We’re down to four teams. We’re this close to the title game and all of the marbles, and yet so far for the clubs that aren’t prepared when they hit the field this Sunday. No surprise, the favorite remains the defending champs. But you might be surprised at who we have at number two through four!
1- (1) New England Patriots – As expected, the Pats remain the odds on favorites to take it all. But they still have to win two more games. Last week started slowly for this championship squad. They’ll be up against a far superior defense this time around. That said, the gap between New England and everyone else on this list is as large as it’s been all season.
2- (3) Minnesota Vikings – Yes, it took a miracle (or a defensive blunder, depends on how you look at it) for Minny to get to the NFC title game. But they’re here, and if the Saints had won I would have had them as the number two team on this list. The Vikings are a galvanized squad that has faced a lot of distractions and adversity this season. Add in the fact that they have the number one defense in the league and you can’t help but favor them over Philly on this list.
3- (8) Jacksonville Jaguars – I know, how can I put the Jags ahead of the Eagles on this list? Simple, Philly didn’t even score a touchdown last week! Jax has won a low-scoring game and a high scoring game so far in these playoffs. That shows versatility and adapting well to their opponents. Blake Bortles gets a lot of criticism, including from me. But you can’t take away his postseason wins. He’s won with his feet and he’s won with taking what the defense gives him. I’m not saying that the Jaguars can beat the Patriots. But I am saying that they are a quality football team.
4- (6) Philadelphia Eagles – Okay, let’s start with the positives. They played lights out defense against a tough opponent last week. They have home field advantage for this game versus Minnesota. But can they score against the league’s best D? I doubt it. This will be a tough game for the Eagles and Nick Foles. He performed well in the second half last week – but he couldn’t find the end zone!
Matthew Ross is a sports commentator and a radio host on TSN 690 Radio in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Follow him @MatthewWords.