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

Two embellished veterans face off at Lambeau Discipline, 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 have to do to win: Surprisingly for 2 quarterbacks who’ve dominated the NFL for a lot of the century, there isn’t loads of historical past to go on between Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers – this will probably be solely their fourth assembly as starters. Brady gained their earlier recreation, a 38-10 beatdown in Week 6 of this season, when the protection harried Rodgers all day, sacking him 5 instances. Rodgers, who has been largely flawless since, is unlikely to be bullied once more although. So Tampa Bay could should beat the Packers in a shootout, hoping their formidable offensive weapons all click on directly. That may put stress on backup Bucs guard Aaron Stinnie, who made his first ever NFL begin towards the Saints final week (and did fairly properly). What the Packers must do to win: Just like the Buccaneers, the Packers have a weakened offensive line. It held up properly sufficient towards the perfect protection within the league, the Rams, final week however Los Angeles’ greatest risk, Aaron Donald, was hampered by a rib damage. Rodgers has been so good this yr that it’s exhausting to see him being outscored by the Buccaneers if he will get sufficient safety. Some have argued that the frigid Lambeau Discipline will hand the Packers a giant benefit over a warm-weather workforce like Tampa Bay. However Tom Brady performed loads of video games within the New England winter and that appeared to work out fantastic for him. Key participant: Rob Gronkowski, tight finish, Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Gronk’s finest days are behind him and he’s now 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 talents however who he matches up towards. If the Packers have one apparent weak spot, it’s their linebackers. Search for Brady to return to a well-known security blanket and discover Gronk in the midst of the sector as this recreation goes on. Prediction: Packers. The Buccaneers struggled to shake off 7-9 Washington within the wildcard spherical and have been helped by a collection of Drew Brees turnovers towards the Saints final week. Brady and his new teammates gel far more than they did at the beginning of the season, however are nonetheless not the risk they need to be, given their expertise. I don’t suppose they’re on the degree the place they’ll 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 have to do to win: The Chiefs can accomplish that a lot harm, so rapidly, by 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 possibility. Josh Allen has developed past recognition in a brief area of time, partly due to the array of weapons he has, from the just about inconceivable to cowl Stefon Diggs to Cole Beasley to tight finish Dawson Knox. The Payments might want to hold that chemistry occurring Sunday. What the Chiefs have to do to win: As talked about above, Allen’s progress this season has been extraordinary and he’s now 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, getting back from damage, 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 impression on Sunday feels notably telling. Mahomes was compelled out of final week’s win over the Browns because of concussion – and he has been restricted in observe – however he’ll virtually actually begin. The query is what model of Mahomes performs. The concussion doesn’t seem to have been too damaging (not less than within the short-term) however extra worrying for the Chiefs is the truth that Mahomes can be affected by turf toe. Mahomes is not any Lamar Jackson, he gained’t scorch you for 50 yards, however his mobility and skill to beat the push is a crucial a part of his recreation. Prediction: Payments. A completely match Mahomes beats Allen 90% of the time. However a restricted Mahomes, who has been superb somewhat than nice in his current video games, is a special proposition. The lingering results of the concussion and his lowered mobility will hand this one to the Payments … simply.

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