The time of year is quickly approaching. The cold nights of January are perfect for playoff football, so we have to preview the games coming up this Sunday and see who is packing their bags to stay home, and who will live another few weeks and go to Atlanta.
AFC Championship Game: Kansas City Chiefs vs. New England Patriots
So, per usual, the AFC Championship Game runs through the Patriots, as it has for the past 8 years. This time, however, we go from cold Foxborough to cold and possibly snowy Kansas City. With the kickoff temperature expected to be in the 20s now rather than in the single digits, fans going to the game can be a bit more excited about the fact that their chances of getting hypothermia and frostbite went down a bit, but this may be just another thing that plays into New England’s advantage. The Patriots play in these temperatures in January all the time, whether they practice in it, or play in it. Kansas City doesn’t know what an AFC Championship Game is like, it has been over 40 years since that last happened. That being said, soon-to-be NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes will lead his Chiefs in a rematch against the GOAT Tom Brady. The last time these teams played was a Sunday night in October, where the offenses were nonstop, defenses non-existent, and Pats Kicker Stephen Gostkowski was money. The game once again will come down to who has the ball last, and who can make the biggest plays at the right moment. The last time they played, Patrick Mahomes found Tyreek Hill on a huge touchdown play late in the 4thbut left over 3 minutes for Brady to work with to get into field goal range. Mahomes better make sure that if he wants to score a touchdown, that he doesn’t leave too much time on the clock, because Brady will find a way. 3 minutes is an eternity for Brady. Despite Brady being 1-4 lifetime on the road in AFC Championship Games, and his best target Rob Gronkowski being AWOL for most of the season, Brady always finds a way, and against a defense as terrible as the Chiefs, he won’t lose. Oh, and not to mention, the biggest choker in NFL history, Chiefs coach Andy Reid, is coaching the Chiefs still (despite all the leads he’s blown, and the lack of playoff wins before this year), so it is safe to say the Chiefs will find a way to lose this game. No betting against Brady here, Pats win.
NFC Championship Game: New Orleans Saints vs. Los Angeles Rams
Another rematch of a game that ended up being an absolute thriller, with the Rams being undefeated at 8-0 at the time, and the Saints being the only team that could seemingly stop them. Surely enough, the Saints were able to end the dominance of LA, and neither team has really slowed down since. The two most complete teams in the NFC will meet again in New Orleans on Sunday, yet this time with some more questions to answer. Will Jared Goff play like he did in November when they played New Orleans (he had 391 yards passing and 3 TDs), or will he play like he did last year in the Rams NFC Wild Card Game against Atlanta? Will Sean McVay prove to be the prodigy the world is amazed by? Will Drew Brees cement his place as potentially the Greatest of All Time? Since the last rematch, Goff has been off-and-on, McVay has proven his prodigy-like skills, and Brees has broken records and put up an MVP-caliber season. Since then, the Saints have also been the #1 scoring defense, which will prove to be the difference on Sunday. The Saints defense’s ability to slow down the Rams potent offense will be what wins them this game. Last week, when they played the Eagles, they were down 14-0 after the Eagles’ first 2 possessions, but the defense didn’t allow any points the rest of the game and came up with the game-winning stop on a Marshon Lattimore interception, all thanks to Alshon Jeffery’s ‘best hands in the NFL’. There will be a ton of points scored for sure, but it will come down to if Jared Goff can outplay Brees and if the Saints defense fails to stop Goff and the Rams. I do not see that happening, so Saints win.