And now, it’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for. Let’s make some picks for Sunday’s conference championship games.
Also, as a side note: don’t actually take my gambling advice too seriously, because I’ve been an absolute trainwreck this postseason. There are reasons why I don’t legitimately gamble: I’m terrible at it.
(Home teams in caps, and lines courtesy of OddsShark.com)
SAINTS (-3.5) over Rams
Three months ago, I would’ve taken Los Angeles in this game in a heartbeat. When Jared Goff was cooking, making stellar passes to guys like Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods, or when Todd Gurley was chewing up yardage like he was at an All-You-Can-Eat buffet, you couldn’t have paid me to bet against this Rams offense.
But late in the season, every team seems to reveal its true colors. That’s when you come to realize that Drew Brees and the Saints are a phenomenal home team (under head coach Sean Payton, the Saints are 6-0 in home playoff games). They were the all-around best team in the NFL this year, and Brees is one of the all-time great quarterbacks the league has ever seen.
As exciting and as thrilling as the Rams are, bet against New Orleans at home at your own risk.
Prediction: Saints 28, Rams 21
Patriots (+3.5) over CHIEFS
I’ve been thinking about this game all week long, and my head is telling me to pick Kansas City.
The Chiefs are the better team. Younger, more dynamic quarterback. More effective and reliable pieces on offense. Arguably the best home field advantage in football — a crowd that will make it an excruciatingly long day for the Patriots.
And yet, I’m clinging to hope that Kansas City’s defense will revert back to its old ways and crumble at the sight of Sony Michel charging at them at full force, that Andy Reid will find a way to screw things up in the fourth quarter (as he often does in playoff games), and that Tom Brady will just adamantly refuse to surrender his throne to Patrick Mahomes for one more year.
As I usually do when the Pats are involved, I’m picking with my heart instead of my head.
Prediction: Patriots 24, Chiefs 21
Last week: 1-3