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NFL playoff picks, predictions: Packers edge Buccaneers, Chiefs hold off Bills in championship games

NFL championship weekend contains a pair of quarterback matchups for all ages.  

First, Tampa Bay meets Inexperienced Bay within the NFC championship sport at 3:05 p.m. ET on Sunday. Aaron Rodgers, 37, is taking part in in his fifth NFC championship sport, nevertheless it’s his first one at Lambeau Discipline. Tom Brady, 43, is in his 14th NFC championship sport, however that is his first one within the NFC. It is also the first postseason matchup between the 2 future Corridor of Fame quarterbacks.  

Buffalo travels to Kansas Metropolis for the AFC championship sport at 6:40 p.m. ET. It is the Chiefs’ third straight AFC championship sport at Arrowhead Stadium, and it stays to be seen whether or not Patrick Mahomes, 25, will clear concussion protocol for the game. If not, the Chiefs will flip to backup quarterback Chad Henne, 35, who sealed the divisional playoff spherical victory towards the Browns. Josh Allen, 24, is attempting to get the Payments again within the Tremendous Bowl for the primary time since 1993.  

Sporting Information hit three of 4 on divisional playoff weekend. Here’s a have a look at our observe report this season:  

  • Final Week: 3-1 
  • Common season: 129-75 
  • Playoffs: 7-3  
  • General: 136-78  

With that because the thoughts, beneath are our picks and predictions for the convention championship video games:  

MORE NFL PLAYOFFS:
AFC & NFC bracket | TV schedule | Super Bowl picks

(Getty Pictures)

NFL picks, predictions for championship video games

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Inexperienced Bay Packers (-3.5)  

Sunday, 3:05 p.m., FOX 

Inexperienced Bay appeared unstoppable on offense towards the Rams with the mix of Rodgers’ effectivity and a three-headed operating sport led by Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams and A.J. Dillon.  

That is the place this matchup begins. The Packers generated simply 94 dashing yards within the regular-season assembly, a 38-10 loss at Tampa Bay that was ignited by two Rodgers’ interceptions within the second quarter. The Buccaneers had 5 sacks, and the mixed strain from defensive linemen Jason Pierre-Paul and Ndamukong Suh flustered Inexperienced Bay. Devin White and Lavonte David are speedy linebackers who can stuff the run, too. That’s the problem for a Packers’ offensive line that has improved since, even with out beginning sort out David Bakthiari.  

Rodgers wants these play-action alternatives to work with Davante Adams and Robert Tonyan. Inexperienced Bay made it look straightforward towards the Rams. Can they do it once more?

MORE: Is Tom Brady vs. Aaron Rodgers best NFC title game ever?

Then there’s Brady, who made the Packers pay for these errors within the first assembly. He is working with a loaded group of receivers. Ronald Jones had 113 yards and two TDs within the first assembly, and Inexperienced Bay’s protection has been inclined to the run. Defensive sort out Kenny Clark must be extra disruptive on this sport.  

The Packers didn’t get a sack in that first assembly both. Rashan Gary, Preston Smith and Za’Darius Smith must strain Brady, or he’ll sit again and work with a loaded group of receivers. Who wins the red-zone matchups between Rob Gronkowski and Mike Evans and Inexperienced Bay’s secondary, which contains a lock-down cornerback in Jaire Alexander and an rising security in Darnell Savage Jr.? That would be the key.  

With these two quarterbacks, it comes all the way down to a handful of performs. The Packers will maintain on to a one-score lead at halftime, however Tampa Bay ties it early within the fourth quarter with an Antonio Brown landing. It actually may come all the way down to which quarterback has the ball final – and which protection comes up with the cease. How a lot of a bonus is Lambeau Discipline? We expect it makes the slight distinction straight away traditional.  

Decide: Packers 31, Buccaneers 28  

(SN/Getty)

Buffalo Payments at Kansas Metropolis Chiefs (-3)  

Sunday, 6:40 p.m., CBS 

It is troublesome to make a choose with out realizing whether or not Mahomes is taking part in this week, however we’ll base this prediction on the premise he is in a position to go. Clyde Edwards-Helaire (ankle, hip) additionally practiced final week however was inactive for the Browns’ sport. Edwards-Helaire had 161 dashing yards in Kansas Metropolis’s 26-17 victory towards the Payments in Week 6. Darrel Williams began over Le’Veon Bell final week, so he could possibly be the main target if Edwards-Helaire cannot go. The Chiefs additionally have been with out Sammy Watkins (calf) final week.  

The excellent news? Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill have been nonetheless in motion. They can hit the chunk performs towards Buffalo’s secondary irrespective of who’s at quarterback. 

MORE: Why Chiefs have an edge over Bills in AFC championship

Josh Allen struggled within the regular-season matchup, however he did not take a sack in that loss. He additionally had not established a robust reference to Stefon Diggs, who has emerged as among the finest – if not the very best – receiver within the league this season. Allen will goal Diggs steadily, and Cole Beasley and John Brown to wish to benefit from their 1-on-1 alternatives.  The Payments must generate a operating sport with Devin Singletary early, and Allen will make extra performs this time.  

Once more, this choose nonetheless comes all the way down to Mahomes. If he is cleared, then we’ll assume he is wholesome sufficient to guide the Chiefs to a different Tremendous Bowl look.  

Buffalo takes the early lead on a Diggs’ TD, and the Payments cling to a third-quarter lead earlier than the Mahomes magic act begins. Second-half TDs to Kelce and Hill re-take the lead, and Kansas Metropolis closes the door behind the operating sport within the fourth quarter. If final week taught us something, then it is Andy Reid will not maintain again in crunch time.  

It is tight once more, however Kansas Metropolis repeats as AFC champions. We are going to re-evaluate this choose if he cannot go.  

Decide: Chiefs 28, Payments 26 

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