compiled by Andrew Potter
Each Sunday, the FO staff sends around emails about the games that each of us are watching. We share information about the games that the rest of the group might not be watching, ask questions, and keep everyone else informed about which games they might want to tune into (if they can).
On Monday, we compile a digest of those emails and produce this feature. By its nature, it can be disjointed and dissimilar to the other articles on the site.
While these e-mails are generally written with Audibles in mind, they do not represent a standard review of all the games each week. That means we aren't going to cover every game, or every important play. We watch the games that we, as fans, are interested in watching, so your favorite team's game might not be covered to your fullest desires or even at all. (If you are a Steelers or Patriots fan, you are probably in luck; if you are a Browns fan, not so much.) We have no intention of adding new authors solely to cover every game on a given Sunday, nor will we watch a different game from the ones that we're personally interested in watching just to ensure that Audibles covers every game.
Jacksonville Jaguars 20 at New England Patriots 24
Andrew Potter: New England's opening drive is held to a red zone field goal, but if the Patriots can keep getting Brandin Cooks and Danny Amendola matched up against Telvin Smith this will be a long, long day for the Jaguars linebacker. We've seen a lot of talk this week about the Jaguars not having seen anybody who manipulates formations and matchups quite like Tom Brady, and that already showed up on a couple of plays early.
Aaron Schatz: Although the Jaguars didn't fall for "if we run base personnel, you have to have Paul Posluszny on the field." On second-and-9, they took him off despite the Pats having the 21 personnel.
Vince Verhei: Pats had nine plays on that opening drive, and zero runs out of the backfield. (Burkhead's carry was on a reverse.) This against the best pass defense in the league, but a below-average run defense.
Rivers McCown: If the Jags are able to keep running like they did in the first quarter, continually setting up Bortles with shorter third downs, I like their odds to keep this close.
Aaron Schatz: First quarter goes by super-fast, just a half-hour. Seems like Pats offense is trying to break everything wide, with three or four jet sweeps/end-arounds so far. Jags ran a ton on their first drive, passed more since, a lot of play-action bootlegs.
Andrew Potter: Nathaniel Hackett has called a superb game so far. Even on the two incompletions, his play design worked, but the quarterback's inaccuracy allowed beaten defenders to recover. The touchdown is the first time I've noticed the Patriots defenders on the broadcast feed actually bite hard on the play-action -- their other play-action plays have worked, but not necessarily because the play fake has dragged defenders out of position.
Scott Kacsmar: Chris Ivory is a healthy scratch again, right? Props to the Jaguars for breaking out Corey Grant today. He only had 41 receiving yards in the regular season and he already has 44 today. Good way to use a speed back for a change of pace from Leonard Fournette.
Aaron Schatz: Also, very little pressure from the Patriots on Blake Bortles so far, and the Patriots offense is 0-for-4 on third downs.
On top of everything else, Jags' kickoffs are much better today than they usually were during the season. Nullifies a Pats field position advantage.
Carl Yedor: To add to Aaron's point from earlier, the Jags are currently 3-for-4 on third downs. I highly doubt that both of those rates will hold for the rest of the game.
Rivers McCown: On the sack Brady just took with about six minutes left in the second quarter, he looked like he was actually anticipating the pressure.
That was so, so profoundly weird.
Dave Bernreuther: He was expecting it, Rivers, and tightly grasping the ball with two hands while moving in the pocket, which made it look even weirder. Smart, of course, but different.
Aaron Schatz: Patriots just had to punt yet again. I'm a little surprised at the lack of an attempt at a running game. There was all the wide stuff early and a couple of runs up the middle to Dion Lewis, but otherwise they're just passing over and over, which lets the Jaguars go after Brady non-stop.
Bryan Knowles: Brady's getting hit over and over. That's what you want when you're nursing an injured thumb, right?
Vince Verhei: It's not just Brady. Jacksonville's secondary is laying the wood to receivers. The front is knocking Patriots linemen on their ass. Jacksonville's blockers are putting Patriots defenders on the turf, especially on the screens. It's been a while since I've seen one team just lay a physical beating on another like this.
