The number two and one seeds showed last week in the NFC Divisional Round that a first-round bye in the playoffs matter. The New England Patriots, the Kansas City Chiefs, the Los Angeles Rams, and the New Orleans Saints all advanced to the next round. The Philadelphia Eagles, the Dallas Cowboys, the Indianapolis Colts, and the Los Angeles Chargers were knocked out of the playoffs last week.
With all of the teams that had a first-round bye advancing, no team from Wild Card Weekend has made it to the Super Bowl since the 2012 Baltimore Ravens (Super Bowl Champions). Championship weekend should be an excellent one in the NFL. The New Orleans Saints defeated the Los Angeles Rams 45-35 in Week 9. The New England Patriots defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 43-40 in Week 6.
A trip to Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta at Mercedes-Benz Stadium is on the line this week. The game will be played on Sunday February 3. I went 4-0 with my picks last week. My record this postseason is 5-3.
NFC: (2) Los Angeles Rams 28 (1) New Orleans Saints 31: Jared Goff and Drew Brees will air it out on Sunday in the NFC Championship Game. Goff doesn't have a true go to receiver like Brees does right now with Michael Thomas. Thomas torched the Rams earlier in the season and Marcus Peters was covering him. Aqib Talib did not play in that game and he might cover him. It honestly may not matter at all. Thomas caught 12 passes for 171 yards and a touchdown in a 20-14 win against the Philadelphia Eagles and he took over the game. Todd Gurley and C.J. Anderson both rushed for over 100 yards against the Dallas Cowboys. They will not have the same success on the ground this weekend. Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram will be the difference in the game.
AFC: (2) New England Patriots 13 (1) Kansas City Chiefs 16: When these two teams played each other back in October, it was a point festival. This time around it may not be that way because of how cold it is supposed to be. It will affect both Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes. Sony Michel, James White, and Rex Burkhead will be called up a lot for New England in the backfield in this game. Damien Williams and Darrel Williams need to come up big for Kansas City in the backfield in this game as well. Tyreek Hill might see some carries as well in this game. The Chiefs defense made Andrew Luck uncomfortable in cold weather. This defense can't play zone against the Patriots and they must play man-to-man and get after Tom Brady. The Patriots defense will be fundamentally sound and ready to go in this one. The difference in this game will be the turnover battle and field position.
Bold Predictions: 1. The Rams don't rush for a touchdown.
2. Keith Kirkwood catches two touchdowns and has 100 yards receiving for the Saints.
3. Sony Michel doesn't rush for 50 yards for the Patriots.
4. Patrick Mahomes doesn't throw more than 250 yards for the Chiefs.