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Defenses reach championships: Final four teams in NFL playoffs rank in top 5 in points allowed

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How about that for an offensive-driven league?

NFL: New York Jets at New England Patriots Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

The final four teams in the 2017-18 NFL playoffs are helmed by future Hall of Famer Tom Brady and then a cast of castoffs in Blake Bortles, Case Keenum, and Nick Foles. The latter three defeated teams led by Ben Roethlisberger, Drew Brees, and Matt Ryan in the divisional round.

How did we get here?

It’s pretty clear that defenses win championships- or at least brings teams to the brink.

The Jacksonville Jaguars (1st), Minnesota Vikings (2nd), Philadelphia Eagles (4th), and New England Patriots (5th) all rank in the top five of defensive points allowed during the 2017 regular season, with the Los Angeles Chargers (3rd) the lone absentee.

The Patriots (2nd), Eagles (3rd), Jaguars (5th), and Vikings (10th) all rank pretty well on offense, too, as they all rank in the top five of point differential; the Rams, t-3rd, are the only exception. These teams regularly score more points than their opponents do. It should be no surprise they’re the final four teams standing.

New England stands above the rest, though, as they have the best combination of offense and defense of the remaining teams, as evident in their league-best point differential over the second half of the season. They’ll have a difficult game against a fierce Jaguars team, but New England should be the favorite for the rest of the season.