NFL Playoffs 2018: TV Info, Bracket Predictions and Super Bowl Odds

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorJanuary 16, 2018

PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 14:  Leonard Fournette #27 of the Jacksonville Jaguars runs for a touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first half of the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Heinz Field on January 14, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

The Jacksonville Jaguars made the AFC Championship Game in their second and fifth years of existence (1996 and 1999) but haven't been back this century. They are one of four teams to have never made a Super Bowl (the others being the Cleveland Browns, Houston Texans and Detroit Lions).

The Jags can strike their name off that list, however, with a win on Sunday against the New England Patriots, who are trying to become only the second team in league history to earn six Lombardi Trophies (the other being the Pittsburgh Steelers).

You can take a look at how the Jags might attack the Pats below. Also, you can find the schedule information for Sunday's conference championship games, as well as score picks for the rest of the playoffs and the latest Super Bowl odds, per OddsShark.

                     

Conference Championship Schedule and Television Information

Sunday, January 21, at 3:05 p.m. ET on CBS: No. 3 Jacksonville Jaguars at No. 1 New England Patriots

Sunday, January 21, at 6:40 p.m. ET on Fox: No. 2 Minnesota Vikings at No. 1 Philadelphia Eagles

             

Super Bowl Schedule

Sunday, February 4 at 6:30 p.m. ET on NBC: AFC champion vs. NFC champion at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis

          

Bracket Predictions

Vikings 17, Eagles 16

Patriots 27, Jaguars 16

          

Super Bowl Pick

Vikings 20, Patriots 19

        

Super Bowl Odds (per OddsShark)

New England Patriots: 6-5

Minnesota Vikings: 7-4

Philadelphia Eagles: 7-1

Jacksonville Jaguars: 8-1

        

Jacksonville Jaguars' Path To Victory

The offensive and defensive game plans are simple: Run the ball with Leonard Fournette as often as possible and get in Patriots quarterback Tom Brady's face.

As good as the Jaguars defense has been this season, it's not invincible, as evidenced by allowing 42 points to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Championship Game. They may have an even tougher task against the Pats, who haven't scored fewer than 19 points in a game all year.

Therefore, the Jags' best bet is to keep the Patriots off the field more often than not with a conservative, ball-control offense featuring a heavy dose of Fournette.

The rushing attack worked on Sunday, as the former LSU Tiger scored three touchdowns in addition to 109 yards on the ground. Fournette looked a step faster than the Steelers defense, who had trouble taking him down after contact.

For the season, the Patriots allowed 4.7 yards per carry, which was the second-worst mark in the league. The Pats have a bend-but-don't-break defense that allows a lot of yardage (366.0, which is fourth-most in the NFL) but not a lot of points (18.5, fifth-best in the NFL).

Hence, we could see Fournette and the Jags finding success moving the ball on Sunday. It's just a matter of whether the Jags' forays into enemy territory end in touchdowns, field goals or turnovers.

If Jacksonville can control the time of possession, that naturally gives Brady and the Pats fewer chances to score. Given how efficient the New England offense has been this season (Football Outsiders ranked them first in the NFL), it's hard seeing the Pats coming up empty more often than not, even against the tough Jags defense. Therefore, limiting the Pats' opportunities is crucial to a Jacksonville victory.

On defense, the Jags should take a page out of the New York Giants' Super Bowl XLII playbook and send a variety of blitzes Brady's way. Per Pro Football Reference, Brady is 3-4 in playoff games where he is sacked three or more times. Otherwise, he is 23-5.

Defensive ends Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue, therefore, are major keys to the Jaguars' success. The 6'8" Campbell, who came over from the Arizona Cardinals in free agency, registered a team-high 14.5 sacks this season. Ngakoue nearly matched him with 12.

They don't face an insurmountable task, as New England allowed 35 sacks this year, which ranked in the middle of the NFL pack. That number is the fourth-highest mark New England has allowed since Brady became the team's starter in 2001.

If Fournette can find success as he did last Sunday, and if the Jaguars pass rush gets to Brady, we could be seeing another upset in the NFL playoffs. If neither (or either) of those things happen, it could be a long day for the Jags.

Related

    Brady on Gordon Chemistry: 'Working at It Every Day'

    NFL logo
    NFL

    Brady on Gordon Chemistry: 'Working at It Every Day'

    Alec Nathan
    via Bleacher Report

    B/R's NFL Picks for Week 3

    NFL logo
    NFL

    B/R's NFL Picks for Week 3

    Brad Gagnon
    via Bleacher Report

    Foster: Steelers' Early-Season Drama 'Has to Die'

    NFL logo
    NFL

    Foster: Steelers' Early-Season Drama 'Has to Die'

    Alec Nathan
    via Bleacher Report

    Chiefs Star Has $41M Deal and a Medical Degree

    NFL logo
    NFL

    Chiefs Star Has $41M Deal and a Medical Degree

    David Gardner
    via Bleacher Report