Conference Championship Sunday kicks off at 3:05 PM and what has been an exhausting and exciting season is finally coming to an end. The two matchups feature some of the greatest quarterbacks in the NFL right now. The NFC matchup is a battle between two seasoned veterans, while the AFC matchup showcases the two brightest young stars that may take their place one day. Check out our breakdown on each team and best picks for the two games that are sure to be unforgettable.
NFC: Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Green Bay Packers (3:05 PM @ Lambeau Field)
Rodgers has had a career season, posting a better stat line than his MVP season back in 2011; and he’s only been becoming more dangerous. The connection between him and Davante Adams has been scary for any opposing defense. Despite the tough defensive matchup, Adams still put up 9 receptions for 66 yards and a TD against one of the league’s best Jalen Ramsey last week. In addition to the connection those two have, Rodgers has been using other unexpected weapons as threats down the field. Robert Tonyan Jr., an undrafted tight end from Indiana, has caught 11 TDs from Rodgers this season. Now we all know the Packers passing offense is dangerous, so whether or not they can get the run game going against the No. 1 rush defense in the league is the big question. The Packers have been able to get Aaron Jones loose lately, and that allows them to utilize play-action calls to their full advantage. With Aaron Rodgers being ranked the No. 1 play-action quarterback in the league, that may be the key.
Tom Brady. This dude is a bad MFer. A victory tomorrow would give him the same amount of NFC Championships as Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees, after just one season in the NFC. What a feat to add to his nine AFC Championships. As much as I dislike the guy, he’s incredible. However, he didn’t have to do much last week considering the Bucs defense took control forcing 3 interceptions out of Drew Brees and ending his career with a 35% passer rating in his final game. Additionally, the #1 ranked rush defense of the regular season had no problem limiting Alvin Kamara to under 90 yards. There’s no question that the Tampa Bay defense is legit, but can Brady and his stacked WR core get the ball down the field more successfully than last week?
The Match-Up: Now we all remember how week 5 went when the Buccaneers trampled over the Packers, but these are two very different teams. Both teams are on +6 win streaks, the Packers have defensively improved and Rodgers has only been heating up. This game should be close, and it should be fun to watch. A slight edge should be given to the Packers because of home-field advantage, one extra day of rest, and Rodgers playing the best football in the league. Nonetheless, this one should be a shootout.
My Pick: Packers -3.5, Over 52.5
I’m a Green Bay fan from Minnesota, I love the controversy. I’ve enjoyed having all my buddies who are Vikings fans have to watch Green Bay win all season. I’m hoping this thrill can continue Sunday. Fuck Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers is the GOAT; I’m throwing this month's grocery money on the Green and Gold.
AFC: Buffalo Bills vs Kansas City Chiefs (6:40 PM @ Arrowhead Stadium)
The Bills are in a conference championship game for the first time in almost 30 years. Led by Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs, the Bills have had an explosive offense averaging 30.3 points a game this season. This team can score, and in entertaining fashion. Their passing game is dangerous and with no injuries in their wide receiver core this week, get ready to see Allen air it out. One thing to note is the lack of a run game, they only handed off the ball 9 times last week against Baltimore which could be a downfall in their attack against KC. On the other side of the ball, defensive coordinator Lezlie Frazier is going to have his hands full. He brilliantly shut down one of the best rushing offenses in last week's matchup by utilizing the blitz, but he’ll have to come with a new game plan because statistically, the Chiefs perform best against the blitz.
The big question after last week's game was: Will Patrick Mahomes be cleared to play for another trip to the Super Bowl? Chad Henne in an AFC championship game would be a magical sight. A seasoned backup finally gets his shot. However, Chiefs fans everywhere would rather have their MVP under center and they got their wish. As of Friday, Patrick Mahomes has been cleared and KC plans on starting him against the Bills. Something to note offensively is the four lost points due to Harrison Butker’s missed FG and PAT. Had the Browns been able to capitalize, Butker could have cost them their ticket to this week's game. One final shoutout is that Andy Reid is coaching his 3rd AFC Championship in a row and two wins away from back-to-back Super Bowl rings: Legend.
It’s Patrick Mahomes in the playoffs, you gotta favor Kansas City right? The Chiefs have been the team to beat for some years now; Buffalo may be the team to do it. This game will be determined by whoever can keep their offense on the field the longest. Two of the best quarterbacks in the league head to head; this is going to be some A1 television.
My Pick: Bills +3
Bills Mafia all the way. Love an underdog, I got my case of beer and a folding table ready. To be truthful, I just don’t want the Packers to have to play the Chiefs in the Super Bowl. I want a high scoring, entertaining game; none of that 3 points bs like Baltimore last week.