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VOL. 45 | NO. 4 | Friday, January 22, 2021

Sorry Brady fans, looks like a Rodgers vs. Mahomes in Super Bowl

By Terry McCormick

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This week’s conference championship games are interesting, particularly from a quarterback perspective.

In the AFC, the Kansas City Chiefs with Patrick Mahomes (provided he clears the concussion protocol) host the Buffalo Bills and Josh Allen in a matchup of perhaps the best young quarterbacks in the game.

Meanwhile, Tom Brady, fresh off besting another graybeard in Drew Brees, leads his new team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers into Lambeau Field to meet likely MVP Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers in the NFC title game. This battle of future Hall of Famers should be very interesting to watch.

Let’s break these two matchups down and pick our Super Bowl teams.

NFC

Tampa Bay Bucs (13-5) at Green Bay Packers (14-3)

It’s hard to believe this is the first time Rodgers has ever hosted an NFC Championship Game, but all his previous conference title game appearances have indeed been on the road. The Packers have plenty of firepower, led by Rodgers and receiver Devanta Adams, and they have a strong rushing attack to complement the pass.

Defensively, Green Bay doesn’t possess much star power but is pretty solid overall. That’s enough, given the way Rodgers and the offense have played.

As for Tampa Bay, the Bucs are mostly a franchise unfamiliar with the postseason. But their quarterback is the most familiar playoff QB of all-time in Tom Brady, who will be making his 14th conference title game appearance – his first since his divorce from Bill Belichick in New England.

The Bucs have plenty of big-time players, from Mike Evans, Antonio Brown and Rob Gronkowski on offense to the likes of Ndamukong Suh and Lavonte David on defense. It took a while for all the pieces to jell, but the Bucs are coming together at the right time.

This should be an interesting game, and both quarterbacks are fully capable of taking the game over. But we’ll give the edge to Rodgers and host Packers in this one.

Prediction: Packers 31, Bucs 27.

AFC

Buffalo Bills (15-3) at Kansas City Chiefs (15-2)

The assumption here is that Mahomes will be cleared from concussion protocol and be fine to play in the conference title game. This marks the third straight year the Chiefs have hosted the AFC Championship Game and the third opponent to challenge them.

Brady and the Patriots won here two years ago, but Mahomes and KC rallied past the Titans last year to reach the Super Bowl for the first time in 50 years.

Speaking of starving fan bases, the Bills are in the title game for the first time since their early ‘90s heyday of Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas and Bruce Smith.

Buffalo is counting on Allen, who has a rocket arm and mobility to be able to make enough big plays and give them a chance on defense to try and slow down Mahomes and the Chiefs’ speed.

Kansas City has plenty of firepower with Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce, and Buffalo will find it a much tougher task to contain the Chiefs passing game than they did bottling up Lamar Jackson’s running and scrambling ability.

This one could be an interesting game as well and could come down to whichever defense can contain the opposing quarterback better and maybe force a turnover or two.

Prediction: Chiefs 24, Bills 20.

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