I have no idea how much alcohol is in the French Quarter, but I'm guessing it all got drank Sunday night because, OH MY GOD that might have been the most painful loss in NFL history. If I was a Saints fan, I would probably be drowning my sorrows until at least Easter.
There have been some rough losses in recent NFL history -- you know, like when the Falcons blew a 28-3 lead to the Patriots in Super Bowl LI -- but the Saints' loss was different because of the way it happened. The Falcons' loss was like having a knife twisted in your back for two hours. This Saints loss was like being shot in the eye by a tank. Both painful, but for different reasons.
I've watched the Vikings' game-winning play at least 91 times since Sunday and every time I watch it, it seems more and more improbable. Just think about what had to happen for the Vikings to win:
1. Case Keenum had to throw a perfect pass, which was no given because before he made that throw, he was just 3 of 8 with an interception on passes thrown 15 yards or more downfield.
2. After the pass was completed, the touchdown probably still shouldn't have happened because Saints safety Marcus Williams was right there!
Freeze frame of final catch. In no scenario would anyone ever think this would result in a touchdown. pic.twitter.com/GXnJNBu32x— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) January 15, 2018
If Williams had interfered with Stefon Diggs, the Vikings would have had to try a 52-yard field goal for the win, and if you know anything about the Vikings and playoff field goals, then you know that would have been the worst possible thing imaginable for fans in Minnesota. Also, if Williams had just accidentally run into Diggs and knocked him off balance, Diggs might have fallen to the ground and the game would have been over.
3. After Keenum made the throw and Williams missed the tackle, the touchdown still wasn't a lock because Diggs had to keep his balance.
Don't overlook Stefon Diggs's brilliance for Marcus Williams's error. Vikings fans won't. https://t.co/BHvtBmXP5w pic.twitter.com/bKmUZowOrE— Brainerd Dispatch (@brd_dispatch) January 16, 2018
If Diggs falls there, the clock runs out and the game's over.
When I watched the end of "Mighty Ducks" as a kid, I thought for sure that would end up being the greatest sports moment that anyone would ever witness in the state of Minnesota, but that all changed Sunday with the "Minneapolis Miracle." By the way, the Minneapolis Miracle kind of sounds it could be the name of a Lifetime movie, which actually makes sense, because Vikings fans should be watching that play at least once a day for the rest of their lifetime. It was that amazing.
If the Vikings get to the Super Bowl, which is being played in Minnesota, you can probably expect to see that play a minimum of 40 times per day in the two weeks leading up to the game, which I'm guessing Vikings fans will love.
The only people who had a better week than Vikings fans are people named Doug. We are literally on the verge of an all-Doug Super bowl, which is arguably just as improbable as the ending of the Saints-Vikings game. Thanks to Jaguars coach Doug Marrone and Eagles coach Doug Pederson, this could go down as the greatest week ever for guys named Doug. Dougs are due.
I'm not going to rank Dougs right now, but if Jacksonville and Philadelphia both win on Sunday, Doug E. Fresh and Doug Funnie might not go one-two in my Doug rankings anymore.
Of course, if the Eagles win, that's not just good news for guys named Doug, it's also good news for everyone in Philadelphia because everyone there is going to GET FREE BEER. In August, Lane Johnson promised to buy everyone in Philly a beer if the Eagles won the Super Bowl.
Lane Johnson promises 'beer for everybody' if Eagles win Super Bowlhttps://t.co/nIVoIvWKy4 pic.twitter.com/UcRiFGuIcA— Around The NFL (@AroundTheNFL) August 2, 2017
At first, I don't think anyone actually took his promise seriously, but then Bud Light stepped in and offered to pay for everything.
.@LaneJohnson65 Let's make a bet. Win it all and the party is on us. Deal? https://t.co/syd5WHfsvo— Bud Light (@budlight) August 2, 2017
Basically, we're two Eagles victories away from everyone in Philly getting free beer, which would easily make an Eagles parade the craziest Super Bowl parade of all-time. I mean, not only are we talking free beer but there's a good chance that everyone at the parade will be wearing a creepy dog mask and I'm just not sure any city would ever be able to top those two things.
