Patricia will simply shut down completely their offense in the fourth quarter, after being run roughshod for three quarters. Their defense will give up, gassed and out of position starting late in the third quarter, and they realize nine capable linemen are not enough, when Dolla Dolla hauls 'em in, and Cooks remembers he's an elite speed merchant.

And Foles gets to see weird shit Bill and Matt have been brewing up for a half decade, all game long, hope he deals...

It's not going to be a blowout. It's going to be nail-biting close, and I'm only picking the Pats to win because I'm a homer.

It's not going to be because the Patriots cheat.

No-one accused the Phins, Niners, Stillers or Them Boys of cheating, of not deserving to win. It's enraging. Yet.

Bill explains to the national and local press why he admires Philly's team so much. Everyone from Tom Terrific down to the third-stringer special-teamer can explain in depth why Philly has such a good team. Shula never did that. Walsh never did that. Darth Hoodie does.

You magnificent bastards. They are not fluffing you up. They are explaining that they have you completely figured out, and are hoping they have the personnel and scheme required to take advantage of the very real strengths you have. He's a little bit cocky, and can be made to pay for it, but Tom Coughlin and Dungy and Cowher are retired.

To sum up - the League hates the Patriots because they ruin parity, and have pettily robbed them of two first round picks for Alex Jones level nonsense infractions, one of which called out openly as nonsense by a federal judge. The league is not pressuring refs the Pats' way. Opposite, and provably so for Gronk's highlight reel, well, before the Dirty Bills and Dirty Jags got caught headhunting. (Yes, dirty. See the body-slam-tackle on White after the TD.)

No, Tom is not juicing, as he has been practicing how to take a hit and fall, no-one else does that, and there have been TWENTY quarterbacks in the NFL 40 and over. Two of them operating at an elite level (Moon and Favre).
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:26 PM on January 24, 2018

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