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NFL Playoffs – Conference Championship Picks Preview

And then there were 4. That’s right ladies and gents, we’re down to the second to last game (that matters) of the 2018 season. New Blood, vs the Old Guard. The four highest scoring offences from the regular season. There are so many storylines, but ultimately it all comes down to 60 minutes on the field for each team and that goal of a place in Atlanta in 2 weeks time. Now I’m not one to play my own trumpet but, someone pointed out a piece of mine from September last year when speaking about the Chief’s win over the Steelers and I quote “I still like my prediction of Rams vs Chiefs Superbowl.” In all honesty, I’m not as confident now in that pick as I was back then, I could just as easily see a world where Tom and Drew face off in a Hell in a Cell winner takes all retirement match, but enough about that. Let’s actually take a look at the games.

Saints vs Rams

The 1 seed, vs the 2 seed, everything you want in these conference finals, no plucky underdog stories, no controversy letting a weaker side through, just the two best teams in the conference duking it out. We were lucky enough to have a preview for this match in week 9, that was won by the Saints 45-35. Now, the Rams had Kupp for that game and he was a huge part of the offence, and Gurley though ineffective wasn’t banged up. However, after splitting time with Anderson last week, it looks like he may be good to go. For New Orleans, it looks like TE Ben Watson may miss the game, being diagnosed with appendicitis, he will not be put on IR, probably retiring at the end of the year, and looking to play in the Superbowl if the Saints make it. The thing that concerns me for the Saints is that Brees was a different beast back in Week 9 throwing for 346 and 4 and the Rams not being able to stop Michael Thomas at all (12 catches 211 yards 1 TD). In the 8 games since that Brees has only been over 300 yards 3 times, and under 220, 4 times. Out of those 8 games, he’s only thrown multiple touchdowns 4 times too, with no more than 2 passing TDs in a game since Week 12. This game is the one where I actually don’t mind who wins, I’d love it to be the Saints because he deserves and second ring and McVay and Goff have many more years to go. But I gotta stick with my gut and it looks like I’m in the majority, with 61% of you guys thinking the Rams win too.

Oz’s Pick: Rams

Chiefs vs Patriots

Same as the last game, the 1 seed vs the 2 seed and the seasoned veteran vs the new Hotness. The more I doubt the Patriots, the more they prove me wrong and it’s now gotten to a point where I’m scared to do so. Every time I think they’re done they turn around and wallop the team they’re playing. Now, we also had a preview of this matchup earlier in the year which came down to the wire in a 43-40 victory for New England. Now at the time, I posited that if that game was played in KC, the Chiefs come away with the victory. Their defence is so much better at home than on the Road and I say this partly in jest, the Pats aren’t used to travelling in January. Freaky stat for you, if the Pats win this game, Brady will have the same amount of Career road playoff wins as Mark Sanchez… Let that sink in. Freaky Stat number 2, under Belichick the Patriots have only allowed their opponents to score 40 points 5 times. The most recent three, have all come from the Andy Reid lead Chiefs. Mahomes is the regular season MVP elect. He’s also First-Team All-Pro, as is Tyreek Hill (Flex), Travis Kelce and Mitchell Schwartz (Right Tackle). Chris Jones made Second-Team All-Pro, as did Tyreek Hill (Wide Receiver, yes he made both 1st and 2nd team). New England boasts only a single All-Pro in Cornerback Stephon Gilmore and even with that. There are reports of a possible snowstorm that could affect the game, which would be another point in Brady’s favour, who do you want? The arguably greatest QB of all time, who’s based in Massachusetts and is 13-2 in the playoffs in what could be considered inclement weather. Or the kid who’s in his first full pro season and played all his high school and college ball at home in Texas…? (That kid did have the second-best statistical season by a QB of all time though…) Just saying. I think we’re all on the hype train, as 72% of you think the Chiefs will win. I’m just saying, don’t be surprised if Brady does Brady things…

Oz’s Pick: Chiefs

That’s my take on the Conference Championship games this week, I will be back next week to dive into how it all went down and try build some hype for that Chiefs vs Rams superbowl I picked ;).

Ciao for now

Oz.

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