Tom Gower: Through the touchdown drive that made it 14-3, the Jaguars have thrown 12 passes and run the ball nine times on first and second downs, or 57 percent pass. That's a pretty pass-focused game plan from a team that mostly spent early downs running the ball (they were something like 60 percent run in the first three quarters when I ran the numbers in like Week 11). That's in sharp contrast to Tennessee, who was about as equally run-heavy in the regular season and was very run-heavy until they started throwing the ball on early downs in the third quarter, after going down a couple touchdowns.
Dave Bernreuther: The Jags continue their third-down streak, converting a third-and-9 and then a third-and-7 to Marcedes Lewis ... only to be flagged for delay of game. Right outside field goal range and with 2:20 to go, that's just huge, especially when Bortles takes a sack on the next play. Could be a game changer if instead of ending the half, scoring points, and possibly getting a double possession, the Jags allow a drive for points here to close the half.
Aaron Schatz: Gronk just took a massive head-to-head hit from Barry Church, which led to a 15-yard penalty, and Gronk looks really woozy. He may not be coming back. Jags followed it up with a big DPI that puts the Pats in the red zone.
Rivers McCown: The pass interference on A.J. Bouye was a horrific, game-changing call on an uncatchable ball.
Andrew Potter: I will never understand why two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties merit an ejection, but a blatant helmet-to-helmet shot on the other team's best receiver doesn't. No excuses for Barry Church there, it's not like some of those fouls where the receiver ducks or falls into the hit. Church went high and hit Rob Gronkowski high, and for the second time in the AFC playoffs a critical moment of the first half may well be a concussion to one of the game's top two tight ends.
Bryan Knowles: That's a major problem the NFL has with their penalties/concussion protocol. It's just not a severe enough penalty for a dangerous play. A 15-yard penalty in exchange for (possibly) removing Gronk from the game? From a purely in-game perspective (as opposed to a "don't injure other human beings" perspective), that's an easy trade.
We'll see if the NFL implements targeting rules this offseason, which are an imperfect solution but probably an improvement. Not saying that particular hit was targeting (which is one of the problems!), but it feels like they need to make the penalty for dangerous hits harsher.
Vince Verhei: I'm kind of stunned people are upset about the Church penalty. He led with his helmet, and hit Gronk in the helmet. That is a textbook penalty and needs to be called every time. And for those saying "What's he supposed to do, hit Gronk in the knees?" -- there's, like, 4 feet of human being in between those two spots. Go for the shoulder or hips.
Dave Bernreuther: The Jaguars committed half a dozen worse infractions last week in Pittsburgh than that one that gifted the Pats a first-and-goal.
They have nobody to blame but themselves, though. Procedure penalties are inexcusable. You can't snap the ball late on a third-and-7.
The Pats just scored a touchdown from the 15 in about 55 seconds, so the Jags, from the 25 and :55 left ... kneel?
Great effort, guys.
Aaron Schatz: I feel like the "uncatchable" clause in DPI has gradually disappeared from the entire NFL, whether it's the Patriots or any other team. How many times has one of us made that same comment this year?
Bryan Knowles: The Jags situational football was very poor at the end of the first half -- punting before the two-minute warning, the delay of game coming out of the timeout, etc. You leave little cracks like that open, and the Patriots will slide right through. They score a touchdown very quickly, and this thing feels a lot more competitive than it did half an hour ago.
Tom Gower: "Uncatchable" is normally called pretty loosely, and should be. Cooks is fast. Without any restriction by Bouye (and he got his hands up on him downfield, that's a good marker), he can cover a lot of ground.
Pretty clean game by the Jaguars ... until they went illegal shift and then delay of game, holding, Church helmet-to-helmet, and then the DPI call in 61 seconds of game time (for the last four, from 2:23 to 1:23).
In a different situation, I'd be really annoyed at the Jaguars for just taking knees after being pulled back to 14-10. But after the penalty sequence, getting the second-half kickoff, with Bortles, still leading, I don't mind it. Get re-settled, come out to start the second half, go back to throwing on early downs unlike what they did the series after my earlier email when they just ran, ran, and ran, and play football again.
