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The Thirsty Three – AFC & NFC Championship Games

Well, Let’s Call it a Tasty Two

The Thirsty Three – Week 20 – Conference Finals

I did not see that coming.  Last week was brutal for old DeVo.  I didn’t see Mahomes getting hurt, I didn’t see the Ravens not being able to run the ball, and I didn’t see Jared Cook fumbling the game, and possibly Drew’s last effort to win a title away.  That’s the breaks.  Welcome to the NFL. Onto the AFC & NFC Championship games

That hurt my wallet and I’m mad if it hurts yours but all you can do is keep swinging for the fences, follow the trends and get back on the horse.  So I’m back here to deliver your way back to the bank.  Let’s get some money back this week right folks!  

Season Total 30-25-3 

54% win percentage 

WEEK 20 – Conference Champs

Game 1: Bucs vs. Packers – Spread Packers -3.5

The more I analyze this game the more it comes down to this.  Can the Bucs apply the same pressure to Aaron Rodgers using just 4 guys as they did in their week 6 beat down?  Re-watching that week 6 game I forgot that the Packers were up 10-0 with the ball when it all unraveled.  Aaron threw 1 of his 3 pick sixes in his illustrious career.  He threw another pick that put the Bucs at the Packers 3 yard line.  He was beaten and battered all game and the Packers were shellacked 38-10.  I don’t see the same thing happening in this game.  

The Bucs in my opinion are lucky to be in the NFC championship.  I’m not saying they don’t belong, they do.  They have the GOAT, they have a great defense and they have weapons to score on offense.  But the Bucs were on their way to a beat down when Jared Cook fumbled the ball last Sunday.  With the Saints already up 20-10, the Saints were driving when Antoine Winfield Jr. stripped big bad Jared and then Tom was able to go to work.  It’s wild to me the Tom Brady magic.  This story has been happening for 19 seasons and counting.  A team is beating Tom, that team makes a mistake, and Tom makes them pay.  Now in his first year in the NFC, Tom is back in his mind boggling 14th conference championship.  

The issue I have this week is I don’t think the Packers will make many mistakes.  It will be cold, there will be snow.  I’m not worried about Tom or Gronk, they’ve done this.  I’m worried about the rest of the team.  Antonio Brown has been ruled out.  Evans and Godwin are hurt and as great as Devin White and this defense is, they are susceptible to the pass.  

I will continue to say the Packers do not defend the run well and if the Bucs can run as well as they did with Fournette and Ronald Jones last week they have a chance. I believe this will be a close game that has a whoever has the ball last will win type of feel to the game.  So far, without All Pro David Bahkiari, the Packers have not slowed down.  They put up 35 against the Bears and 32 against the NFL’s top ranked defense.  Aaron and Davante Adams are on another planet right now. The Bucs have the pieces to slow down the Packers but Aaron is relentless.  He will keep coming at you the whole game.  It’s hard to beat a team twice in the year.  I’m sure the Packers have been reminded how poorly they all played in that week 6 beat down.  But they were up and in control when the wheels fell off, I don’t see that happening this week.  

Rodgers and his teammates can't help but smile
Photo courtesy Touchdown Wire/USA Today

The Packers will score touchdowns where the Bucs score field goals and the Packer will cover.  

Score:  Bucs 23 – Packers 28 Packers cover the 3.5 

Game 2 Bills vs. Chiefs – Spread Chiefs -3

This game is all about will he or won’t he?  Meaning, will Mahomes play or won’t he?  If he does play what does he look like.  He was clearly woozy after the hit against the Browns that knocked him out.  And he was limping around with a bum toe before that.  Still, if he plays the Chiefs will do well.  

This is a game of two of the strongest arm QB’s we have ever seen.  So with a forecast that looks drizzly, cold, and miserable, typical for the Midwest this time of year, I still have faith Mahomes and Allen won’t be fazed.  My question becomes who else steps up for the Bills?  We know that Allen and Diggs have another worldly connection working right now.  But Cole Beasley is beat up and Gabe Davis may not play.  The Bills have been absent of a running game pretty much all season.  The incredible run they have had has been almost exclusively fueled by the right arm of Josh Allen. 

Buffalo Bills vs Kansas City Chiefs AFC Championship

Watching more Buffalo Bills football this season than I probably have in a decade, I noticed two things.  First, Josh Allen is elite.  I think he’s the 5th best QB in the league right now and will keep the Bills playing for Super Bowls for the next decade.  He took the step and there is no going back. He will own the AFC East for a long time.  The 2nd thing I noticed is the offensive line keeps Allen clean.  Allen has been able to stand strong in the pocket and thanks to his mechanics vastly improving and his ridiculous god given arm he is reading defenses and firing accurately with conviction.  A lot of that has to do with his protection.  Allen is still deadly using his legs.  At 6’6 and 250 he is a load coming at you.  But this offense has improved because he is staying in the pocket and firing bullets to Stefon Diggs in stride.  I don’t see that stopping in this game, although I do like the Chiefs defense to get just enough stops to slow down this deadly offense.  

On the other side of the ball we have one of the greatest offenses the league has ever seen.  We have the best Quarterback I’ve ever seen, running an offense from a creative, ballsy Hall of Fame head coach.  A Hall of Fame Tight End pairing with a borderline Hall of Fame Wide Receiver.  The key to the Chiefs is their speed and Mahomes ability to get it deep to some of the fastest guys the league has ever seen.  With both Tyreek Hill and Mecole Hardman clearing out the middle, taking the top off the defense, this offense can score in sudden bursts like I’ve only seen from Big 12 teams.  When the deep ball isn’t there, Kelce is cleaning up everything else in the middle.  He runs superb routes and always seems to get open for Mahomes when they need a big play.  There is just so much to defend on this team it’s hard to bet against them.  

I like the Chiefs to cover in what should be an all time classic between two QB’s that should compete on the highest level for the next decade.  The Chiefs have been a little off for the last 6 weeks or so.  Since they laid waste to the Bucs on Thanksgiving weekend, they have been missing touchdowns in the redzone and not scoring with the fury we are used to seeing.  As good as the Buffalo Defense has been, they can not hang with the speedy and dynamics of Patrick Mahomes.  I love the over in the game sitting at 54.  Both of these defenses are under rated and playing sound fundamental football but these offenses will be too much for the defenses. In the end, Mahomes and company keeps coming at the Bills and heads to their 2nd consecutive Super Bowl.  

Score: Bills 27 – Chiefs 31 Chiefs Cover the -3

Conclusion

Both of these games should be great.  Football fans are in for a treat.  We finally get an Aaron and Tom playoff game in the NFC.  We get two of the best young QB’s in the league in the AFC.  You think great Quarterback play is important folks?  Ha.  Sure you need to build the team, but this weekend is case and point either you have a QB or you really don’t matter.  There is no in between.  Watching all four of these guys makes other teams look like they are playing a different sport.  It’s clinical, it’s exciting, and any four of these QB’s can get rolling and lead their team to the Super Bowl.  In the end I think we get a rematch of Super Bowl 1, Packers vs. Chiefs which should be another all time classic.  I can’t wait.  Best of luck with the bets good people.  Let’s make that money.  

Written by Keith James

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