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NFL conference championship picks: Brady v Rodgers, and a Chiefs shock

Two embellished veterans face off at Lambeau Area, whereas the perfect of the following era play in Kansas Metropolis. Who makes the Tremendous Bowl? Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers met earlier this season and the Buccaneers emerged as victors. {Photograph}: Mark LoMoglio/AP Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Inexperienced Bay PackersSunday, 3.05pm ET/8.05pm GMT What the Buccaneers must do to win: Surprisingly for 2 quarterbacks who’ve dominated the NFL for a lot of the century, there isn’t plenty of historical past to go on between Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers – this will likely be solely their fourth assembly as starters. Brady received their earlier recreation, a 38-10 beatdown in Week 6 of this season, when the protection harried Rodgers all day, sacking him 5 occasions. Rodgers, who has been principally flawless since, is unlikely to be bullied once more although. So Tampa Bay might should beat the Packers in a shootout, hoping their formidable offensive weapons all click on without delay. That can put strain on backup Bucs guard Aaron Stinnie, who made his first ever NFL begin in opposition to the Saints final week (and did fairly nicely). What the Packers must do to win: Just like the Buccaneers, the Packers have a weakened offensive line. It held up nicely sufficient in opposition to the perfect protection within the league, the Rams, final week however Los Angeles’ largest menace, Aaron Donald, was hampered by a rib harm. Rodgers has been so good this yr that it’s arduous to see him being outscored by the Buccaneers if he will get sufficient safety. Some have argued that the frigid Lambeau Area will hand the Packers a giant benefit over a warm-weather group like Tampa Bay. However Tom Brady performed loads of video games within the New England winter and that appeared to work out advantageous for him. Key participant: Rob Gronkowski, tight finish, Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Gronk’s finest days are behind him and he’s not the unstoppable pressure he was a number of years in the past. So his significance on this recreation lies not a lot in his skills however who he matches up in opposition to. If the Packers have one apparent weak point, it’s their linebackers. Search for Brady to return to a well-known security blanket and discover Gronk in the course of the sphere as this recreation goes on. Prediction: Packers. The Buccaneers struggled to shake off 7-9 Washington within the wildcard spherical and had been helped by a sequence of Drew Brees turnovers in opposition to the Saints final week. Brady and his new teammates gel far more than they did at first of the season, however are nonetheless not the menace they need to be, given their expertise. I don’t assume they’re on the stage the place they will beat Rodgers and Davante Adams this time round. Buffalo Payments at Kansas Metropolis ChiefsSunday, 6.40pm ET/11.40pm GMT Patrick Mahomes is the reigning Tremendous Bowl MVP. {Photograph}: Jason Behnken/AP What the Payments must do to win: The Chiefs can achieve this a lot injury, so shortly, via the air with the likes of Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill that encouraging them to go to the run recreation, maybe by not packing the field, is one choice. Josh Allen has advanced past recognition in a brief house of time, partly due to the array of weapons he has, from the just about not possible to cowl Stefon Diggs to Cole Beasley to tight finish Dawson Knox. The Payments might want to maintain that chemistry occurring Sunday. What the Chiefs must do to win: As talked about above, Allen’s progress this season has been extraordinary and he’s not the turnover machine he was. However he nonetheless makes errors and the Chiefs’ standout defensive abilities, whether or not it’s Tyrann Matthieu or Chris Jones, are able to forcing him into making errors. If the Payments do handle to make the Chiefs flip to the run recreation, the health of Clyde Edwards-Helaire, coming back from harm, may very well be telling. Key participant: Patrick Mahomes, quarterback, Kansas Metropolis Chiefs. Mahomes is the perfect participant within the NFL, so he’s crucial participant in any recreation he performs. However his influence on Sunday feels notably telling. Mahomes was pressured out of final week’s win over the Browns as a result of concussion – and he has been restricted in observe – however he’ll virtually definitely begin. The query is what model of Mahomes performs. The concussion doesn’t seem to have been too damaging (no less than within the short-term) however extra worrying for the Chiefs is the truth that Mahomes can also be affected by turf toe. Mahomes is not any Lamar Jackson, he received’t scorch you for 50 yards, however his mobility and talent to beat the push is a crucial a part of his recreation. Prediction: Payments. A totally match Mahomes beats Allen 90% of the time. However a restricted Mahomes, who has been excellent moderately than nice in his current video games, is a unique proposition. The lingering results of the concussion and his decreased mobility will hand this one to the Payments … simply.

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