So will everyone in Philly be getting free beer?
Let's get to the picks and find out.
Actually, before we do that, let me remind you that you can check out the AFC and NFC title game picks from every CBSSports.com expert by clicking here.
You should click over this week just so you can check out the picks from my esteemed, CBSSports.com colleague, Will Brinson. Brinson correctly picked that the 7.5-point underdog Jaguars would beat the Steelers in the divisional round, which I think makes him eligible to start wearing a creepy dog mask. If you're wondering why I've already mentioned creepy dog masks three times, you can thank the Eagles. They started wearing them after they opened as an underdog against the Falcons. You'll probably also see a lot of them this week since Philly is also a home underdog to the Vikings.
NFL Championship Sunday picks
AFC Championship game
No. 3 Jacksonville (12-6) at No. 1 New England (14-3)
TV: 3:05 p.m. ET, CBS
Line: Patriots, -9.5 points
I have no idea if Tom Brady is still on speaking terms with Jimmy Garoppolo. If he is, he should definitely call him this week. Not only would they be able to swap hair tips, but Garoppolo might actually be able to offer Brady a pointer or two because he was one of the only quarterbacks in the NFL who was able to shred the Jaguars defense this season.
Also, I'm not sure if Bill Belichick appreciates irony, but it would definitely have to go down as one of the most ironic twists in football history if the Patriots were to beat the Jags because they devised half their game plan by watching film from San Francisco's 44-33 victory over Jacksonville in Week 16.
Last week's story line? Belichick hated the Garoppolo trade so much that it's probably going to cause the Patriots dynasty to crumble.
Next week's story line? Garoppolo trade pays off because Belichick uses 49ers game film to destroy the Jaguars and save the Patriots dynasty.
Of course, I'm 90 percent sure Belichick doesn't believe in irony, so there's a good chance that none of that happens. The one advantage Belichick does have in this game, though -- besides better coaching, a better quarterback, a better tight end and a better offense -- is that he got to see the Jaguars up close in August when the Patriots and Jags held joint practices. He knows exactly how fast their defense is and he also probably knows that if he asks his 40-year-old quarterback to throw the ball 40 or more times, things could get ugly. If you saw what Clubber Lang did to Rocky the first time they fought, that's a good example of what the Jags defense might do to Tom Brady. If you've lost track of which "Rocky" movie is which, then just scroll to the 50-second mark in the clip below and imagine that Brady is in yellow trunks.
Why isn’t this man in the Hall of Fame?! Nobody had a chin like this! Every punch he threw was a power shot, NO jabs needed!#ClubberLangpic.twitter.com/eKpQ9Q3eI1— Jamel Herring (@JamelHerring) December 25, 2017
The secret to beating the Patriots is putting as much pressure on Brady as possible and no one knows that better than Tom Coughlin, whose Giants beat the Patriots in two different Super Bowls and who just happens to be the Jaguars' executive vice president of football operations.
I don't know this for sure, but It's almost as if Coughlin designed the 2017 Jaguars with exactly one thought in his mind -- to destroy Brady and the Patriots for good. The Jaguars ranked second in the NFL in sacks (55) and they might add 55 more to that total Sunday.
If the Jaguars had anything resembling a consistent quarterback, I would pick them by double-digits in this game. But they don't. They have Blake Bortles and to he honest, I'm not even sure he knows what time zone he'll be playing in this week.
So the Jaguars went up to New England for a joint practice w/ the Patriots & Blake Bortles had problems adjusting to the time zone .... Dude pic.twitter.com/2XuGrylDGj— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) August 9, 2017
One week, Bortles will look like Brady, and then the next week, he'll go out and look like he has never played football before. The thing about Bortles is that I jumped on his bandwagon after I saw him throw a pass for the first time in 2014 and now is definitely not the time to jump off of it.
