AFC Championship: Surprise, Surprise! Patriots Advance to Super Bowl LII

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To the surprise of absolutely no one, the Patriots beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 24-20 to advance to Super Bowl LII. To the surprise of many, though, the Jags actually made this a game, and for long periods of time, made us feel like they had a chance.

But that was, of course, a mirage. The Patriots are the Patriots, and with the help of some favorable calls (*ahem*) and a great deal of experience at how to score when it matters, they will, once again, be the team representing the AFC in the Superbowl.

Question: Is there a way to avoid the Superbowl? Because I can’t think of a matchup that makes me less likely to watch than this one.

Early in the day, though, there was hope. Bortles looked, at times, if not like the guy who could single-handedly win this game by himself, at least like a guy who wasn’t about to throw this game, which to be honest, was way more than we expected from him after an up-and-down regular reason. In fact, if you add the level of play of Bortles to a defense that, at times, looked dominating, there’s no reason to think the Jags can’t be a contender for years to come.

Imagine that world. The Jaguars, a serious contender. We might have to reevaluate some things.

And yes, there might soon be a world where the New England Patriots aren’t perennial contenders, either. Tom Brady is not getting any younger, and though he seems to be ready to play two or three more years, Josh McDaniels, his darling of an offensive coordinator, seems set to be leaving for Indy (May the odds be ever in your favor, Colts. I say this as a Broncos fan), and though he seems to be in the age-defying business, not everyone else is.

That day, though, is not today, sadly. Today is the day for Patriots fans to celebrate the 10th Superbowl appearance in franchise history, and the 8th for both Bill Belichick and Tom Brady – and celebrate they will, especially considering they needed to overcome an 11-point first-half deficit, and do it against the top rated pass defense in the NFL.

How did they do it? The way they always do, with a little bit of help from the umpires (come on, that PI call that set up their first touchdown is questionable, at best) and some good, old-fashioned experience. The Jags seemed to fall prey to nerves when the game was on the line. The Patriots have been here before and they know how to handle these situations.

And that’s why we’ll see them play the Eagles in Superbowl LII. And hey, Eagles fans, I’m not saying keep a close eye on the umpires, but you know whose side they’re on. It’s not yours.

God, save me from this Superbowl.

Can it be February 5th already?

Superbowl LII will be played on Feburary 4th, 2018 AT 6:30 PM ET.

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