The depressing fact that we only have two more football Sundays left is starting to set in. If you need to gamble as a way of managing this pain like I do, here are my picks for the Conference Championship games:
New Orleans -3.5 vs. LA Rams
We’ve seen how important home field advantage can be during the playoffs, and I think that gives New Orleans a huge advantage here. If you look at the home / road splits for the Rams’ passing offense, the numbers are staggering.
In Los Angeles, Jared Goff threw 22 touchdowns, 3 interceptions, and 2662 yards this season. On the road, those stats drop down to 10 touchdowns, 9 interceptions and 1845 yards. The Rams’ rushing attack actually improves on the road, but even without Sheldon Rankins, I think the Saints defense will sell out to stop the run.
Ultimately, this game will likely come down to one of these quarterbacks making a play late. I’m just not sure if Goff is ready for that moment, especially on the road. Drew Brees is long overdue to make another Super Bowl, and I think he plays his best game of the season on Sunday.
Saints win and cover 31-26.
Kansas City -2.5 vs. New England
I’m buying half a point to bring the line down from -3, because I think the Chiefs win this game by exactly a field goal. Once again, I think home field with Kansas City is a significant edge.
The Patriots have not been the same team on the road this season. They’ve lost to teams like the Jaguars, Lions and Titans, so going into Arrowhead will be their biggest challenge so far. I also think the fact that the Chiefs lost to the Patriots in New England and now get a rematch at home is important.
I do see a scenario where the Pats run the ball 45 times, own the time of possession, and find a way to win this game, but I’m not betting against the Chiefs at home. Their pass rush really stepped up against the Colts last week and Patrick Mahomes continues to play like an MVP.
Give me the Chiefs to win and barely cover in a close game, 27-24.
Divisional Round Record: 2-2
Season Record: 44-48-1