The guy who makes busts in Canton should start hanging out with Blake Bortles #HOTTAKE #Jaguars— John Breech (@johnbreech) August 23, 2014
As for my pick, well, I'm going to ignore the fact that Brady has never lost to the Jaguars (7-0) and I'm going to ignore the fact that the Patriots are 14-0 in the playoffs against teams they didn't play in the regular season and I'm going to ignore the fact that teams that play on Saturday in the divisional round are 13-3 on Championship Sunday since the 2009 season. I'm also going to ignore the fact that Jalen Ramsey completely jinxed the Jaguars by guaranteeing that they would win the Super Bowl before they've even played in the AFC title game.
Yup, I'm ignoring everything and I'm taking the Jaguars.
The Patriots were my preseason pick to win the Super Bowl and by going with Bortles over Brady here, I'm already starting to feel like I'm about to drink from the wrong grail, which didn't seem to work out real well for anyone in the third "Indiana Jones" movie.
Movie scene that scared me the most as a kid hands down goes to the scene in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade where the guy chooses the wrong Holy Grail and goes full Skeletor. #HeChosePoorly #NightmareFuel pic.twitter.com/8HymNVksRI— Andii (@Andii_Renee) January 16, 2018
This pick is completely contingent on Blake Bortles not throwing four interceptions, so please don't throw four interceptions, Blake Bortles.
The pick: Jaguars 23-20 over Patriots
Record picking Patriots games this season: 11-6 (includes 1-0 in playoffs)
Record picking Jaguars games this season: 6-12 (includes 1-1 in playoffs)
Note: There was no team I was worse at picking this season than the Jaguars.
Fan who deserves a Jaguars win: If the Jaguars do upset the Patriots on Sunday, someone needs to make sure this woman gets as many Super Bowl tickets as she wants.
Local Jaguars fan speaks out about the Jaguars draft picks. Do you think the Jaguars will #StealTheShow this year? 🏈 pic.twitter.com/dCtVdyJeww— News4JAX (@wjxt4) May 2, 2016
I mean, she even mentions "playing by the rules," which can only be her taking a shot at Belichick and the Patriots, right?
NFC Championship game
No. 2 Minnesota (14-3) at No. 1 Philadelphia (14-3)
TV: 6:40 p.m. ET, Fox
Line: Vikings, -3.5 points
If you would've told me four months ago that Nick Foles and Case Keenum would be the two starting quarterbacks in the NFC title game, I have to say, I probably would've been less shocked if you told me that Colin Kaepernick had just been hired as Donald Trump's press secretary.
When the 2017 season started, Keenum and Foles were both backup quarterbacks who were only connected due to the fact that they both played for Jeff Fisher and the fact that they both went to high school in Texas. Speaking of Fisher, if any team out there is ever thinking about hiring him as coach, just print out the tweet below and keep it as a constant reminder that Fisher seems to have no clue how to identify or develop quarterback talent. Remember, he had both Foles and Keenum in 2015 and thought they were so bad that he tried to trade both of them in April 2016.
Not only are Rams fielding trade offers for Nick Foles, but they'd also listen to teams interested in dealing for QB Case Keenum @nflnetwork— Michael Silver (@MikeSilver) April 29, 2016
Well, the joke's on Fisher -- and kind of the rest of the NFC -- because Keenum and Foles are the last two quarterbacks standing, although they probably won't be standing much Sunday because I expect both of them to get hit a lot.
As a matter of fact, I have zero faith in either quarterback to play well this week and that's mainly because both guys will be playing against the best defense they've seen all season. With the exception of the Minneapolis Miracle, Keenum struggled against the Saints defense, which could be an issue, because the Eagles are even better on that side of the ball.
Also, Eagles players are wearing creepy dog masks, which I feel like is an advantage for Philly. I probably wouldn't even step on the field if I saw some dude wearing that thing over his head.
