SC's Championship Round Predictions
Source: AP Photo/Mark LoMoglio
We're inching closer to the Superbowl and the final four teams are one game away from the NFL’s biggest stage, the Super Bowl. Brady’s beat Brees to go to another championship game, Rodgers dominates the Rams, Chiefs sneak in without Mahomes, and the Bills are actually in the championship game! The old guard and the young guns. Here are my predictions!
Green Bay Packers vs Tampa Bay Bucs
Packers QB Aaron Rodgers had his worst start this season against the Bucs, he threw for two interceptions and completed under 50 percent of his passes. It was also the only game where Rodgers failed to throw for a touchdown. He got sacked 4 times, which is the second most the former MVP has been taken down this season. More alarming for Packer fans, was the consistent dominance by the Buccaneers offence. The Bucs scored 5 of 6 drives at one point in the game and failed to sack Brady.
Simply put, Tampa outplayed Green Bay.
So far in the playoffs, the Bucs have beaten Washington and New Orleans. Though despite both wins, the Bucs haven't looked like the complete package. They kept letting a 4th string QB bite at their heels, and Brady didn't quite look like himself in New Orleans. Despite all that, they find themselves in the NFC Championship game, it’s an old habit for Brady, but new for a lot of these players, so the offence needs to spruce up if they hope to keep pace.
As for The Packers, they beat the Rams in a not so stylish way. As per usual, Aaron Rodgers decided to put the game in his hands and do what needed to be done, but despite the lack of flair, the offence was able to continue their momentum. As for the defence, they gave up some big plays but also stepped up to the plate. However, they’ll likely need a better effort against Brady and company.
Both Brady and Rodgers have combined to play in 19 championship games. Brady is 6-7 in those games, while Rodgers has all but one win in 4 appearances. Brady is the first QB to start in a championship in three different decades, he's had more conference championship games appearances than 28 other NFL franchises! As for Green Bay, it’s the first time the Packers have hosted the NFC championship with Rodgers under centre. Of course, the last time the Packers’ hosted was since 2007, where Brett Favre would play his last game as a Packer.
The Packers’ secondary against the Bucs talented receivers will likely be the key to who wins and who loses. The Packers will also have to pressure Brady and make him uncomfortable. Expect Ronald Jones, who had success against the Packers in their last meeting, to factor in this game as well. Also, what about Aaron Rodgers? The Packers QB will have likely have to go full "baaaaaaad man" in this one for the Pack to have a shot.
Prediction: Tampa Bay Bucs, 27-24
Buffalo Bills vs Kansas City Chiefs
The Bills and Chiefs will collide for the AFC title and it’s a battle of two young elite QBs. Buffalo will make their first appearance since 1995, and with Mahomes cleared to play, Kansas City will like their odds of winning their second straight Super Bowl bid. Any way you slice it, we are looking at the future of football in this one.
This is the second meeting between both sides this year. Patrick Mahomes had it easy in their first meeting, throwing for two touchdowns and only had five passes fall incomplete. The running game punished the Bills’ defence as well, with over 200 rushing yards gained. The Chiefs had close to 40 minutes of ball possession and converted 27 first downs. They also didn't allow a sack either. Not a good look coming into this one.
For Buffalo, their running game needs help. Devin Singletary will need to help generate offence so Allen won’t have to scramble for his life. Speaking of, he'll need more than Diggs to score points against the Chiefs too. John Brown and Isaiah McKenzie could provide some much-needed energy in the offence if Diggs is kept quiet. Buffalo had four sacks last week against Baltimore and will need to be in Mahomes’ face if they have any hopes of winning.
The biggest question mark for KC is the health of their franchise QB. If Mahomes is once again forced to leave the game could the Chiefs win once again with Chad Henne? Henne did complete 6 of 8 passes but was sacked once and threw a horrid pick. Also, Henne's terrible 18-36 record shouldn't give Chiefs fans much confidence if this nightmare scenario comes to life again. With that said, they still have a solid defence and arsenal of weapons on the offensive side to turn to.
If Mahomes is healthy enough the Chiefs should win this game. I want the Bills to win, but ultimately I think Kansas City will head to their second straight Super Bowl appearance. This matchup looks like it could be a barnburner, so I’ll give the Chiefs the edge.
Prediction: Kansas City Chiefs, 37-31