The New England Patriots will host the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC Championship Game, while the Philadelphia Eagles will host the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Championship Game. The Divisional Round of the 2018 NFL Playoffs wrapped up on Sunday, with a pair of games that were much more entertaining than the two on Saturday.
In the first, the Jaguars took on the Pittsburgh Steelers in an offensive shootout that they won. The Jaguars, with Blake Bortles at quarterback, handled the Steelers, who spent the entire week talking trash and being hyped about playing the Patriots.
I like seeing the Steelers lose, so it was fun for me, and I enjoyed seeing all the Jaguars players rub it in. The Jaguars themselves rubbed it in on Twitter, and the Steelers are well and truly beaten. There were tough moments in the Pittsburgh locker room, and as my coworker James Dator points out, it’s pretty entertaining to see a wildly successful team that isn’t at all an underdog act like everything is against them.
The game between the Vikings and New Orleans Saints was something else. It was all Minnesota in the first half, but they started to let the Saints back into it, especially after some big injuries. The Saints came back from 17 points down and took the lead with three minutes remaining.
The Vikings then took the lead back with a long field goal. And in the process, they left far too much time on the clock because they elected to pass instead of run, and after Sean Payton had blown two Saints timeouts on challenges earlier in the second half. The Saints took the lead back, and didn’t let it go.... until they did!
Stefon Diggs caught a crazy touchdown pass as time expired, giving the Vikings a win.
One thing that was clear from the games? The officiating remained terrible. Bad calls were everywhere in both games, but especially in the second game of the day. Not only do we not know what a catch is, but referees don’t know what pass interference is. There was a glaring missed one committed by the Vikings in the first half, and two by the Saints in the second half.
The AFC Championship Game is set for 12:05 p.m. PT on Sunday, Jan. 21 on CBS. The NFC Championship Game is set for 3:40 p.m. PT on the same day, but on FOX.