Coming off one of the most miraculous plays to win a football game possibly in NFL history, the Minnesota Vikings will try and complete another feat never reached in the league. If the squad defeats the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday in the NFC Championship game they will become the first team to play in the Super Bowl in their home stadium.
Odds makers believe Minnesota can do it. They opened at most sports books as a 3 ˝-point favorite and as of Thursday were still three points at most facilities. The over-under on the game began at 38 ˝ and only moved down to 38 at a couple of places.
In the AFC Championship game those that set the lines are still riding the New England Patriots. They are hosting the Jacksonville Jaguars and are a 9-point favorite. Some places have dropped them to 8 ˝ after news of quarterback Tom Brady experiencing a hand injury. The over-under on the game has moved as well. It began as 47 ˝ and has dropped anywhere from 46 ˝ to 46.
Philadelphia Gets Motivation
For the second consecutive game the Eagles are getting points against a playoff opponent despite being the host. Last Saturday they faced Atlanta and for the first time in playoff history since the addition of the Wild Card game a No. 1 seed was not the favorite at home.
Getting 2 ˝ points didn’t seem to bother Philadelphia as they dispatched the Falcons, 15-10 in the NFC Divisional Playoff game. The Eagles are 4-0 when the underdog at home.
Many wonder whether Minnesota has run out of miracles. They built up a 17-0 halftime lead against the New Orleans Saints in the other divisional playoff game and then let Drew Brees mount a comeback that almost eliminated them. If the team gets a lead, however, they are unbeatable. They are 29-0 when they have a lead of 10 or more points.
Jaguars Believe They can Accomplish Unthinkable
New England has been almost untouchable at Gillette Stadium in the playoffs. The last time the Patriots lost hosting a playoff game was in 2012 in the conference championship to the Baltimore Ravens. They are now 17-2 at home in the postseason since 2002.
The Jaguars can take solace in the fact that they were one of the few teams that went on the road and beat New England. They defeated the Patriots in 1999, but Brady wasn’t on the team and Bill Belichick wasn’t yet the coach. This year they do have the best defense of the four remaining teams and will need it to stop New England’s No. 2 ranked offense.
The line had dropped a half-point because of the news that Brady reportedly had an injury to his hand. This could be a case of the team floating a story and the injury isn’t as serious as some might believe. Remember a week ago an ESPN story came out talking about the contention between owner Robert Kraft, Belichick and Brady. That didn’t seem to bother the team at all as they rolled over Tennessee, 35-14.