For the second consecutive week in the NFL, the theme remains the same — new vs. old. But this time, it’s to decide who will play in Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla.
A pair of games on Sunday will wrap up the league’s playoff tilts prior to the Super Bowl in what has been a season like no other.
43-year-old quarterback Tom Brady will take his Tampa Bay Buccaneers into Green Bay to battle 37-year old quarterback Aaron Rodgers and his Packers on Sunday afternoon in the NFC Championship Game.
And on the AFC side, the Buffalo Bills will visit the their conference foes in Kansas City to play the Chiefs.
Both Buffalo and Kansas City present two of the brightest young quarterbacks the game has to offer in the Bills’ Josh Allen and the Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes.
In the AFC, it’s the new … and in the NFC, it’s the old.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Green Bay Packers (3:05 EST., FOX)
NFL fans everywhere are rightfully salivating over a Tom Brady vs. Aaron Rodgers matchup in the NFC conference championship this weekend, and rightfully so.
Two of the greatest quarterbacks to ever do it, facing off with a date with the Lombardi trophy on the line, who could say no?
The Packers enter the title game riding high after dismantling the top-ranked defence last week in the Los Angeles Rams, while the Buccaneers spent last week defeating a Hall of Fame quarterback in Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints.
Sunday’s NFC Championship Game will be a rematch of Week 6’s regular-season clash. In that earlier matchup, the Packers jumped out to a 10-0 lead, before the Bucs scored 38 unanswered to win the game 38-10. Fast forward to this week, and both teams are playing their best football heading into this heavyweight battle.
Aaron Rodgers should be this season’s MVP, as Green Bay supports the league’s No. 1 scoring offence. Davante Adams has been the league’s best receiver, and when combining that with the emergence of a three-headed monster at running back, this Packers team is very tough to stop.
However, if there is a group best suited for the task, it might be Devin White and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defence. The Bucs defence was ranked number one against the run, giving up just 80.6 yards per game.
On the other side of the ball, Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay offence should look to get the run game going and keep the ball away from the Green Bay offence.
Ronald Jones and Leonard Fournette had 169 total scrimmage yards last week against the Saints, and the Bucs will need more of that this week.
Brady and his passing weapons garner the majority of the attention, but Tampa Bay will need to establish the ground game if they want to have any chance at coming out of Lambeau victorious.
Key Matchup: Packers defensive-line vs. Buccaneers offensive-line
What has always been the key to beating Tom Brady? Getting pressure in his face, preferably with just four rushers.
Therefore, Za’Darius Smith, who had one sack last week against the Rams, and the rest of the Packers front will have their work cut out for them as they look to make Brady uncomfortable.
Buffalo Bills vs. Kansas City Chiefs (6:40 EST., CBS)
Two MVP candidates and the league’s two most potent offences do battle this Sunday as Josh Allen and the Bills head to Arrowhead Stadium to face Patrick Mahomes and defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City.
Allen is coming off an efficient performance in the Bills victory against the Baltimore Ravens, throwing a lone touchdown to go with 206 yards through the air en route to a 14-3 victory.
Mahomes also impressed last weekend against the Cleveland Browns, chipping in with 255 passing yards and a touchdown in a 22-17 Chiefs’ win.
While the stats for both quarterbacks have stolen headlines all season, the big story heading into the AFC Championship Game is focused solely on the health status of the Kansas City gunslinger.
Following an innocuous hit against the Browns, Mahomes was forced out of the game due to a concussion and it remains unclear if he will suit up this weekend. If the former Super Bowl MVP is sidelined the Chiefs will turn to veteran Chad Henne who took over after their first-choice QB exited against Cleveland.
Regardless of who leads the KC huddle, Buffalo will need another effort on defence like the one they put up against the Ravens. With weapons like Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill at the Chiefs’ disposal, it will be the Bills D’s biggest test of the postseason.
For the Chiefs, red zone damage control will be the key to victory. Boasting one of the league’s lowest-ranked red zone defences, slowing down Josh Allen inside 20 yards could be the difference as the 24-year-old has yet to throw a red-zone interception in his NFL career.
When these two teams met way back in Week 7 of the regular season, it was the Chiefs coming out on top 26-17 over the Bills, with running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire leading the way with 161 rushing yards.
Although both teams have come a long way since their October meeting, the Chiefs still head into Sunday slight favourites to advance to Super Bowl LV, assuming Mahomes is active.