Championship Sunday. We’ve got two great matchups on tap to determine which two teams get to meet in Atlanta in two weeks for the big game. I think we have the makings of two exciting games this weekend, and no matter who wins, we’ll end up with another good game in two weeks.
Just consider the QB story for the big game in Atlanta. Will it be a battle of two all-time greats, a youth vs. experience showdown, or a showcase for two bright young stars? Considering the quality of the individuals involved, you can’t complain.
For the city of Atlanta, the thought of seeing division rival New Orleans or the heart-stealing Pats crowned champs must be horrifying. Atlantans would most likely prefer an LA-KC tilt, a rematch of the much-ballyhooed orgy of scoring from Week 11.
I say, whatever we get should be good, but first we have to get through the last of the preliminaries. I’m very much looking forward to seeing these two games. I’m also hoping that I actually get to see them, as we are expecting a huge storm on Sunday, and I fear a power outage.
So, fingers crossed that we get a couple of good games on Sunday, and fingers crossed that the power stays on. Wherever you are, have fun, and be safe.
LAR at New Orleans
I said it last week, and I’ll say it again: Aqib Talib is a big key to the outcome of this game. LA has to find a way to limit the production of Michael Thomas. Thomas has been an absolute game-wrecker all season, and he was in peak form last week. If Talib can go one-on-one for most of the game, either against Thomas or another receiver, allowing LA to double-cover Thomas, and if LA’s DL can get pressure on Brees quickly, New Orleans will be somewhat limited in what they can accomplish offensively. With CJ Anderson, running as well as he has been, in tandem with Todd Gurley, LA’s offence is playing at its highest level since the loss of Cooper Kupp. I’m a bit worried about Jared Goff playing in this hostile, loud playoff environment, but if he holds up, I like LA’s chances a lot. Winner: LAR
New England at Kansas City
I think we all know what to expect from KC, rightfully favoured in this contest despite having lost to New England this season. Patrick Mahomes is amazing, the offence is built to score points quickly, and the defence lives and dies with its pass rush. When you have a team playing as well as KC is, and you beat yourself like Indy did last week, well, you end up getting drubbed. Bill Belichick’s Pats teams don’t typically beat themselves. But can they beat KC in KC?
I don’t think the Pats will have much trouble on offence. Their whole offensive identity is about nullifying pass rushers by using quick passes, effective running, and play action. The Pats will have to be especially disciplined to be effective on offense; the unforgiving noise level in KC often causes opposing offences to kill themselves with pre-snap penalties.
Defensively, New England has the unenviable task of stopping Travis Kelce and slowing down Tyreek Hill. Stephon Gilmore will have to be at his best, and he’s definitely up to the task. Don’t be surprised to see the Pats in dime or even quarters formations at times, with an extra Safety in specifically to help out with Kelce.
It will require a superlative effort for New England to outlast Kansas City in this one. I think they’re up to the challenge, and I’m looking forward to a good game. Winner: New England