This weekend the NFL playoffs continue with the Conference Championship Games. After going a perfect 6 - 0 in the wild card round, I fell back to earth with a thud last week, putting up a 1-3 stinker. That brings my playoff record to 7 - 3. Here are my picks for the Conference Championship Round of the playoffs. All odds are courtesy of our friends at DraftKings Sportsbook. For my picks, these are just who wins the game deals. Odds do not factor in. DISCLAIMER: This is just for fun. I make no claims to actually being any good at this. Anyone who chooses to bet according to my picks will likely prove the old maxim, a fool and his money are soon parted.
Cincinnati Bengals at Kansas City Chiefs. The Bengals are on a roll. They have won five of their last six games, including a huge 34 - 31 win over the Kansas City Chiefs a few weeks ago. The Bengals’ defense, mediocre for much of the year, has really come together recently, holding opponents to 21 points or less in five of their last six games. Joe Burrow has emerged as a rising star at quarterback, and he has one of the best set of offensive weapons in the NFL. This is a dangerous Bengals team, but I don’t think they will beat the Chiefs.
The Kansas City Chiefs are even hotter than the Bengals. The Chiefs have won 11 of their last 12 games. Their only loss since October came at the hands of the Bengals. However, that game was in Cincinnati. This one will be in Kansas City. Big difference. The Chiefs’ offense has been unstoppable of late, scoring 28 or more points in each of their last seven games, and averaging more than 37 points per game over that stretch. The Chiefs just dismantled the best defense in the NFL against the Buffalo Bills last week, to the tune of 42 points. They should have no problem doing the same against a much less distinguished Bengals’ defense. I don’t think the Bengals’ offense, which has scored more than 34 points just three times this year, will be able to keep up in a likely shootout. Chiefs over the Bengals.
San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Rams. In some ways, on paper, the Rams are the better team. They won 12 games in the regular season to the 49ers 10. The Rams have Matt Stafford, a much better quarterback than the 49ers’ Jimmy Garoppolo. However, the Rams went 4-5 against playoff teams this year; the 49ers went 6-4. The 49ers also swept the Rams in their two meetings this year, and they have won six straight against the Rams. In terms of yards gained and yards allowed, the 49ers have the better offense and the better defense. The Rams have won seven of their last eight games; the 49ers have won six of seven and 9 of their last 11. In the end, the NFL is often about the matchups, and for whatever reason, the 49ers just seem to have the Rams’ number. 49ers over the Rams in an upset special.