Scott Kacsmar: A lot can happen in the second half, but I have to think we'll be talking about the Jaguars' poor management of the last 2:30. You can't come out of a timeout and not be ready to snap the ball on a third-and-7. That wiped out a huge conversion to Lewis. Then to punt before the two-minute warning was really bad. It's one thing not to let the clock run down, but they could have snapped it at like 2:07 to use up the stoppage, but didn't even do that. Very poor clock management. The Gronk hit was easily a flag, but the Jaguars have been hitting hard all day and it's having an impact. I didn't like the DPI call at all. You had two guys fighting down the sideline on a ball that was ahead of them. Just let that one go. Pretty predictable touchdown answer by New England. With 55 seconds and two timeouts left, I don't see how Marrone can defend two kneeldowns. At least give Fournette a carry or go shotgun draw or something to see what happens. I understand getting the ball first in the third quarter and not wanting to force something before the half, but you can't just kneel twice there.
Lots of good stuff from the Jaguars that half, but they showed their inexperience with those last few minutes.
Derrik Klassen: Surrendering a possession at the end of the half like that did not feel like the right move. Jacksonville does have a slow, boring offense, but to not even try to get at least three points there, is weird.
Aaron Schatz: Pats have to do something about the Jaguars leaking out blockers after play-action. It is KILLING them. Another big pass to start the second half, to Tommy Bohanon.
Tom Gower: Good pass by Bortles, but Yeldon had to beat Marquis Flowers in coverage (not too hard with natural leverage of route) and then Kyle Van Noy waiting at the sticks to tackle him short of them. And, like he did against Fournette on the second touchdown, Van Noy lost that matchup.
Andrew Potter: That huge Brandin Cooks drop came after he had beaten Telvin Smith in coverage again. I like Telvin Smith a lot, but this defense puts Smith in those spots too often. Letting him be matched with a slot receiver like Danny Amendola is one thing, but with Gronkowski still off the field (and probably done for the day at this point) Cooks is New England's No. 1 receiver.
Aaron Schatz: Note that the Jacksonville offense is almost entirely on the right side of the field so far, for two reasons. 1) Stephon Gilmore. 2) Bortles is running so many bootlegs, and he's right-handed.
yup. two passes, both incomplete, to the left so far pic.twitter.com/wL0VKnz334
— Dan Pizzuta (@DanPizzuta) January 21, 2018
Vince Verhei: Jaguars get a field goal to go up 20-10 on one of the best drives of Bortles' career. He wasn't just chucking bombs or making one-read throws off play-action, he was scanning the field and going through progressions and making good decisions on the run. The flea flicker was a great example -- the deep throws weren't there and there was pressure off the edge right away, but he didn't panic, he just ran to the open space to his right. And even then, when he had space to run, he kept his eyes upfield and found a receiver for the first down.
Bryan Knowles: Feels like New England needs a counterpunch here. Game's far from over, but it feels like Jacksonville is beating them every which way at the moment. Play-action and a deep crosser -- like on the drop by Cooks -- would be great.
And then, woah! New England busts out some great trickeration, double-pass for a huge gain -- but Myles Jack strips the ball! HUGE play!
Bookmark that Jack fumble review for whenever someone complains that the Patriots get all the calls, especially in key situations. It was the right call, I think, but it's the kind of play that would have been overturned to a Patriots ball if the Vast Patriots Conspiracy was, y'know, an actual thing.
Dave Bernreuther: Bryan is right, but I won't lie: I was still expecting them to somehow give the Pats the ball back.
It's too loud here for me to have heard any explanation for why they actually got the call right on the field but still blew the play dead. Seemed to me like he should've been free to run after the recovery.
Bryan Knowles: I think Jack and Lewis were contacting each other on the ground, making Jack down by contact at the spot he recovered the ball.
Andrew Potter: Whisper it, but they didn't make that call (fumble, recovered by Jacksonville) in the moment. They only made that call after "conferring" (i.e., after they realized that Lewis might have lost the ball). If they had made that call in the moment, you're right, Jack would have been free to run.
