NFL Playoffs Continue to Surprise Fans in Conference Semi-Finals


Cooper Lockett, Co-Sports Editor

The 2017 NFL season was beset with protests, boycotts, injuries to star players and referees forgetting what a catch was. So naturally, the postseason should have had some surprises in store, and indeed it did.

Pre-season anyone who mentioned the Jacksonville Jaguars or the Buffalo Bills and the playoffs in the same sentence would have been mocked and laughed at. But here we are, and the Jags and the Bills both made the playoffs. The Jags won the game and headed on to Pittsburgh where they had no chance against Big Ben, Antonio Brown, and Le’veon Bell. Right? Wrong, The Jags rolled into Pittsburg and escaped with a win.

Rolling over to the NFC, could there be more drama? Matt Ryan missing Julio Jones on fourth and ball game vs. the Philadelphia Eagles.

And the miracle at U.S Bank Stadium: it will go down as one of the most memorable plays in the history of the league.

Case Keenum fired a prayer to wide receiver Stefon Diggs, who was running an outside seven route in a desperate attempt to get in field goal range. Saints safety Marcus Williams saw the play develop and had two options: play textbook hail mary defense, let Diggs catch the ball and make the tackle, or push him out of bounds — or he could go for the aggressive play. He made a fatal flaw; he tried to jump the route. He dove low and missed Diggs. Diggs put one foot down, then the other, then he turned and saw no one in front of him and the rest is history. He took it to the end zone and knocked Drew Brees and his Saints out of the playoffs.

This has all happened in the past two weeks, and we’ve got three games to go.
The Vikings clash with the Eagles and the Jags head to Foxborough to take on Tom Brady’s Patriots. Both are intriguing matchups. Philadelphia was having a dream season, but then their star second-year qb Carson Wentz went out with a torn ACL. Backup qb Nick Foles has got them this far. The Vikings are also playing with backup qb Case Keenum. It’s an interesting matchup, but Minnesota’s defense will carry them past the Eagles and they will host Super Bowl 52 in the Vikings’ own stadium.

The Jags are no joke, but you need a great qb to be successful against the Patriots and Blake Bortles is no superstar. Jacksonville has a great defense and the game will be close, but the Pats will prevail in a close one.