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Football Fantasy! Conference championships clamp down on NFL miracles and the presumptive favorite

With little left to feel good about in the football season, we take our pick among the surviving storylines before Super Bowl LII

Minnesota Vikings v Philadelphia Eagles

Note: If you came looking for fantasy football recommendations, I don’t have anything for you. This season, Football Fantasy! here at Field Gulls will offer a recurring daydream considering the weekly football schedule from a perspective of entertaining narratives and wished-for results across the non-Seattle Seahawks landscape. Here, we welcome storylines and silliness to topple other interests from week to week as we deliver the lowdown on the rest of the league from the land of make believe. For more detailed explanation of the picks, look here.

I’ll be honest: I’m not happy with this lot.

When three of the four teams I disliked in the last round advance to the conference championship games it doesn’t leave a lot to desire going forward. And though the team I chose who won, the Jacksonville Jaguars, has been a favorite in these parts for their audacious defense and devotion to physical, bombastic football, it’s not as if I am really eager for the Jaguars to reach a level with the Seahawks in the pantheon of teams with a single Super Bowl victory.

So it’s hold your nose time, and maybe grab your ankles as well.

Jacksonville Jaguars at New England Patriots

The unpleasant alternative to Jacksonville in the AFC is the most despised team in the land, you know, for whom a tenth Super Bowl appearance would be a record. Back at the end of 2014 I was truly expecting Seattle to knock New England out of its dynasty period for good, but the world has spun another way and now the Patriots are on the verge of clogging up our offseason with Tom Brady’s hair for the third time in four years—again. It’s a real bummer and if New England wins this week, its challenger will be either a team that has only scored touchdowns on seven percent of its drives the last three games, or the club that hosts Super Bowl LII’s home stadium.

My choice: Jaguars

Sharp pick: Jacksonville (+8.5)

Minnesota Vikings at Philadelphia Eagles

Why is that latter bit a problem? I don’t know. I guess it’s time to grow up and accept that after 50 some odd rolls of the die some team will get to have homefield advantage in the climactic game of the NFL season. It was bound to happen eventually, and Minneapolis is far more desirable than it turning up in some year when the Dallas Cowboys or San Francisco 49ers or chance forbid the Los Angeles Rams are in the mix. But it’s something I’ve always cheered against as long as preseason touts raise their eyebrows with the suggestion that some team has the chance.

As I’ve said many many times before on this page, we don’t have to make sense here. Speaking of giggling tangents, doesn’t this tweet look like subheadline from Football Fantasy!?

Beside, what would be more Vikings than experiencing that “Seven Heaven” moment (also known as “The Burning of Djallen”) in the divisional round only to choke away the opportunity to give their fans the best ever Super Bowl party? We believe in wishes here, but that doesn’t mean we believe in miracles.

Now, choosing Philadelphia presents the descendant problem that (beside the simple first issue of, well, rooting for the Eagles) they seem like by far the weakest team in the field and the least likely to upend Bill Belichick’s march to a repeat. However, few things would make me look better than demonstrating how this Philadelphia group’s success all year did not owe as much to Carson Wentz as previously supposed by the supple masses. And Jim Schwartz’s defense putting the screws to Brady in the clincher would be illustrious support for my thesis that quarterback play doesn’t determine team success as much as off-ball dynamics. So ,,,,

My choice: Eagles

Sharp pick: Minnesota (-3)

On the year:

My choices (straight up): 100-148 (4-4 playoffs)

Sharp picks (against the spread): 116-113-9 (3-4-1 playoffs)