NFL Betting Guide: AFC/NFC Championship Weekend

Jacksonville Jaguars @ New England Patriots (-7)

Sunday, January 21, 2018 @ 2:05pm (CST) on CBS

Straight Up & Against The Spread Records

Jacksonville: 12-6 straight up; 10-8 against the spread
New England: 14-3 straight up; 12-5 against the spread

Home vs. Road

Jacksonville: 6-4 straight up & 6-4 against the spread on the road
New England: 7-2 straight up & 6-3 against the spread at home

Offensive Statistics (based on 2017 regular season)

Jacksonville
– 26.1 points per game (5th)
– 365.9 total yards per game (6th)
– 224.6 passing yards per game (17th)
– 141.4 rushing yards per game (1st)

New England
– 28.6 points per game (2nd)
– 394.2 total yards per game (1st)
– 276.1 passing yards per game (2nd)
– 118.1 rushing yards per game (10th)

Defensive Statistics (based on 2017 regular season)

Jacksonville
– 16.8 points allowed per game (2nd)
– 286.1 total yards allowed per game (2nd)
– 169.9 passing yards allowed per game (1st)
– 116.3 rushing yards allowed per game (21st)

New England
– 18.5 points allowed per game (5th)
– 366.0 total yards allowed per game (29th)
– 251.3 passing yards allowed per game (30th)
– 114.9 rushing yards allowed per game (20th)

Prediction

New England 27, Jacksonville 14

On paper this is a fantastic matchup.  We have the Patriots who are top-10 offensively in points, yards, passing yards and rushing yards per game against the Jaguars defense that ranks either first or second in the league in points, yards and passing yards allowed per game.

However, in a game like this you’ll have to look beyond the stats.  On one hand there’s Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and a Patriots squad that has made it a yearly tradition to play in the AFC Championship game; while on the other hand there is Blake Bortles and a Jaguars team with no experience at this level in the playoffs.

I don’t expect New England’s offense to be flawless as the Jaguars’ defense, despite allowing over 40 points last week to Pittsburgh, is clearly one of the best units in the NFL.  At the end of the day, I see the Patriots’ offense maintaining a balanced attack that won’t allow the Jaguars’ defense to play to their primary strength – which is defending the pass – and the Patriots take this one by double digits.


Minnesota Vikings (-3) @ Philadelphia Eagles

Sunday, January 21, 2018 @ 5:40pm (CST) on FOX

Straight Up & Against The Spread Records

Minnesota: 14-3 straight up; 11-5-1 against the spread
Philadelphia: 14-3 straight up; 11-6 against the spread

Home vs. Road

Minnesota: 6-2 straight up & 5-3 against the spread on the road
Philadelphia: 8-1 straight up & 6-3 against the spread at home

Offensive Statistics (based on 2017 regular season)

Minnesota
– 23.9 points per game (10th)
– 356.9 total yards per game (11th)
– 234.6 passing yards per game (11th)
– 122.3 rushing yards per game (7th)

Philadelphia
– 28.6 points per game (t-2nd)
– 365.8 total yards per game (7th)
– 233.6 passing yards per game (13th)
– 132.2 rushing yards per game (3rd)

Defensive Statistics (based on 2017 regular season)

Minnesota
– 15.8 points allowed per game (1st)
– 275.9 total yards allowed per game (1st)
– 192.4 passing yards allowed per game (2nd)
– 83.6 rushing yards allowed per game (2nd)

Philadelphia
– 18.4 points allowed per game (4th)
– 306.5 total yards allowed per game (4th)
– 227.3 passing yards allowed per game (17th)
– 79.2 rushing yards allowed per game (1st)

Prediction

Minnesota 24, Eagles 17

Philadelphia’s defense proved once again last week that it can compete against good offenses, however, you could say that the Falcons’ offense never reached their full potential in 2017.  You could also argue that the Vikings’ offense is more potent at this point in time than Atlanta’s as Minnesota finished the regular season averaging more points and rushing yards per game than the Falcons.

The Eagles’ offense is clearly different with Nick Foles at quarterback, scoring just 15 points against Atlanta in the divisional round of the playoffs, and now they face a Vikings’ defense that led the league in the regular season in points and yards allowed per game, and was second in both pass and rush yards allowed per game.

A clear-weather forecast with temperatures expected in the 40’s wipes away any slight advantage the Eagles may have had, and I don’t expect the Vikings will need to score on the last play of the game in order to win on Sunday.  Chalk this one up as a one-touchdown win for the Vikings.

More against the spread and daily fantasy sports thoughts in latest AFC/NFC Championship Preview Podcast

Ben Morgan is a co-host and blogger for the Loaded Box Podcast.  Check out his article archive and find more from the Loaded Box on Twitter & Facebook

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