Rivers McCown: If the Jags lose this game, that fourth-and-1 punt in Pats territory will haunt them.
Aaron Schatz: Brady moved the ball down the field easily on the next drive, making it 20-17, 8:44 left. A lot of this game has gone against the way the matchups looked coming in. Not only are the Pats not running the ball well against the below-average Jaguars defense, they are passing the ball outside the numbers all afternoon long even though the strength of the Jaguars defense is the pass rush and the outside cornerbacks. Brandin Cooks over 100 yards at this point. Phillip Dorsett had a huge contested catch on the scoring drive.
Bryan Knowles: The Pats go right back to their bag of tricks, with a flea flicker as a key part of an 85-yard drive, and we have a three-point game.
We've seen this story before. Feels like the Jaguars need a touchdown, despite having the ball and the lead.
Aaron Schatz: When I talk about how the game has gone against the way the matchups looked, I'll add that the Jaguars haven't gotten a lot of their passing yardage in the short middle of the field the way I expected.
Dave Bernreuther: Neither of the Jags' fraidy-cat punts have even been any good either. Fair caught at the 15 isn't all that good from midfield, and both times, the Pats calmly marched down the field.
At least that time they did it without flags helping.
It's the fourth quarter and the Jaguars have the lead and the ball. Which team do you think is nervous right now?
Great decision to bring that kick out of the end zone...
Bryan Knowles: The Jaguars had only 12 drives all season of 5:53 or longer. That drive lasted 43 seconds. And now the Pats are basically in field goal range, thanks to that special-teams advantage.
Oh boy oh boy.
Bryan Knowles: I'm surprised Jacksonville's not using some timeouts here. Save some time for the ensuing drive.
...Well, that's moot now that New England scores, but they could have had 3:30 and not 2:48. Because now they need to score. Because the Patriots have the lead, and we've all seen this movie.
Aaron Schatz: A reminder that in two Super Bowls this movie ended with the Patriots giving up a go-ahead touchdown. It's not over yet!
Vince Verhei: After that punt and big Amendola return, the Jaguars are averaging 38.3 net yards on six punts. The deepest of those pinned New England at the 14.
Patriots are averaging 41.7 net yards on six punts, with three downed at or inside the 10.
Dave Bernreuther: It's OK, Pats haters. Surely you can count on Blake Bortles here, down four to the Belichick Pats in New England with the Super Bowl on the line.
Dave Bernreuther: At the two-minute warning I just now finally realized that Bortles hasn't taken off running even one single time in this game. Given his history, that's quite surprising. Yes, he has been pretty good this game (still inaccurate at times, but less so than usual), but there was some merit to that idea that he should take off by design a few times. Despite being on the move repeatedly in bootlegs, he hasn't.
Bryan Knowles: Patriots are doing a great job taking that away from him. He hasn't really had room.
Aaron Schatz: Marquis Flowers is usually mush-rushing and then dropping back into a spy position.
Dave Bernreuther: Aaron, I'd say Gilmore made up for it on that fourth-down play. Wow.
Bryan Knowles: Incredible play by Gilmore, knocking away the fourth-down pass. It was there -- it was a good throw to a decently open receiver; Gilmore just made an amazing play.
The Jags have all their timeouts, but that felt like it was it.
It turns out, it was it. The New England Patriots go to the Super Bowl. Again.
Andrew Potter: The rematch to this game in Jacksonville next year is going to be quite something.
Dave Bernreuther: The end of the first half looms large, as did experience, I think. Even with a two-score lead in the fourth quarter, you never got the sense that the Jaguars wanted to do anything besides speed up the game clock. Meanwhile, the other sideline knew better than to do anything differently at all.
Credit to Bortles: he wasn't Brady, but he wasn't bad either. As Vince said, he took what was there, didn't take risks, kept his eyes up, and made some plays. If that one great Gilmore play goes differently, we could've even been looking at a Jaguars Super Bowl week.
