We’re down to four.
A conference champion in both the AFC and NFC will be crowned Sunday. The Buffalo Bills will visit the reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs for a mid-afternoon clash, while the Green Bay Packers will host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for an early-evening tit.
Here are our over/under picks for both conference title games. The totals are provided by consensus data.
AFC Championship Game: Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs
The Over 50 didn’t come close to hitting in the Bills’ 17-3 win over the Baltimore Ravens. The Under 57 cashed in the Chiefs’ 22-17 triumph over the Cleveland Browns, though Kansas City played the final quarter and a half of that divisional-round game without Patrick Mahomes.
The Chiefs’ greatest weakness is their rush defense, but luckily for the AFC’s top-seeded team, the Bills effectively have no running game. Josh Allen and Co. likely will be throwing early and often at Arrowhead Stadium, and he might not find a ton of success. Kansas City only has allowed three passing performances of 300-plus yards this season.
As for the Chiefs, their offense didn’t look all that great against the Browns, even when Mahomes was under center. Cleveland features a porous defense, mind you, and Kansas City’s offensive stars effectively were coming off two weeks of rest. The Chiefs now are running into a Bills defense playing its best football of the campaign.
So despite this being a matchup of two of the league’s most high-powered passing offenses, we’re actually expecting relatively stout defensive showings from both sides.
NFC Championship Game: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Green Bay Packers
At long last, the football world finally will be able to enjoy a Tom Brady-Aaron Rodgers postseason duel.
Brady and Co. should feel confident rolling into Lambeau Field. The Bucs scored 30-plus points against the Washington Football Team and New Orleans Saints — two of the league’s stronger defensive teams — on the road. Tampa Bay’s rushing attack also was fairly potent in both games, which opened things up for Brady.
The Packers, meanwhile, dropped 32 points on the Los Angeles Rams, arguably the NFL’s best defensive team. The scary thing is, Rodgers likely would be the first to tell you it was an average offensive performance from Green Bay. If the Pack are playing even close to their best Sunday, the Bucs could be in big trouble.
Don’t put too much stock in how Tampa’s defense has looked thus far in the playoffs. Taylor Heinicke and a lightyears-past-his-prime Drew Brees aren’t exactly vaunted foes. Rodgers should be able to give this unit fits, but there’s no reason to believe TB12 won’t keep pace against a Green Bay defense that’s proven to be inconsistent.