For the first time since I can’t even remember when, I really like all the teams left in the NFL Postseason.
It seems like The Patriots have always had to contend with a team that has been a thorn in their side for every single playoff run. The Colts. The Broncos. The Ravens. The Steelers, The Jets. The Giants. Losses to those teams (well...almost all of them. Sorry, Pittsburgh) always kept me awake at night as their respective fanbases took a long, hot, steamy bath in Patriot tears. Being bounced from the playoffs by a team you have any kind of history with hurts twice as bad - that’s just the way it is. And the Patriots are as familiar with getting upset by a rival as anyone.
But with the Jacksonville Jaguars stunning the Pittsburgh Steelers this afternoon, there are officially no teams left that I harbor any animosity towards whatsoever. The Patriots will be playing one of the feel-good stories of the playoffs in Blake Bortles and the Jags next week, and if they win that game they’ll be going up against either Nick Foles, Case Keenum, or Drew Brees. I love what the Jaguars have done this year. I have no problem with the Eagles. I think that Minnesota is an amazing narrative in 2017. The New Orleans Saints are the only team that supported the Patriots as they defended the wall, and many Pats fans have embraced New Orleans as their NFC team. No matter what happens going forward, I’m going to enjoy it.
Of course, I’ll enjoy it much, much, much more if the Patriots...well, you know... but I can 100% live with every possible NFL outcome for 2017 And it has been a very, very long time since I have been able to say that. And it feels nice.
Make no mistake: this Jaguars team is legit. And before anybody starts getting confident about next week: the Jags have Tom Coughlin. Believe me when I say it’s IMPOSSIBLE to forget what his teams have done to the Patriots in the playoffs.