X

NFL Playoff Schedule 2018: TV Guide, Live Stream Coverage Info for Sunday

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJanuary 20, 2018

JACKSONVILLE, FL - DECEMBER 17:   Jalen Ramsey #20 of the Jacksonville Jaguars celebrates a play during the second half of their game against the Houston Texans at EverBank Field on December 17, 2017 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Logan Bowles/Getty Images)
Logan Bowles/Getty Images

By the time the dust settles at Gillette Stadium and Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday, the matchup for Super Bowl 52 will be set. 

But in the hours before the first kickoff in Foxborough, Massachusetts, on Sunday, we'll have plenty of time to worry about the hand of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady

While everyone has focused intently on the well-being of the 40-year-old quarterback, all four teams left in the NFL postseason have been busy putting the final details together on what they hope is a conference championship-winning game plan. 

The AFC Championship has a clear favorite in the Patriots as they go up against the Jacksonville Jaguars, while the NFC Championship between the Philadelphia Eagles and Minnesota Vikings is expected to be a tight affair. 

         

Championship Weekend Schedule

AFC (Jaguars at Patriots) 

Start Time: 3:05 p.m. ET

TV: CBS

Live Stream: CBS Sports App 

     

NFC (Vikings at Eagles) 

Start Time: 6:45 p.m. ET

TV: Fox

Live Stream: Fox Sports Go 

      

Brady Officially Questionable

If you haven't heard by now, "handgate" has taken over the Patriots complex this weekend as Bill Belichick and Co. prepare for their seventh consecutive AFC Championship.

Steven Senne/Associated Press

Brady addressed the media on Friday but refused to reveal any information about his right hand that was injured in practice on Wednesday after an accidental collision with a teammate. 

"I'm not talking about that," Brady said, per Mike Reiss of ESPN.com

As if there were any doubts that Brady would play on Sunday, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport provided some extra information that the quarterback looked fine in practice. 

Although we don't know how severe Brady's injury is, this is most likely a knock that is getting too much attention because of the stature of the player and his team. 

         

Ramsey Flowing with Confidence

Jaguars corner Jalen Ramsey was not willing to shy away from the microphone when addressing a crowd at EverBank Field after the divisional-round win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. 

The now popular rant (NSFW) emphasized by the profanity at the end displayed how pumped up Ramsey and the rest of the Jaguars are for the AFC Championship.

Ramsey hasn't backed down from his statement and has even doubled down on his confidence when talking about covering Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski.

JACKSONVILLE, FL - DECEMBER 10:  Jalen Ramsey #20 of the Jacksonville Jaguars celebrates after an interception during the first half of their game against the Seattle Seahawks at EverBank Field on December 10, 2017 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

"He hasn't played a corner like me before," Ramsey said, per John Reid of the Florida Times-Union

While some teams may see the comments as a distraction, the Jaguars are embracing his bold comments, including his defensive back mate A.J. Bouye.

"We just let Jalen do it," Bouye said, per Reid. "He's the face. He's confident, but he backs it up. We all back it up. I think he said it (Super Bowl guarantee) because everybody is still doubting us, but we are still going to keep having confidence in ourselves." 

       

Eagles Hoping to Contain Griffen 

The second of the two championship bouts is expected to be a defensive struggle, and in order for the Eagles to come out on top, they must contain Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen.

Griffen will be matched up against Eagles right tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai, who is seen as a weak link on an Eagles offensive line that is anchored by star left tackle Lane Johnson. 

PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 25: Bruce Irvin #51 of the Oakland Raiders rushes the passer against Halapoulivaati Vaitai #72 of the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on December 25, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Ge
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Vaitai's showdown with Griffen will be a difficult one for the right tackle, but he has the full confidence of his fellow linemen. 

"But V is big and strong, too. He might not have as much experience as Griffen, but he's got a lot more experience than a lot of guys his age. He's up to the challenge. He's obviously not Jason Peters. But he's doing a damn good job as far as holding down that side," Eagles guard Brandon Brooks said, per Paul Domowitch of the Philadelphia Inquirer

Griffen, an eighth-year pro out of USC, doesn't have to record a sack or tackle on Sunday night, but he will be able to disrupt the Eagles rhythm in the backfield and force tackles for loss and sacks by his teammates.

If the Eagles limit the threat of Griffen, they should be able to find success on the ground and give quarterback Nick Foles time in the pocket. 

      

Vikings Expecting Physical Game

In order to play in the Super Bowl in their home stadium, the Vikings have to conquer the behemoths on the Eagles defensive line.

Vikings running back Latavius Murray knows establishing a running game won't be easy, and he's expecting a physical challenge from the Eagles, as he noted to Good Morning Football on NFL Network

"They're definitely stout. They play hard. They're physical. That's why I say it's going to be a physical game. It's going to be up to us to be efficient and stay on schedule and run the ball efficiently," Murray said in the interview.

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JANUARY 14: Latavius Murray #25 of the Minnesota Vikings carries the ball against the New Orleans Saints during the second half of the NFC Divisional Playoff game on January 14, 2018 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Murray only averaged 2.6 yards per carry in the divisional-round victory over the New Orleans Saints, but he had successful outings in the regular season against a pair of playoff teams. Murray ran for 95 yards against the Los Angeles Rams on November 19 and earned 76 yards on the ground in the December 3 win over the Atlanta Falcons. 

If the Vikings are to be successful on Sunday, they'll have to count on Murray and Jerick McKinnon to pick up at least three or four yards per carry against the top rushing defense in the NFL. 

       

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

Statistics obtained from ESPN.com.

🚨 SPORTS NEWS ➡️ YOUR INBOX

The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.