As a Bills fan, I did not like the outcome of the divisional round. It sucked. Hard. I’m still in my feels about it so I will not dwell on it too long. That being said, if these upcoming games are anything like last week, then we are in for a treat.
So, let’s get to it.
AFC Championship Game
Bengals at Chiefs, 15:05 ET
Previously on Bengals vs Chiefs (Week 17, this season)
The last time these teams met, it was a shootout with the Bengals coming out on top 34-31, clinching the AFC North. Since then, they beat out both the Raiders and Titans to reach their first championship game since 1989.
For the Chiefs their road was a little different. The loss to the Bengals knocked them out of their spot as the number one seed in the conference. In these playoffs, they have been storming back with a huge win over the Steelers, and a win over the Bills (she writes while in tears) in what was by far the best football game I have ever seen. This win sent the Chiefs to their fourth consecutive AFCCG.
This is going to be a fun matchup.
Bold Prediction #1 – All eyes on the QBs
Both Mahomes and Burrow have been having monster seasons, ranking fourth and sixth respectively for passing yards and sixth and eight for passing touchdowns. Their last meeting proved this, with Mahomes throwing for 259 yards and two TDs and Burrow throwing for 446 yards and four TDs.
So, for the Championship, they will combine for over 600 passing yards in the game, nine total touchdowns and no interceptions. With the way the Chiefs offense has been rolling, and their defense allowing Allen to throw for 329 yards, I see no reason why these figures cannot be reached. A very high scoring affair.
Bold Prediction #2 – Bengals stifle ground attack
Their last matchup, the Chiefs seemingly used all offensive personnel in the backfield and it worked. With a mobile QB, CEH, and McKinnon playing integral parts in the run game, the Bengals cannot ignore their ground game. They seem to be addressing that, however, with the signing of veteran Damion Square.
The Bengals know what’s at stake and what the plan of action is. I see no reason why they cannot be successful. They’ll allow only 70 rushing yards all game, over 40 of which will come from Mahomes.
Bold Prediction #3 – Burrow eats dirt
The Bengals didn’t learn their lesson after Burrow’s season ending injury last year. They have left their franchise QB with zero protection once again. The poor guy was sacked nine times last week. Nine. And once again, I think Burrow is in for a tough afternoon.
Chris Jones, Frank Clark, and Melvin Ingram are all ready to feast. Jones and Clark already landed a few hits on the young QB in their last game, so I don’t expect anything less. Burrow will be sacked at least five times in this game.
The Chiefs come away with a one TD win, sending them to the Super Bowl for a third consecutive season.
NFC Championship Game
49ers at Rams, 6:40 ET
Previously on Rams vs 49ers (Weeks 10 and 18, this season)
This division rivalry, rubber match is promising to bring all the drama. This season the 49ers have won both of their matchups, can they make it a third? Week 10 saw the Niners blow past the Rams in a dominating 31-10 victory, whilst week 18 saw a more humbled overtime victory 27-24.
The Niners have been the underdogs in their road to the championship game so far, with a win over the fearsome Cowboys and knocking the Super Bowl favorite Packers out of contention. Whilst the Rams have not been as overlooked, destroying the Cardinals and upsetting the Buccaneers. The Niners have a lot to prove, whilst the Rams would love to play in a Super Bowl at home.
Bold Prediction #1 – Defence Wins Championships
Never has this statement been so true. It’s no secret that whist these offenses feature some of the most exciting players in the game, they are not regarded very highly. But those defenses? Whew. The Rams allowed just three points in the first half, the following 24 can very much be attributed by awful offensive play. Whilst the 49ers gave up a total of just 54 yards in the second half, only letting the Packers into the endzone once in the entire game.
These defenses are gonna show up in huge fashion. The Rams will sack Jimmy G at least three times and the Niners will stop the Rams from gaining over 70 rushing yards. I cannot wait to see what these defenses will do.
Bold Prediction #2 – Deebo Samuel and Jimmy G write their futures
Deebo Samuel has emerged as a dual threat at a time when the Niners desperately needed it. Just last week he had 39 rushing yards and 44 receiving yards. With him entering the final year of his contract next season, he is basically already signing his extension. Jimmy G is in pretty much the same boat entering his final year. The Niners have more a reason to cut him with just $1.4M dead cap opposed to paying him the $27M he’s owed in the final year.
If the 49ers end their season on Sunday, these guys still need to prove their worth. For Samuel, it is money talks. For Garoppolo, it is convincing his team they need him instead of turning to young buck Trey Lance. As such, Samuel will have over 120 total yards and a TD and Jimmy G will have close to 250 passing yards and at least two TD.
Bold Prediction #3 – Matthew Stafford proves haters wrong
When the Goff/Stafford trade broke, I scoffed at those who instantly propelled the Rams into Super Bowl favorites. Now, not so much. He’s made quite a difference with this team; he has the third most passing yards at 4886 and finished with just two fewer TDs than Brady. I was very wrong about him. The playoffs have escaped Stafford during his time with the Lions, only making three appearances and losing all of them. Now, he already has two wins.
With just one season left on his contract, this SB feels like it’s now or never for Stafford, he is never been in a position this good. He is going to come out slinging, chasing that ring like never before. Over 300 passing yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions.
The Rams will win this one, it will be a battle from start to finish, especially with these defenses. The Rams offense will prevail, a two score win over San Francisco.
If the football gods love us, these championship games will be just as good as divisional round weekend. The playoffs have been great so far, let us hope it can keep up.