The 2018 NFL Playoffs schedule features two Conference Championship games on Sunday. The first matchup is the AFC Championship Game between the New England Patriots and Jacksonville Jaguars. The winner of this game will represent the AFC in Super Bowl LII
New England has covered the spread in 10 of their past 11 games (the only exception was their loss to the Miami Dolphins), which represents the best record against the spread in an 11-game stretch over the past six seasons, per OddsShark. Surprisingly, the Patriots have hit the under in seven of those 11 games, which means that New England’s defense is no slouch, either.
Here’s all the game information below.
Date: Sunday, January 21st, 2018
Location: Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Massachusetts
Kickoff: 3:05 PM ET
He captured his 26th postseason victory, recorded his 13th 300-yard postseason passing game — extending his NFL record for both — and also broke a tie with Joe Montana to become the all-time leader with 10 three-TD playoff games.
The Patriots, seeking the sixth Super Bowl crown of the Brady/Bill Belichick Era, hammered the Tennessee Titans 35-14 in the divisional round, while the third-seeded Jaguars stunned the Steelers 45-42 in Pittsburgh and come into this game filled with confidence — and toughness.
Asked Wednesday what it will be like facing the NFL’s No. 1 defense, New England tight end Rob Gronkowski, active this time around after missing last year’s title run, said, “That is a big challenge. They have very talented players on both sides of the ball. Especially on defense, they have many, many great players. It is going to be a big challenge.
“It is the best team we are facing all year coming up in the AFC Championship Game this weekend. We have to be ready. We have to be prepared. It is going to be a big, tough challenge, for sure.”
The Jags are trying to become only the third team — and first since the 1985 Chicago Bears — to lead the league in rushing and win the championship.
“It’s going to be tough. It’s going to be a great challenge for us,” Jacksonville coach Doug Marrone told the New England media via conference call Wednesday. “We understand how great of a team New England is and how much of a challenge all three phases are going to be faced with. It’s going to be difficult and we understand that.”
These teams practiced together prior to the first preseason game back in August, and Patriots players said they saw back then things would be different with a team that won three games last season.
Now, they meet for the AFC title.
The Patriots have gone 3-3 in the six straight title game appearances, losing twice to the Denver Broncos and once to the Baltimore Ravens. Most people expected a battle with the Pittsburgh Steelers this week but the Jags flipped the script and come into this game as decided underdogs.
A big change beside the coach was the return of Tom Coughlin to the organization he helped build — as the first coach of the expansion team in 1995.
Jacksonville’s vice president of football operations, Coughlin coached the New York Giants to a pair of Super Bowl wins over the Patriots, and one would have to think he can be of some help this week — as he has the entire season.
Asked if Coughlin might be getting too much credit when he, Marrone, is the coach, Marrone said, “He should get a lot of credit. (Jaguars general manager) Dave Caldwell should get a lot of credit. Our coaches should get a hell of a lot of credit and our players deserve the most credit.
“So I think everyone is trying to pull in the same direction. I just think that those people getting the credit, they deserve it. As long as we win I don’t really care who gets the credit. So I have no problem with that at all.”