We're a couple days away from the Super Bowl, and all I can think about is how fun it would have been to see the Vikings take on the Jaguars in the Super Bowl.
No disrespect to either the Pats or the Eagles—Philly kicked Minnesota's ass fair and square—but that's what happens when your team comes up short. You find yourself dwelling on what might have been.
So while Madden once again predicts who will win the actual Super Bowl (they've got the Pats in a barn burner), I'm focusing on the Super Bowl LIIs that might have been.
I used Madden 18 to sim out Eagles-Jaguars, Patriots-Vikings, and Jaguars-Vikings. I set up the proper depth charts, started each game with the computer controlling both teams, then set the controller down and watched. The results were roughly true to life, though the sim engine definitely wasn't kind to Blake Bortles and Nick Foles. Since Madden is seemingly always right about these games, I'm just going to accept these results as canon. Here's what happened.
(Sidenote: I omitted the Super Bowl MVP picks because the system appears to be bugged. All of the MVPs were low performing offensive players. Very strange).
Minnesota Vikings vs. New England Patriots
How the Game Unfolded: After a fast start that saw Adam Thielen score a long touchdown and Tom Brady retaliate with a quick strike of his own, the Vikings and Patriots settled into a stalemate that had them knotted at 7 at the half. It wasn't until the second half that the Vikings started to slowly pull away thanks to multiple Kai Forbath field goals. Tom Brady tried valiantly to pull off another miracle comeback with a three play touchdown drive with a minute to go, but the Vikings recovered the onside kick and converted the first down to win their first Super Bowl
Key Play: Leading 16-7 late, Anthony Barr forced a fumble and returned it for a touchdown to make it 22-7. It was his second forced fumble of the day, the other being responsible for the Vikings creeping out to a 10-7 lead. In a hypothetical world where the Vikings are Super Bowl champions (hah), it's known as The Return.
Key Stat: Dion Lewis rushed for 7 yards on 9 attempts. The Vikings run defense was fierce in this game.
Final Score: 22-14, Vikings
Minnesota Vikings vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
How the Game Unfolded: As in the real life AFC title game, it was all Jaguars early on. The Jags roared out to a 21-0 lead on the back of two Leonard Fournette touchdowns. But with 35 seconds remaining in the half, Case Keenum threw a 5 yard TD to Latavius Murray to make it 21-7. Then the wheel came off for the Jags. The Vikings picked up a field goal, then a crucial Jalen Ramsey interference penalty put the Vikings in position to get another touchdown. Bortles completely melted down, taking a massive sack and throwing the pick six to Xavier Rhodes that ultimately decided the game.
Key Play: The Xavier Rhodes interception return for a touchdown. Interestingly, both of Minnesota's hypothetical Super Bowl victories were decided by turnovers for touchdowns.
Key Stat: Case Keenum went 19 for 32 for 244 yards and 2 TDs. Not amazing, but good enough against the vaunted Jacksonville defense. Also, the Jags failed to so much as cross midfield in the second half. Ouch.
Final Score 26-21, Vikings
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
How the Game Unfolded: A snoozer of a game had the Jags up by the improbable score of 7-5 in the third. Foles threw two picks and seemed to struggle mightily against the Jaguars defense. But Jacksonville couldn't get any traction either, and Foles was finally able to piece together a drive that brought the Eagles to the redzone early in the 4th quarter. It looked like Philly was going to have to settle for a field goal after getting sacked back to the 25 yard line, but Foles delivered a perfect strike to Nelson Agholor at the back of the endzone for the winning margin.
Key Play: After pinning the Jaguars in the endzone, the Eagles managed to break through and sack Blake Bortles for a safety. That allowed the Eagles to later go up 12-7, forcing Bortles to try and drive for a game winning touchdown in the last two minutes. He... wasn't successful.
Key Stat: The Eagles turned over the ball three times and still somehow managed to win. Bortles was a wretched 8 for 13 for 71 yards and a rushing touchdown against the Eagles defense.
Final Score 12-7, Eagles
And since you're here, here's the image that'll warm the hearts of all 31 other fanbases.
Yeah, that's the stuff. Enjoy the Super Bowl, everyone.