After 52 games, I have whittled down the list of 2017 NFL teams from 32 to the final 4! And, they are four teams I would NEVER have predicted would be here at this juncture in my tournament. But, upsets are part of football and, therefore, part of APBA Football!
So, here we go:
AFC Championship: Baltimore Ravens vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Both of these teams are undefeated (4-0) in this post-season tournament, and they’ve each done it by playing exceptional defense! Jacksonville QB, Blake Bortles, has been spotty at best. He has completed 61-102 for 902 yards, but he’s only thrown 1 TD while suffering 6 interceptions! His counterpart for the Ravens, Joe Flacco, has hit on 80-120 for 731 yards, 3 TD’s and 3 picks. The Jaguars have enjoyed a terrific running game behind Leonard Fournette (302 yards on 60 carries with 6 TD’s) and Chris Ivory (34-209-2 TD’s). Unfortunately for the Jags, Ivory is hurt and will miss this game. Here is a list of everyone on the DL who will not be playing in this AFC Title Game:
Baltimore: Matt Skura (OG), Marshal Yanda (OG), Patrick Onwuasor (LB), Marion Humphrey (CB), Jimmy Smith (CB), Carl Davis (DE).
Jacksonville: Chris Ivory (RB), Allen Hurns (WR), Allen Robinson (WR), Aaron Colvin (CB)
NFC Championship: Seattle Seahawks vs. Atlanta Falcons
Each of these teams lost one game on their way to the NFC Championship. The Seahawks lost to the Arizona Cardinals in their first game of the tournament and have run off four consecutive victories to get here. Meanwhile, the Falcons lost to the Lions by 7 in the second round of the tournament, but both teams come to this championship game 4-1. And, unlike the AFC title game, these teams have done it with offense. Now, Seattle lives and dies with Russell Wilson, and he has not disappointed. He has thrown for 1,298 yards, completing 89-164 with 3 TD’s. He has, however, tossed 5 interceptions. But, he has also rushed for 234 yards on 39 carries and has found pay-dirt four times. His favorite receiver, Doug Baldwin, has caught 24 passes for 398 yards and one score. For the Falcons, Matt Ryan has completed 105 out of 166 attempts for 1,253 yards and four scores. But, he, too, has been susceptible to the turnover, with 5 picks. Devonta Freeman has been terrific, though, rushing for 434 yards on 79 carries and a remarkable 8 TD’s! And, the incomparable Julio Jones has been remarkably steady, hauling in 31 passes for 502 yards and 2 touchdowns. But, injuries may play a big role in this game, as Seattle kind of limps in to this championship game, with four starting defensive players on the shelf. Here is the list of everyone on the Disabled List:
Seattle: Eddie Lacy (RB), Oday Aboushi (OG), Rees Odhiambo (OT), Jarran Reed (DT), Cliff Avril (DE), KJ Wright (LB), Richard Sherman (CB), Kam Chancellor (S)
Atlanta: Ricardo Allen (S), Adrian Clayborn (DE), Vic Beasley (LB), Terron Ward (RB)