I can't help but wonder if these last three games tilt the scales in favor of paying Bortles. The AFC was weak, but they were that close. I can't imagine they cut him after this month, which makes a year-to-year Cousins-like situation possible. I guess as a Colts fan that's reason for optimism.
Tom Gower: Jacksonville Jaguars first downs, from going up 14-3 until they trailed at 24-20: 12 carries, 30 yards (8 percent success rate), Bortles 1-of-3, 15 yards (the flea flicker). Outside one 14-yard Leonard Fournette run, they were in second-and-7 or worse EVERY SINGLE DRIVE. Credit to the Patriots defense, but (a) 80 percent run is pretty extreme and (b) the Jaguars got their 11-point lead by passing early and often. The Jaguars got the level of Blake Bortles they needed to win the game, and didn't take advantage of it. Exasperating, but unsurprising.
New England's offense ... they're going to move the ball. Brady is good at moving in the pocket. Dante Scarnecchia is a wizard. Jacksonville isn't a complicated enough defense to make it hard for a great quarterback like Brady. Sooner or later he'll find the right throw or move or beat a linebacker. Them scoring felt inevitable, the only surprise was it took them as long as it did.
Vince Verhei: From the point they went up 20-10 to the point the Patriots took the lead, the Jaguars had four first-down plays: run for 2, run for 1, run for 1, run for -1. That's how you run yourself into a blown lead.
And then you go back to the end of the half, when they kneeled out with 55 seconds and two timeouts left. The unfortunate fact is, Jacksonville had a great defense this year, but this was not a good offense and they had no faith in their quarterback. They put everything -- EVERYTHING -- on their defense to win, against the best playoff quarterback the league has ever seen. That's an awful, awful lot to ask of any defense.
Aaron Schatz: Corey Grant had one carry and no targets in the second half. Did the Jaguars decide they had used their one big change-up against the Patriots' run-stopping heavy fronts, and they couldn't use it again?
Rivers McCown: Blake Bortles had two scramble-drill plays where he immediately got it down the field, and then the Jags started coaching again and got stomped.
I know this will never happen but I almost want to watch Bortles play uncoached to see what happens.
Anyway, congrats to the Patriots, the boring chalk that did not yield in the face of the Rob Gronkowski injury.
Minnesota Vikings 7 at Philadelphia Eagles 38
Bryan Knowles: Case Keenum and the Vikings march right down the field and punch the Eagles in the mouth. Philly's defense looked totally discombobulated on the touchdown, with no one covering Zach Rudolph and a linebacker covering Stefon Diggs -- probably a result of all the no-huddle and uptempo stuff the Vikings did on that drive. Very much a "try to keep up, Foles" kind of drive.
Aaron Schatz: LOL. Kyle Rudolph. :)
Bryan Knowles: Kyle Rudolph, Zach Rudolph, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer -- all of 'em would have been wide open on that play.
Dave Bernreuther: I like to think an Eagles linebacker could've at least covered Rudolph Giuliani.
Vince Verhei: I bet Rudolf Nureyev running corner routes would have been fun.
Welp, there's pre-2017 Case Keenum, throwing a pick right to Patrick Robinson, who makes a great return for a 50-yard touchdown. They're trying to say Keenum was hit on the throw, but regardless, there were two Vikings and four Eagles in that area, and nothing good was going to happen for Minnesota.
Aaron Schatz: Bad throw by Keenum turns into a pick-six. Bad, bad, bad. I mean, Chris Long made contact which is part of why it was thrown short but the receiver looked very clearly covered with defenders in front of him and to the side of him. 7-7.
Vince Verhei: First quarter ends with the Eagles driving. Lots of RPOs leading to lots of easy completions on slant routes for Foles.
LeGarrette Blount runs over Andrew Sendejo for an 11-yard touchdown. Biggest key is that the Zach Ertz converted a pair of third downs on the drive -- a third-and-10 on a dig route, and then a third-and-1 on a wheel. Saints only converted two third downs in the entire game against Minnesota last week.
