This is my fifth Conference Championship Sunday preview blog, so hopefully these teams can lay the wood in honor of DOL. As a football fan, how can you not be pumped for these matchups? We've got four of the six highest scoring teams (including the entire top 3) in the league battling it out for two spots in Super Bowl at two of the most historic venues in the NFL.
In one game the QBs are a combined 80 year old and the other features QBs whose combined ages aren't even 50 (maybe if you add up the days, but I'm not wasting time with that shit lol). Even with the #11 and 12 teams in my personal Super Bowl power ranking still alive, I cannot wait. Hopefully #2 and 4 from that list get the job done, but I'm hoping for fun, competitive games. With only three games remaining this season, I don't want any of them to be
With the exception of last year, where I was fading teams I wanted to see lose, I've done a fairly good job picking winners for Championship Sunday 2016: 2-0, 2017: 1-1, 2018: 2-0, 2019: 0-2. This year is full of my favorite buzzword in sports; narratives. Before we get into all those, let's show some love to refs for Conference Championship Sunday as well. It's a big day for the zebras too; like the players, they earned it.
As for our two Week 6 rematches, here we go, one more time, everybody's feeling fine (except Patrick Mahomes). Since this is posting so close to kickoff I'm gonna try to keep it short.
NFC Championship Game: 13-5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 14-3 Green Bay Packers (-3)
Lambeau Field. FOX 3:05 PM.
In Week 6, the Packers held a quick 10-0 lead before allowing 38 straight points in their biggest defeat in an otherwise magnificent regular season. I remember it quite well because I took Bucs live ML.
It's nice of the NFL to schedule the senior league game first. Tom Brady has been in the NFL so long that when he played in his first Conference Championship Game (2001), the Packers and Buccaneers were both in the now defunct NFC Central. Since Aaron Rodgers sat for the first three years of his career, I feel like we sometimes forget that he's 37 years old.
Well, that 37 year old Aaron Rodgers has sure balled out this season, he'll likely win his 3rd MVP, but I think he cares much more about improving his 1-3 record in CCGs and getting back to his first Super Bowl in a decade. Tom Brady knows a thing or two about Super Bowl droughts. While he made it to two more Super Bowls between his 10 year championship cold streak, he was able to win that elusive "next ring" at age 37, 10 years after his last.
This is a game full of studs, we can talk about them until the cows who produce the cheese that Wisconsin is so famous for come home, but this matchup is a massive legacy game for both QBs.
For Tom Brady, this would only be even more icing on the "I'm the greatest to ever do it cake". He's playing in his 14th Conference Championship Game, no other QB has appeared in more than seven. To lead the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a Super Bowl in year one, given all the COVID hurdles of this season, without Bill Belichick would be the ultimate feather in his TB12 Hat.
Of all the QBs playing this week, Aaron Rodgers has the most to lose/play for and it's not even close. Mahomes will be back, Josh Allen has a bright future and Tom Brady is like a billionaire at this point, he's set for life; he doesn't need to do anything else to cement his legacy. He's already the GOAT. Winning this year obviously wouldn't hurt his legacy, but he's playing with house money. The same cannot be said for A-a-ron.
Sure, Aaron Rodgers has won a Super Bowl, but if he retires with only one ring/appearance that's going to be a huge stain on his legacy. I'm not saying it's fair, but what in life is? Even Brett Favre got back to a second Super Bowl. Maybe if Rodgers already had a second ring he would've been included in the NFL 100 list? A second Super Bowl ring simply means more to Rodger's legacy than a seventh does for Brady.
The Bucs wanted the Saints in the playoffs after losing to them twice in the regular season and I feel like the Packers are in the exact same boat. Rodgers is in the zone and wants a second chance against a defense that picked him off twice and sacked him five times. It's going to be cold, I don't think the Bucs are ready for the Frozen Tundra of Lambeau Field. Brady might be, but I don't know about the rest of the Bucs. Sure I'm a little biased against the Bucs, but in his first home NFC Championship Game I think Rodgers goes off.
AFC Championship Game: 15-3 Buffalo Bills at 15-2 Kansas City Chiefs (-3)
Arrowhead Stadium. 6:40 PM CBS.
The last time the Buffalo Bills were in an AFC Championship Game the league year was 1993 and Joe Montana was quarterbacking the Chiefs. Prior to 2018 that was also the Chiefs last appearance in a CCG and now they're hosting the AFCCG for the third straight year. Only two teams in NFL history have hosted three straight CCGs and both were coached by Andy Reid (2002-2004 Eagles; 2018-2020 Chiefs).
I am worried about how one-sided the Bills offense has become as of late, they only have 19 non-QB runs in through two playoff games. It's going to be hard to sustain long drives and keep the ball out of Patrick Mahomes hands playing that way, but when you're boasting the league's second highest scoring offense obviously something's working.
The big story going into the game is the status of Patrick Mahomes. Everybody on earth knew even if he brain was bleeding out of his ears onto the base of afraux-hawk he's playing in this game. The question is how effective will he be? I'm not really expecting to see him slow down much, but I am curious if the Chiefs are going to take his running plays out of their game sheet. He's still battling turf-toe as well.
In Week 6 the Chiefs and CEH ran all over the Bills, but he's not at full strength and might not even see the field today. Those are not your present day Bills. They're a Hail Murray away from a 12 game winning streak and last week they held the unanimous MVP to three points.
The Chiefs have been sleepwalking for what feels like two months. They haven't covered since Week 8. When you combine the injuries Mahomes is battling, Butker's struggles and how well the Bills are playing; they haven't been great in the playoffs, but they've still been getting it done. I think just like those early 2000's Eagles, these Chiefs are going to be 1-2 in those home CCGs. I've been banging the Chiefs aren't making back to the Super Bowl drum all season and I'm going down like Keith Moon on Bills ML.