#Eagles Announced that Fans are allowed to wear Dog Masks to @LFFStadium this weekend for #NFCChampionship, but have to take them off at Security Checkpoint#MINvsPHI #FlyEaglesFly pic.twitter.com/VLHFGq0Y6u— Eagles Nation (13-3) (@PHLEaglesNation) January 15, 2018
The Eagles have definitely taken this underdog thing too far. If they somehow manage to beat the Vikings, there are going to be 20,000 Eagles fans wandering around Minneapolis in dog masks and I just don't think the Vikings want that happening in their hometown.
The Vikings have had the best defense in the NFL all season and after picking against them in the divisional round, I'm firmly back on the "Defense wins championships" bandwagon, which means I'm going with Minnesota.
The pick: Vikings 19-16 over Eagles
Record picking Eagles games this season: 13-4 (includes 0-1 in playoffs)
Record picking Vikings games this season: 8-9 (includes 0-1 in playoffs)
Fan who deserves to see a Vikings or Eagles win: The two fans below are both 99 years old and based on what I know about human physiology, this might be the last year they get to see their favorite team play in a game where there's a berth to the Super Bowl on the line.
Vikings fan Millie & Eagles fan Phil have each waited a century for their teams to win the Super Bowl.— SNF on NBC (@SNFonNBC) January 15, 2018
On Sunday they will face-off with a trip to #SBLII on the line.
(📸 @NFLNatalie & @_jbpotter7_) pic.twitter.com/AqPryeojYd
The scary thing is that Tom Brady is probably still going to be playing in the NFL when he's that age.
Best pick: In the divisional round, I predicted that the Patriots would score 34 points and beat the Titans and that's almost exactly what happened as New England rolled to a 35-14 win. Now, I didn't want to use this game as my best pick, but I didn't have a choice, because I didn't get any other picks right. It was an ugly week. However, my week wasn't even half as ugly as Mike Mularkey's, so I'm not going to complain.
The Titans decided to fire Mularkey on Monday, despite the fact that he led them to their first playoff berth since 2007 and despite the fact that he led them to their first playoff win since January 2004. If Mularkey had won a playoff game in Cincinnati, he would have been elected mayor for life. In Tennessee, you get fired.
On the other hand, you can't blame Titans fans for wanting Mularkey out. Their past four coaches have been Jeff Fisher, Mike Munchak, Ken Whisenhunt and Mike Mularkey, which basically reads like the opposite of what you would put on a football Mt. Rushmore. Based on that list, I'm guessing that Titans' next move will be to hire Ben McAdoo. Just kidding, Titans, don't hire Ben McAdoo, I'm not sure your fan base would be able to emotionally handle that.
Worst pick: Last week, I picked an indoor team (Falcons) to win an outdoor game in cold weather (at Philadelphia), I said defenses don't win championships and I even tried to convince everyone that the second Aunt Viv from "Fresh Prince" was better than the first one. I was wrong about everything and it all blew up in my face.
I always enjoy @johnbreech's NFL picks column, but I can't just gloss over this Aunt Viv take. Second Aunt Viv better than the first Aunt Viv? You serious, Clark? pic.twitter.com/GvxP5nlZAU— Ricky Doyle (@TheRickyDoyle) January 11, 2018
Of course, it appears that I don't actually learn from my mistakes because I picked an indoor team to win an outdoor game this week and I still think the second Aunt Viv was better. I also like yellow Starbursts, yellow Skittles and my favorite "Friends" character was Ross.
By the way, unless I decide to do a Pro Bowl pick -- and I probably won't because that would be weird -- I'll be on a one-week hiatus, which means you should circle Jan. 30 on your calendar, because that's when the Super Bowl LII pick will be rolling out.
Straight up in divisional round: 1-3
SU overall in playoffs: 4-4
Against the spread in divisional round: 2-2
ATS overall in playoffs: 3-5
Final 2017 regular-season record
Straight up: 161-95
Against the spread: 124-121-11
You can find John Breech on Facebook or Twitter and if he's not doing one of those things, he's probably on Amazon.com trying to purchase a dozen creepy dog masks.