Three meaningful NFL games left until September. Sadness. Despair.
Let’s see how the BRB Staff sees these two excellent matchups playing out.
I just don’t think the Patriots will hang with KC - but I picked Indy to beat KC, so what do I know? I do not think this is the end of New England’s dominance, nor do I think it’s a changing of the guard - I just think KC is better and they will prove it Sunday. The Chiefs suddenly are playing some defense and that has to be VERY worrisome for the rest of the teams in their path. Their offense certainly has had an air of invincibility all season long, but they never felt like an elite team to me because of their horrific defense... well, something has changed at least in the short term, and just at the right time.
The Saints were my Super Bowl winner pick and for at least one more week I see no reason to change that. Goff and Brees have both fallen off a bit as of late, but the Saints are truly one of those teams that seems to benefit the most from the home field advantage, and they showed a lot of resiliency last week in pulling themselves out of a 14-0 hole. I love this Rams team for the long term but I just think the Saints are the proverbial “Irresistible Force” right now, and the Rams’ defense is going to have a tough time in that building.
Chiefs 38, Patriots 34.
The Patriots are not a good road team and have lost their last two road playoff games. Patrick Mahomes is the MVP and the MVP has gone to the Super Bowl three consecutive years. Andy Reid’s teams have offensively routed Belichick’s defenses historically and there is nobody on NE’s defense with half the speed of Tyreek Hill. I expect him to have a few touchdowns and I expect Mahomes to make the big throws. Brady will get his but I’ve seen this team lose 5 games on the road this year - all to mediocre or non-playoff teams.
Rams 31, Saints 28.
I am a big believer in revenge and nobody is more dead set on it than these Rams. I expect an epic battle that will go back and forth. Also, ever since that Thursday night loss at Dallas, the Saints have not been the same. They might not even be here if Alshon Jeffery doesn’t botch an easy catch. Especially if CJ Andersen continues this magic he found since he arrived in LA, I don’t think the Saints will be able to make that big defensive stop. Close game, but Rams ultimately prevail.
Chiefs 41, Patriots 38.
Andy and Mahomes take down Belichick and Brady in a wild shootout.
That’s not exactly noteworthy. What is interesting leading up to this weekend’s playoff games took place in an alternate universe where an awkward and tense scene unfolded when Bill Belichick stopped at a remote gas station out in West Texas and engaged with Bill O’Brien who was working behind the counter as the proprietor:
Belichick: What’s the most you ever lost on a coin toss?
Belichick: The most. You ever lost. On a coin toss.
O’Brien: I don’t know. I couldn’t say.
[Belichick flips a quarter from the change on the counter and covers it with his hand]
Belichick: Call it.
O’Brien: Call it?
O’Brien: For what?
Belichick: Just call it.
O’Brien: Well, we need to know what we’re calling it for here.
Belichick: You need to call it. I can’t call it for you. It wouldn’t be fair.
O’Brien: I didn’t put nothin’ up.
Belichick: Yes, you did. You’ve been putting it up your whole life you just didn’t know it. You know what date is on this coin?
Belichick: 1958. It’s been traveling sixty-one years to get here. And now it’s here. And it’s either heads or tails. And you have to say. Call it.
O’Brien: Look, I need to know what I stand to win.
O’Brien: How’s that?
Belichick: You stand to win everything. Call it.
O’Brien: Alright. Heads then.
[Belichick removes his hand, revealing the coin is indeed heads]
Belichick: Well done.
[O’Brien nervously takes the quarter with the small pile of change he’s apparently won while Belichick starts out the door and stops]
Belichick: Don’t put it in your pocket, sir. Don’t put it in your pocket. It’s your lucky quarter.
O’Brien: Where do you want me to put it?
Belichick: Anywhere not in your pocket. Where it’ll get mixed in with the others and become just a coin. Which it is.
[Belichick leaves and O’Brien stares at him confused and uncertain of his role in all this as he walks out]
Saints 28, Rams 25.
A last-minute field goal sends New Orleans to Atlanta. Oh and Drew Brees should be the MVP this season.
Chiefs 45, Patriots 38.
I see this as a complete shoot-out for both teams, but I think KC’s team speed puts them over the top.
Rams 33, Saints 27.
I’ve been flip-flopping on this potential match-up for a couple months now. However, I think the injury to NO Sheldon Rankins tips the scales enough for the Rams to win. He’s just too much of a force to replace.
Patriots 45, Chiefs 41.
Everything that was said about how the Colts could beat the Chiefs last week can be said for the Patriots this week. Run the ball, control the clock, keep an all-time great passing offense off the field, hope Andy Reid mismanages the end of half and game situations, survive the onslaught, and block well to keep Chris Jones, Dee Ford, and Justin Houston at bay. I think the Patriots do what the Colts weren’t able to do, mainly because it’s Tom Brady. New England should run the ball well and throw quick passes to mitigate Kansas City’s rush. I’m expecting Bill Belichick to bait Patrick Mahomes into one bad interception. I think they do just enough to survive a ridiculous Tyreek Hill game.
Saints 34, Rams 30.
Last week I thought the Saints would massacre the Rams like a Cannibal Corpse t-shirt, or all those VHS tapes I snuck away to stare at out some Blockbuster that’s now a Nails Salon. Then last week happened. Then Andrus Peat struggled blocking Flectcher Cox with his broken hand, then the Saints had struggles running the ball up the middle. Then the Rams rushed for 220+ yards against a great Cowboys run defense, then Ndamukong Suh was impossible to block and shutdown the Cowboys’ rush offense. So now what I thought was for sure, is now something I’m apprehensive about.
The Saints won their first matchup with a nice run-pass balance, throwing to Michael Thomas to convert every third down, and Alvin Kamara breaking a ton of tackles. They went up big and were able to take away the Rams’ rush attack by default. Jared Goff was able to play banjos with Drew Brees to catch back up until a Michael Thomas touchdown sealed it.
I’m not expecting the Saints to go up big this time. I’m expecting run game struggles on both ends, and the Rams’ play action to give Goff plenty of open throws. I think it will be close. I just like Brees more than Goff.
Chiefs 48, Patriots 31.
Without the home field advantage and against a roster with superior talent, Tom Brady and Darth Belichick find themselves not only unable to play ball control offense, unable to keep up with Patrick Mahomes and his Texas Tech light up the scoreboard playing style. When all the snow stops falling, the New England Patriots go home nearly as stunned as they were when they lost to the Giants in their “perfect season” finale.
Rams 45, Saints 41.
L.A. Rams get off to a slow start and Brees and the Saints jump out to an early, seemingly insurmountable 21-0 lead. Then the Rams get in a rhythm, momentum swings on a Brees strip-sack-scoop-and-score and we have a game. It descends into a shootout and before long we’re looking at the first Los Angeles team to make it to the Super Bowl in most NFL fan’s lifetimes.
The staff is looking for a LOT of offense this week. Teams often tighten up on defense in the playoffs, but we shall see. Use the comments section to share your Championship round predictions, and enjoy what little is left of NFL Football!