There are just three games left in this NFL season, and two of them take place today. We’ve reached the Conference Championships round of the NFL playoffs. Many people think this is the best week of football all season.
In the last two weeks I picked one upset each week. Not this week. This week, there’s no place like home.
The 14-4 Baltimore Ravens are on an epic roll. Outside of the last week of the season, when they rested their starters, it has been two and a half months since they lost a game. The Ravens haven’t lost a game outside of their division in more than four months. They come into this game with the best record in the NFL and a well deserved #1 seed. The Ravens haven’t allowed more than 19 points in a game in a month and a half, and they have scored at least 19 points (outside of the last game of the regular season when they rested their starters) in all but one game all season. Their defense is ranked 1st in the NFL in points allowed, turnovers generated, net yards per passing attempt, and rushing touchdowns allowed. On offense the Ravens are ranked 6th in yards, 4th in points, and 1st in rushing yards. They have lost the turnover battle just four times all season. On top of all that, the Ravens will be getting All Pro tight end Mark Andrews back from injury today.
The 13-6 Kansas City Chiefs just don’t seem to match up, at least on paper. The Chiefs have an outstanding defense, ranked 2nd in the NFL in both points and yards. But they have struggled against the run, ranking just 18th in rushing yards allowed and a dismal 24th in yards allowed per attempt. That does not bode well against the most prolific rushing attack in the NFL. On offense, Patrick Mahomes is a wizard, but even Mahomes has struggled much of the year with a supporting cast in the passing attack that has been underwhelming at best.
I don’t really see why the Ravens are only four point favorites here. With the home field advantage this feels like a game they should win by a touchdown or more. I’m taking the Ravens to win this one relatively easily.
In the NFC Championship game, the 14-5 Detroit Lions visit the 13-5 San Francisco 49ers. The Lions are the sentimental choice for most outside of the Bay Area, but they’re not the betting choice. The 49ers are favored by a touchdown, and for good reason. The 49ers have home field advantage. They have the better set of weapons on offense. They have by far the better overall defense and the better passing defense. The Lions don’t have any significant advantages over the 49ers in any aspect of the game. At home, this looks like a fairly easy victory for the #1 seeded 49ers.
I’ll be predicting the outcome of all of the games throughout the post-season, just as I’ve done each week of the regular season all year. Last week I went 2-2 in the Divisional Round. That brought my post-season record to 6-4. Let’s see how I do this weekend.
Embedded below are my picks for the Conference Championship games. These picks are just a simple who wins the game deal. 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.