On Sunday, fans around the world will have an opportunity to watch the top four offenses in the National Football League battle each other for a spot in Super Bowl LIII. Unfortunately, for us Detroit Lions fans, we are stuck watching from home as we think about our chances next season.
The AFC Championship Game will feature Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs hosting Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, while the NFC Championship will include Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints welcoming in Todd Gurley and the Los Angeles Rams.
As far as my NFL betting predictions have gone so far in the playoffs, I started off hot going 3-1 in the Wild Card Round, followed by a 2-2 record in the Divisional Round. So, heading into the Championship Sunday I sit at 5-3, which is not awful, but I look to improve upon that mark before the Super Bowl.
So, let’s take a look at how I believe Sunday’s games will play out.
NFC Championship Game: Los Angeles Rams @ New Orleans Saints (-3.5)
When: Sunday, Jan. 20, 3:05 p.m. ET
Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans.
Line: Saints -3.5, O/U 57
In Week 9, the 8-0 Rams marched into New Orleans to take on the 6-1 Saints in what was a huge midseason matchup. Many billed the game as a preview of the NFC Championship game and those people were exactly right. When all was said and done, the Saints, who led 35-17 at the half, scored 10 points in the final 6:23 to win the game 45-35.
I expect much of the same on Sunday with both teams scoring almost at will in what is sure to be a shootout. The difference in the game will come at the quarterback position with veteran Drew Brees having the upper hand over the youngster, Jared Goff. Brees has been here before and he knows exactly what needs to be done to advance to the Super Bowl. The Rams will hang around but the Saints offense will be just too much for them to handle.
Prediction: Saints 34 Rams 27
AFC Championship Game: New England Patriots @ Kansas City Chiefs (-3)
When: Sunday, Jan. 20, 6:40 p.m. ET
Where: Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Mo.
Line: Chiefs -3, O/U 56
Like in the NFC, the AFC Championship Game is a rematch from earlier in the season. In Week 6, the Patriots hosted the Chiefs in what was without a doubt one of the best games of the 2018 regular season. After losing back-to-back games against the Jacksonville Jaguars and Detroit Lions, the Patriots rebounded with wins over the Miami Dolphins and Indianapolis Colts with a matchup against the undefeated Chiefs staring them in the face. In that game, the Patriots took a 24-9 lead into the half but the Chiefs stormed back in the 3rd quarter to cut the New England lead to 27-26. After a back and forth battle in the fourth, the Patriots had the ball last and used a 28-yard field goal to win 43-40.
Unlike the Week 6 matchup, the AFC Championship Game will be played at Arrowhead in freezing cold weather. Though I do not believe the elements will favor one team more than the other, the home field advantage certainly will. Tom Brady and company proved last week against the Chargers that they are not dead but Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offense will be the deciding factor in this one. Look for another battle deep into the fourth quarter with Kansas City winning on a last-second field goal to make the game a push according to Vegas.
Prediction: Chiefs 30 Patriots 27