Scott Kacsmar: Can really feel this one turn on the pick-six. Vikings look rattled on offense and the Eagles had a lot of easy plays right down the middle of the field on their touchdown drive.
Aaron Schatz: Eagles bringing lots of pressure. Vikings finally turn it against them with a nice screen to Jerick McKinnon. We'll see if there's more like that on the way.
I'm going to have to pass on the Vikings blocking scheme where the tight end (playing fullback) has to come all the way over from being offset on the other side of the formation to block the speed-rushing defensive end. I can't believe that didn't get blown up in practice. Strip-sack, Derek Barnett.
Xavier Rhodes comes off the field on third-and-10 for some reason, not sure yet why or if it was an injury, and on that play, Terence Newman is matched up with Alshon Jeffrey and Jeffrey just TOASTS him with a double move and a 57-yard touchdown to make it 21-7.
Ah, apparently, they were looking at Rhodes' foot for a possible injury.
Vince Verhei: 53-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Alshon Jeffery on third-and-10. Eagles now 5-for-7 on third downs against the best third-down defense we've ever seen. This is nuts.
Jaguars: Get ball at own 25 with 55 seconds left in half, take knees. Eagles: Get ball at own 20 with 29 seconds left in half, score field goal.
Tom Gower: Halftime, 24-7. For much of the year, the Eagles looked like the best team in the NFL because any time they got to third-and-long, Carson Wentz made a big play to continue the drive and eventually put points on the board. The first 30 minutes of this game, against one of the best defenses we've ever seen on third down, Nick freakin' Foles has done the same.
Minnesota's offense reminds me of Los Angeles at Minnesota: a great first drive and not much sustained offense since then.
Carl Yedor: Consider me very surprised that the Eagles have hung 24 points on the Vikings in the first half. Granted, seven of those were directly from the defense, but after how Minnesota looked last week (and all season, really), this is a big change. Minnesota has had some strong moments and started off sharply with a touchdown on their opening drive and a quick punt forced, but since the pick-six, it's been all Philly.
Bryan Knowles: I thought the Eagles could win this game, and I thought people were underestimating the possibility of Nick Foles looking better than he has this year so far.
I did not think the Eagles were going to a three-score lead in the first half against the No. 2 DVOA defense and No. 1 DVOA quarterback of 2017. This has the possibility to turn into a huge beatdown, but there's no way they can keep up a 5-for-7 rate on third down against these guys ... right?
I think the Vikings have to go back to Latavius Murray on the ground; they had 33 yards in the first quarter, but only 11 in the second. Just one carry for Murray in that second quarter.
Andrew Potter: I don't know whether the Eagles spotted tendencies on film and are going against them, or whether the Vikings safeties just chose a heck of a time to have their worst game of the season, but Andrew Sendejo (who did, of course, injure his brain last week) has been beaten again and again by the Eagles tight ends and Harrison Smith was just whipped by Zach Ertz on a sideline out-and-up in the two-minute drill. I was prepared for most of what I've seen in this first half, but I did not have Nick Foles dominating the Vikings secondary throughout the second quarter.
Aaron Schatz: Harrison Smith is not shining with glory today. Zach Ertz is 5-for-5, 76 yards. Beat Smith with a double move on that last drive of the half. So much for the Vikings being No. 2 in DVOA against tight ends. The Vikings also are really missing Xavier Rhodes, who hasn't come back since that foot injury.
Dave Bernreuther: Hearty thanks to Doug Pederson for further highlighting Marrone's decision earlier today.
It's just inexcusable. You're underdogs in the NFL against the juggernaut. you have to try to score to win.
Tom Gower: Down 17, with the Eagles getting the second-half kick, does Mike Zimmer switch to Sam Bradford? I'm at least seriously thinking about the possibility. Neither turnover was completely Keenum's fault, and I don't know how Bradford's knee would take this pressure, but you need a spark and you're in a bad situation already.
Aaron Schatz: Keenum got you here. I think you stick with him. Your bigger problems are the defense (surprising) and the offensive line.
