Well, here we are, down to the NFL’s final four with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line. On the AFC side, the Kansas City Chiefs host the New England Patriots. In the NFC, the Rams will take on the Saints inside the Super Dome. Both feature rematches from earlier in the season, however with more on the line this time around. Here is a look at how Sunday could play out.
Despite being the AFC representative in the Super Bowl three times in the last four years and winning twice; the Patriots are viewed as the underdog to the Kansas City Chiefs. The Patriots had their struggles on the road this season, going 3-5 the lowest mark the Patriots had on the road since 2009, where they went 2-6 (as reported by Jordan Raanan). At the end of the day, they are still the Patriots. As long as Bill Belichick remains the Coach and Brady is still the quarterback, the Patriots are the last team most would consider being an underdog.
The Chiefs endured a great season, behind Patrick Mahomes NFL leading 50 touchdown season and the number one scoring offense earning the AFC’s number one seed, and attempt to reach the franchise’s first Super Bowl since 1969.
A lot of the attention will be on the explosiveness of the Chiefs offense. However, it was the Chiefs defense who delivered in the clutch shutting down the red hot Colts, to just 13 points on just 266 total yards. While Kansas City has the 24th best scoring defense, in nine home games including the playoffs, the most points the Chiefs allowed at home this season was 28 all the way back to Week one against the Chargers.
The Patriots, on the other hand, came out looking as efficient as they seemingly always do at this time of year, and destroyed the Chargers 41-28. The Patriots moved the ball with ease, on the Chargers defense scoring on seven of their eleven drives. New England’s dominance had a feel of a “we’re still the boss and if you want the AFC, come and take it” type of message. Once Brady and the offense found their rhythm in the first quarter; the game was essentially over.
Sunday will be the second time these two met, New England won in a Week 6 shootout 43-40. Weather forecasts show temperatures in the low 20’s and a wind chill temperature, of -1 degrees. While both teams are no stranger to playing in chilly weather, the temperatures surely will affect how the two teams operate offensively. Coupled with Bill Belichick having seen what Patrick Mahomes can do from the first meeting I expect adjustments to be made, to make the second-year quarterback and first-year starter uncomfortable.
The Chiefs future is bright with Mahomes at quarterback and coached by Andy Reid. The future, however, is not now, as the Patriots will go on the road and advance to their fourth Super Bowl in five seasons. The second meeting will be close, New England 28 Kansas City 24.
The Saints and Rams will be a much warmer game weather-wise, as both will be playing in the cozy Super Dome. The Rams rushing duo of Todd Gurley and CJ Anderson ran all over the Cowboys 5th ranked run defense to a tune of 273 yards and 5.7 yards per attempt; en route to a 30-22 victory. The Saints did not have their best game against the Eagles, but in the end, the Saints defense came up with a huge turnover to end a potential game-winning drive and seal a 20-14 victory.
The Rams and Saints were locked into a barn burner Week 9, with the Saints winning. As both these two finished second and third in the league in points per game, the Saints number second and Rams three; the defenses hold the key in this game. Whichever defense can step up and get the key stop, will be the defense that boosts their team’s chances of advancing. Knowing the Saints will be home, and the crowd will be off the charts, the game will be close with New Orleans 34 Rams 27.
This weekend will be a treat for fans, as the top four scoring offenses, and the four best coaches in the league will be on display. As great as Kansas City has been all season, betting against Belichick and Brady in January is not wise. Especially against an inexperienced quarterback. A season after getting their hearts ripped out in Minnesota in last year’s playoffs, and MVP caliber season from Drew Brees and the number one seed; the Saints have that Aurora of a team destined to win it all.
Both games figure to be great, entertaining games leaving the fans as the biggest winners. The big question is, what will President Trump serve the Super Bowl winner? Popeyes, Chowder, In N Out Burger, or some world-famous Kansas City Barbecue?