The Conference Championships are tomorrow. Both games tomorrow will include the one and two seed from both conferences, so it should be good! Here are some predictions:
NFC: Los Angeles Rams (2) at New Orleans Saints (1)
New Orleans stands at a 3 point favorite against the Rams. The Saints were able to pull one out against the Rams at home on Week 9 in a wild game. They will play again at home during this rematch in which they are favored. Both teams, during the divisional round, played close games in which it came down to the final minutes. So, we can imagine this to be a close game.
The Saints and Rams both have a top tier offense and an above average defense. The Rams have some of the top players all around the board on offense. They have two 1200 yard receivers in Cooks and Robert Woods, as well as Todd Gurley, one of the best backs in the league, and CJ Anderson, who has proven himself as a player the Rams can count on. Jared Goff has played well this year and can be relied on to make big plays for Sean McVay. McVay is an offensive mastermind, and will be able to confuse the Saints on defense. Oh, and they also have one of the best offensive lines in the league. McVay’s play calls along with a handful of elite offensive players and many others who play at a high level is a recipe for success.
New Orleans has a high-caliber offense as well. Michael Thomas is one of, if not THE best, receivers in the league. He went off for a franchise-record 211 yards in the Week 9 game, so we can expect some fireworks tomorrow. He has a hall of fame quarterback throwing to him and two elite running backs along with him in Kamara and Ingram (although calling Ingram elite now may be a bit of a stretch).
We can expect a high scoring game here, similar to the Week 9 game which was 45-35. It may not be as high scoring, especially since these defenses both have something to prove. Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib are two great corners for the Rams. Peters, who was covering Thomas during his historic game, got burned a few times during that game, including once for a 72 yard touchdown. Peters still managed to talk trash after the game, and he will come in with some fire.
This will be a great game. But, I have the Saints. They are, in my opinion, the better all-around team. They have Brees and Sean Payton, who have both already won a Super Bowl. Brees is also undefeated in the playoffs at home, and we can expect the New Orleans crowd to provide a bit of noise. I think this could disrupt the Rams offense, similar to Week 9, allowing the Saints to win the game.
Prediction: Saints over Rams 35-31
AFC: New England Patriots (2) at Kansas City Chiefs (1)
A LOT of people have the Chiefs in this game and I understand why. But the Patriots will win.
If there’s something we’ve learned over the past 16 years of NFL football, it’s to never go against Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, and the Patriots. That’s it. I don’t have to prove this. And the Chiefs on the other hand? They are probably best known for being straight up bad in the playoffs. Now I did pick the Colts over the Chiefs, and I was very wrong. But, I believe the Pats can pull one out here.
The Chiefs are a great team. They have a fiery offense with a whole lot of weapons, and their defense has surprisingly done better as the season progressed. In the Colts game, Justin Houston and Dee Ford were able to disrupt Luck and their offense a lot. Eric Berry will return in this game, and he is one of the best safeties in the league, hands down. With an elite offense and a pretty good defense, it will be hard to stop this team.
The Pats are pretty good too. The key in this game for them will be to control the clock on offense and try as hard as possible to keep the ball out of Mahomes’s hands. Brady has been pretty good at doing that. People have been making fun of the fact that Brady has been throwing checkdowns every few plays and he really isn’t that great of a quarterback, but that has been key in managing the clock and keeping the ball for as long as possible. Brady is also throwing the ball faster than usual, and that helped a lot in the Chargers game. Bosa and Ingram weren’t able to get to Brady, and that will be key here while playing against Houston and Dee Ford. Sony Michel and James White have evolved into a great backfield. They can always be counted on to gain those few more yards to get the first down, or go for a 20 yard gain. Edelman went off in the Chargers game also, so we can expect him to have a great game here.
I would also love to see Gronk go for a 100 yard game. If there was ever a time we needed him to do that, now is that time. He has been in the shadows lately, and a big game would prove everyone wrong. He is being utilized as a blocker, which he is great at, but Kansas City probably won’t be expecting him to be as much of a threat that he is because of his down year, so now is the time to capitalize.
This game will be different than the Week 6 game. The score total on that game was 83 points, and we won’t have the same kind of shootout here. These defenses are more refined and have better players now. Eric Berry is coming back and JC Jackson and Jason McCourty have proved to be good players for the Pats, as well as the pro-bowler Gilmore. We have a change of venue and different conditions. It won’t be in the negatives or snowing on Sunday, which is actually unfortunate, but it will still be cold, and that’s the time for Brady to shine. The game being in Kansas City is a definite factor here, but I just can’t go against the experience of the Pats and what that means for this game.
Prediction: Pats over Chiefs 28-24