NFL Championship Sunday Predictions (2019)


Forget that bloated marketing event the NFL calls the “Super Bowl.” Real football fans know that the best playoff games of the season will be played this Sunday. The number one seed New Orleans Saints host the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC, while AFC title game feature New England Patriots traveling to Arrowhead Stadium to battle the Kansas City Chiefs. Jared Goff vs Drew Brees, Tom Brady against Patrick Mahomes. Let’s breakdown the games and dig deeper into some of the key matchups that will decide the outcomes.


Who’s Betting?

We are vivacious consumers of NFL news, plus we also do some amateur data crunching to get ready for the weekend games. Both the trends and the analytics predict the home teams will hold serve in the Conference Championships.

Home teams are 10-0 straight up and 9-1 against the spread in the last five years as we confirmed via Sports Betting Dime. While the Rams were a solid 6-2 on the road this year, the Saints have never lost at home in the playoffs in the Drew Brees/Sean Payton era and they are ranked higher by both Massey-Peabody and Pro Football Focus. Full disclosure, Brees was starting QB in my fantasy league.

The Chiefs, meanwhile went 7-1 at home, rank first in DVOA, and fourth in Massey-Peabody. They get to face a Patriots team that was just 3-5 away from Gillette. The most likely Super Bowl matchup is, therefore, the Saints vs Chiefs. Plus there’s reasonable value on a two-team parlay at +167 this Sunday.


Los Angeles Rams at New Orleans Saints 3:05 PM EST Saints favored — (-3.5, over/under 56.5)

Lost in the frenzy of their 14-point comeback against the Eagles in the divisional round of the NFL Playoffs was the devastating injury to the Saints’ terrific run-stopper DT Sheldon Rankins.

Rankins, who went down with a torn Achilles, clogs up the middle of the field and would have played a huge role in containing Rams’ RB Todd Gurley II. USA Today has a breakdown of four Saints defensive players who need to step up in Rankins’ absence. Gurley will be hard to stop, so the Saints should adjust their gameplan and try to outscore the Rams.

RB Alvin Kamara needs to be fed the ball early and often. Getting Kamara matched up against the Rams linebackers gives New Orleans a decided advantage. The Rams will try to contain Drew Brees’ favorite target WR Michael Thomas with returning CB Aqib Talib, but this season’s potential MVP has multiple weapons at his disposal. We predict the Saints will be too much for the Rams. They will win by more than four points and move on to the Super Bowl.

Courtesy: Getty Images

New England Patriots at Kansas City Chiefs 6:40 PM EST Chiefs favored — (-3, over/under 56)

Can Patrick Mahomes, the young stud, finally take down the Belichick/Brady evil empire? We are leaning yes. In their regular season matchup, the Chiefs may have lost, but they burned the Patriots with big plays from WR Tyreek Hill all day. For the most part, the Patriots were able to contain TE Travis Kelce and the Chiefs’ running game. This time around, we predict Belichick will play more zone and force Mahomes to check the ball down. Chiefs’ RB Spencer Ware should have a busy day catching the ball out of the backfield.

But keep this factor in mind, in their regular season matchup, the Patriots were at home and had WR Josh Gordon on the field. Sunday will be another story. The crowd noise at Arrowhead will impact the Pats’ ability to run their offense efficiently and allow Chiefs’ pass rushers to get home.

Also, the Chiefs are a different defense at home. While Brady still has Julian Edelman, Gronk, and their running backs by committee, Brady’s missing a deep passing threat. We predict the Patriots will have a difficult time scoring. Further, if the Chiefs want to shut down the Brady attack once for all, they must collapse the pocket up the middle and score touchdowns instead of field goals. Our pick…Chiefs win 24-20.

Courtesy: NFL