DATA DEPENDENT: NFL Conference Championships previews, predictions, and upsets.

Buffalo Bills vs. Kansas City Chiefs

The Battle of the Young Guns is questionable thanks to Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes’ getting his head dragged into the ground against the Browns. While it’s not unheard of for a player to comeback from a concussion in a week, it’s also an exception to the norm. That means the task will most likely fall to the Chiefs backup QB, Chad Henne, to do his best to keep his team close enough to have an opportunity to win.

The last time these two teams met during the regular season, the Buffalo Bills basically dared the Chiefs to run the ball, which they did with surprising success. This time, the Bills probably want the reverse. Let Henne put it in the air. Yes, he made that play against the Browns last week, but they still probably fancy their chances. In fact, with Henne at the helm, the 538 has them as massive favorites, a full 74% to win.

Should Mahomes suit up on Sunday (and the Lines suggest people believe he will), Buffalo’s prospects worsen considerably. Mahomes could torch the Bills inside the pocket, scrambling outside the pocket and side-arming a short pass, or running for significant gains. He’s got the talent to break a defense.

The Bills have their own injury problems that are being closely monitored, though by no means on par with what the Chiefs are facing. Rookie WR Gabriel Davis suffered an ankle injury and is still questionable for Sunday’s game. Of course, QB Josh Allen still has his first option available in Stefon Diggs so it’s not a lost cause by any means.

Allen finds himself in a somewhat similar situation as Mahomes was in the last post-season. Many are asking, is this Josh Allen’s moment? Will he join the Mahomes at the front of the quarterback vanguard? His evolution from a rough-around-the-edges rookie to a breakout star has been nothing short of amazing. That being said, he had a very rough outing when he last faced the Chiefs in Week 6. The Chiefs hounded him from sideline to sideline and end zone to end zone. He was under pressure on 17 of his 31 dropbacks. Allen got so rattled he completed a measly 13 passes for 44 yards. It was telling that he was just as effective running the ball. It’s hard to imagine him being bullied into a similar performance. In fact, I’m going with the Bills here. That said, according to sportsbettingdime.com, the Chiefs remain favorites (see odds below).

OFF STATS: Chiefs 415.8 YDS/G; 29.6 PTS/G| Bills 396.4 YDS/G; 31.3 PTS/G 

DEF STATS: Chiefs 358.4 YDS/G; 22.6 PTS/G | Bills 352.2 YDS/G; 23.4 PTS/G

KEY PLAYERS: Patrick Mahomes, Chad Henne, Le’Veon Bell, Clyde Edwards-Helaire | Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs

BETTING (Moneyline/Spread): Chiefs (-117/-3) | Bills (-104/+3)

DRAFT KINGS FANTASY POINTS: Josh Allen (22.72); Stefon Diggs (23.33); Patrick Mahomes (22.89); Tyreek Hill (16.93).

PICK: Bills beat the Chiefs.


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Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Green Bay Packers

First things first. I’ve gotta admit, I got it so wrong last week when it came to the Packers. I picked the Rams on the strength of their defensive line (somehow thinking Aaron Donald’s crumbling ribs wouldn’t affect him). What did it get me? The defense scored a mind-blowing -1.00 for my daily fantasy picks. MINUS ONE. What a disaster.

So Tampa Bay vs. Green Bay is the matchup and drama the NFL and networks were praying for. It’s Mr. Accomplishments vs Mr. All-the-Talent. Six rings vs. One ring. Brady vs Rodgers. Believe it or not, this meeting is only the fourth time they’ve gone head to head, the last time being during Week 6 (just like the Bills and Chiefs). During that game, the Bucs blew the Packers out of Raymond James Stadium. They blitzed Rodgers a season-high 21 times, rattling him into a 7.4 passer rating on 17 attempts. It was a little unexpected since Rodgers has the best passer rating against the blitz in the entire league. That being said, considering the way Rodgers carved up the best defense in the last weekend, I’m gonna go out on a limb and say he won’t be intimidated. Plus, he’s playing at home. And if he needs any more incentives, adding another Super Bowl to his resume will place him in league with the greatest in the game with multiple rings. Rodgers is essentially playing for his legacy.

Then there’s Brady. He wasn’t tested very much during the Week 6 win against Green Bay. It may as well have been a scrimmage. He’ll need his offensive line to protect him the way they did then since his QBR is 74.6 points higher when he’s not under pressure. That game it was the Brady-Gronc show, just like old times. This time probably won’t be much different. According to sportsbettingdime.com, the Packers are the slight favorites to progress to Super Bowl Sunday (see odds below)..

OFF STATS: Buccaneers 384.1 YDS/G; 30.8 PTS/G | Packers 389.0 YDS/G; 31.8 PTS/G 

DEF STATS:’llBuccaneers 327.1 YDS/G; 22.2 PTS/G | Packers 389.0 YDS/G; 31.8 PTS/G 

KEY PLAYERS: Tom Brady, Chris Godwin, and Ronald Jones | Aaron Rodgers, Aaron Jones, and Davante Adams

BETTING (Moneyline/Spread): Buccaneers (-114/+3.5) | Packers (-107/-3.5)

DRAFT KINGS FANTASY POINTS: Tom Brady (27.49); Chris Godwin (19.87); Aaron Rodgers (25.89); Davante Adams (28.13).

PICK: Buccaneers win.


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