Heading into championship weekend, teams look to punch their tickets to Super Bowl 55

Mahomes, Rodgers look to carry on their season and win their conference

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courtesy of Stacy Revere/Getty Images/TNS

Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers leaves the field following the NFC Divisional Playoff game against the Los Angeles Rams at Lambeau Field on Jan. 16, 2021 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Rams 32-18.

Kevin Vera, Sports Editor

And then there were four. The divisional round left feelings of many different varieties. The injuries to both Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes were not what anybody wanted to see. Also, I can pretty much say that most of us almost shed a tear watching Drew Brees walk off that field.

Overall, the games gave us great football despite the twists and turns. The Packers were pretty dominant against the Rams. The Bills had a much easier time with Jackson being out of the game. There were some final chaotic minutes with Chad Henne saving Kansas City, but they still snagged a win. Even Tom Brady and the Bucs went past the Saints to the game where many people believed they would be.

Once again the NFL playoffs give us all kinds of action to enjoy.

We now wait for Sunday to come around to see what will be great quarterback match-ups on both sides. Tom Brady against Aaron Rodgers, the beloved vets trying to capture one more ring. Then Josh Allen against Patrick Mahomes. Bills mafia against Chiefs kingdom, the two young stars are trying to get a plane ticket to Tampa Bay on Feb. 7.

Sunday, January 24

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (#5) Versus Green Bay Packers (#1)

This Sunday will be a great battle of the NFC quarterbacks. Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers look to go head to head for the second time as both look to add one more win to their headline filled season.

Now the first thing that needs to be said is this game will not be the same as their earlier match-up back in week six when the Buccaneers won 38-10. Packers have grown and developed since that game and the Bucs know that. Both teams know what they are going up against this Sunday. This game is going to be about one thing. Whose defense will cause the most disruption between the other team’s coach and quarterback?

In these playoffs, we’ve seen both quarterbacks and their respective head coaches click on the same pages. Although it’s in very different ways when Bruce Arians listens to Brady, the boat keeps sailing and when Matt LaFleur creates fast efficient game plans for Rodgers, the Packers keep going. The defense for whoever is going to win this game needs to cause frustration and confusion between the head coach and quarterback.

Because of this, the little bit of edge goes to the Packers. After the Saints and Bucs game, you can see a bit of an odd tone in the Buccaneers passing game. With not much action from Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, along with an injured Antonio Brown, the Buccaneers did not win that game because of Brady passing the ball around. In part, they won thanks to Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones. Brady is going to work with Bruce Arians to try and test the Packers in the deep threat. That’s one key to what the Buccaneers need to do offensively.

The Packers on the other hand need to continue with the clicking offense they had against the Rams. They threw the ball around getting everyone involved and moved the ball easily against a great defense. Overall the Packers just look right now as the more consistent and fluid team. For weeks now just Packers just always seem to be on the same page and are getting things done on both sides of the football. Rodger’s drive to get back to the Super Bowl to try and win his second ring will definitely boost his morale, and therefore the rest of the team’s.

Prediction: Packers 33-27

Buffalo Bills (#2) versus Kansas City Chiefs (#1)

Obviously, the question here is Patrick Mahomes. You can’t put it any other way. When the face of the National Football League is possibly out and going through concussion protocol the week before the conference championship it has everyone checking their notifications to see the latest update on number fifteen. With all the current reports and all the testing being done on Mahomes, things indicate that he will put the pads on this Sunday.

Here’s the deal: the key to this game for both teams is to keep the opposing quarterback on the sidelines. Whenever Mahomes or Josh Allen have the ball and control the clock, things don’t go well for the opposing defense. Just look at the week six game. Kansas City did exactly this. They controlled the time of possession with a total time of 37:45 compared to Buffalo’s 22:15. This 15 minute time difference gave the Chiefs the time to run the football and burn that clock. Just look at rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire’s stat sheet that game. 26 carries and 161 yards.

Whoever wins this game is going to have a stronghold on that game clock and their number one running back is going to have a handful of carries. Coach Andy Reid knows this and certainly, this is one of the main arguments Coach Sean McDermott is bringing up to his staff. But I think Coach Reid edges out the Bills this game. He’s shown that ever since his Super Bowl win he is now fearless. The fourth-down play call to Tyreek Hill speaks on this take. I believe Coach Reid will use Darrel Williams, who had an absolutely great game against Cleveland, and make the young star in Josh Allen just sit and watch his defense play. Coach Reid is ready to defend that championship.

Prediction: Chiefs 30-28