AFC Championship Game, Presented by The Blake Bortles Center for Kids Who Can’t Pass Good and Who Wanna Learn to Do Other Stuff Good Too

NEW ENGLAND (14-3)  - 7.5  vs   Jacksonville (12-6)

Whoa, Nelly! RIP Keith Jackson. It’s a shame he’ll miss these notes (and the game), because it’s going to be a good one.

I’ve been dying to write this column all year. You know that scene in Trading Places, where Winthorpe and Valentine are on the trading floor, watching the price of OJ go up and up, only they know that the real crop report is going to cause the price to drop? Valentine goes “Louis?” and Winthorpe tells him “Not yet” … and then finally, “Now!”  And they unleash holy hell on the futures pit and ruin the Duke Brothers in the process? (Until Prince Akeem, but that’s for another day. Also, RIP Ralph Bellamy and Don Ameche. They were the Keith Jackson of character actors.)

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Anyhoo, I’ve been Valentine for 8-9 weeks. Now I’m Winthorpe.

It’s time.

I would have made this pick regardless of Tom Brady’s hand. If you told me that the whole thing is a ruse to introduce the market to TB12 Magic Red Recovery Gloves, available at these fine stores, I would not be surprised. I also would not be surprised if he showed up tomorrow with one of these beauties:

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This game is a Reverse Zoolander. Bortles is and always will be Zoolander, and Brady is a perfect Hansel. Except this Sunday Bortles is the upstart who will ride in on his scooter and knock the reigning champion from his throne. Look at the picture and tell me that it’s not great.

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The only thing that would be better is if Brady can’t go, and it’s Hoyer vs Bortles for the trip to the Super Bowl. If that happens, replace all Zoolander references and images with Dumb and Dumber, and you’ll have it nailed.

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And finally…..

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Onto the game. New England will have to establish the run to be successful. You’ll know what’s going to happen in this game after the first Pats series. If they go nowhere on two runs, then take a sack, then punt, we suggest funding an online betting account and putting everything you got on the Jags moneyline. You Giants fans know what I mean. Which of course probably means that they come out throwing, trying to catch the Jags overplaying the run. Here’s where you’ll see Brady’s age start to come through. For all his greatness, he’s been knocked around all year and this game won’t be better. If they can keep the pressure off of him, they’ll have a chance to open up a bit and watch Brady throw a few secretly wobbly passes over 20 yards. (Watch. He can no longer throw the deep ball consistently.)

All of this makes it sound like I’m picking the Jags to walk all over the Pats. Not 100% true. I think it’s a much closer game than the spread indicates, and I definitely think the Jags win it on the field. It’s also our MeUndies Backdoor Cover of the Week. But the Pats are more than just Brady and his second-prettiest QB face in the league. They still have these two guys to contend with:

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Finally, a note about the odds. The Pats are currently -150 to win the Super Bowl. I’ve been picking on this bet for weeks. OK, one week. Well, two weeks, if you count this week. Either way, it’s a bad line. Please don’t bet this. The Pats are -320 this week. In order to get -150 for them to win their next two games, the second game (i.e., Super Bowl) odds are -370.  This means the Pats are something like an 8.5 point favorite over the Vikes or Eagles. I feel like I’m taking crazy pills looking at this.

Pick: Jacksonville +7.5