Scott Kacsmar: I don't think turning to Bradford would be crazy, but the Vikings seem to have way more issues today than the play of the quarterback. A lot of these plays Keenum was trying just weren't designed well to do any damage. Third down is also killing this team after owning it all year. The Eagles are 5-of-7 on offense, and the pick-six was a third-down killer for the Vikings. Also, I thought taking a knee was a fine decision for the Eagles with a 14-point lead and getting the ball first. However, they were aggressive in their own end and tried a safe pass that got the drive off to a good start. That's all I wanted to see Jacksonville try earlier today with over 50 seconds left. Huge failure by Marrone in that case, and good on Pederson for going for more points there. Foles looks just fine.
Wow, this graphic from ESPN says it all about how bad that half was for Minnesota. Doing things it never did all year
This was a very unusual first half for the Vikings.
And not in a good way ... pic.twitter.com/ddJ6kPvahM
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 22, 2018
Bryan Knowles: Things have not gotten better.
Flea flicker, touchdown, and I think we can start thinking about an Eagles-Patriots Super Bowl.
Dave Bernreuther: So many flea flickers today!
Trae Waynes got beat, Harrison Smith couldn't get there quite fast enough, and this one is a rout. The Vikings' wide receivers' faces said it all. The Eagles' double possession, and 17 quick ones, has buried them.
Scott Kacsmar: To think it was once 7-0 and Minnesota had the ball. Crushing stat for Vikings fans from Josh Dubow. We haven't seen a scoring run like this in a conference championship game since the Vikings were smoked 41-0 by the 2000 Giants.
Eagles have scored 31 straight points. Last team to score more in a row in conference title game was Giants in 41-0 win over Vikings 1/14/01
— Josh Dubow (@JoshDubowAP) January 22, 2018
Vince Verhei: So that's a combined margin of 72-7 and counting ... against Kerry Collins and Nick Foles (with a 31-28 overtime loss to Drew Brees in the middle).
Scott Kacsmar: Vikings only allowed six third-down conversions in one game all season, and still held Baltimore to 6-of-16 that day. The Eagles are 8-of-10 on third down today. This is nuts.
Yet another touchdown for the Eagles. We said someone would have to Jeff Hostetler their way into this Super Bowl, and that leaves a fascinating stat. Foles' playoff passer rating is up to 116.5 in his three starts. That's the highest in NFL history for anyone with at least 75 attempts. The second highest is Hostetler at 112.0.
Tom Gower: Thirty-eight points in a row, with the touchdown coming on yet another third-down conversion. Total annihilation of a great defense.
Bryan Knowles: If this Foles and these Eagles show up in two weeks, that's gonna be a real fun Super Bowl. Fingers crossed.
Vince Verhei: Hey, if it's THIS Foles and THESE Eagles, they win by two touchdowns.
Rivers McCown: I think this week accentuated, as a whole, how much more important coaching is than the talent of your quarterback. Jacksonville had an uneven game after a great start and it cost them. Minnesota didn't seem to have a counter to the way the Eagles are playing them. Philadelphia let Nick Foles go deep and didn't get suckered into using a baby game plan, and it paid off for them.
Aaron Schatz: That's the thing about Any Given Sunday. It's just as likely to be these Eagles as it is to be the team that almost lost to Oakland. Most likely it will be something in the middle. Which is better for the defense than the offense.
Vince Verhei: It's 38-7 with less than nine minutes to go. At this point shouldn't both teams put in backup quarterbacks? Philadelphia to make sure Foles doesn't get hurt before the Super Bowl? Minnesota to reward Sam Bradford for all he has done just to get back to this point?
(Look, I'm reaching for stuff to talk about here.)
Tom Gower: (We sent maybe one email during the second half of Titans-Patriots. That game was closer than this one.)
Bryan Knowles: I'm now biting my fingernails, because Andrew and I are on different sides of a 3.5-interception bet for Lock of the Week for all four quarterbacks combined. Keenum's interception right there makes it two, so I've just got to dodge two bad Hail Marys the rest of the way.
That's about as close as I can get to interesting right now. That, and to mention that the Super Bowl line opens up New England -5.5.