Just two days from now, the NFL will settle the argument of who are the best teams in the AFC and NFC this year. The Conference Championship Games are coming this Sunday and the last four teams standing in the league this season now have everything they worked for all season on the line. There were some definite upsets along the way, which had sports gamblers more than a little upset, but it’s time to focus on what is going to happen this weekend.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Green Bay Packers get the show rolling on Sunday when they take to the gridiron to determine the NFC winner. This is going to be a rematch of Week 6, when the two teams last met. However, no one should expect the Bucs to have things too easy. In that game, the Packers came out strong, scoring ten unanswered points in the first quarter before being shut down by the Bucs the rest of the game. Tampa Bay went on to win 38-10, but this is going to be a different ballgame.
The Bucs are looking at possibly taking the field without wide receivers Antonio Brown and Mike Evans, as well as running back Ronald Jones. These three, and a few others, are being closely watched to see if they’ll be ready for the big game. On the other side, the Packers have a healthy squad with no one sitting out, although several key players are taking it easy this week. Bodog and other sportsbooks give the Packers the advantage, with Bodog listing them as -180 against the Bucs’ +160. The spread is only 3.5 (-105) in favor of the Pack, while the Over/Under of 51.5 would seem to indicate that this is going to be a battle. With potentially bad weather in Green Bay coming this weekend, this could end up being a real snowball game.
The Kansas City Chiefs have already proven themselves under head coach Andy Reid. The team has now gone to three consecutive AFC championship games, using last year’s contest as a springboard to a Super Bowl win. This time, they’re facing the Buffalo Bills and the big question on most people’s minds is whether or not Patrick Mahomes will be able to lead the Chiefs to another Super Bowl appearance. The answer is, maybe.
Mahomes suffered a nasty smack to the head last week in the Divisional Round game that left him in concussion protocol. He hasn’t practiced much since then and is currently listed as “limited” on the roster, as of yesterday. Mahomes and Reid feel confident that the passing phenom will be back in the game, but it isn’t totally up to them.
The Chiefs aren’t dealing with too many other serious injuries, although linebacker Willie Gay Jr. was out this past Wednesday due to an ankle injury. Besides him, several players have been limited in practice, but are not out of the game this weekend at Arrowhead Stadium. The Bills practiced without wide receiver Gabriel Davis on Wednesday, but fellow wide receiver Cole Beasley is off the injury list, which means he could be ready to play.
The Chiefs are favored to win, but the Bills are getting support from oddsmakers. Bodog has the Chiefs at -160 and the Bills at +140, with Kansas City only getting a 3-point advantage. As with the NFC Championship game, oddsmakers expect a high score, putting the Over/Under at 54 (-110). Also as with the NFC game, there is a chance for rain or even snow this weekend, which will make for an interesting showdown.