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Kibbles and Picks 2020/21 - Conference Championships

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Well – isn’t this something?

I find myself in a rare position – well, rare for me, anyway. After the events of the divisional round, I now sit a perfect 10-0 for the playoffs thus far, having accurately predicted the victor in every single playoff contest. Stella, for her part, was 2-2 this weekend, putting her at 5-5 overall.

It’s over. I’ve won, even with the conference championships and the Super Bowl to come. And yet we press on, each with our reasons for continuing – perfection for me, principle for her.

We’ll start with the game on which we agree. Both Stella and I believe that Green Bay will be the NFC’s representative in Super Bowl LV, though it seems that she’s a little more confident in her choice than I am.

Stella thinks it all boils down to one simple thing: the Packers have Aaron Rodgers. She’s convinced that he will find a way to will himself and his team to victory. She also thinks that the Buccaneers will struggle to contain Davante Adams, who has a case as the best wide receiver in the game today. And even if they do, she likes the potential for a breakout game from running back Aaron Jones. On the other side, she’s not convinced that Tom Brady can handle what the Packers defense will bring, though he does have a wider array of weapons at his disposal than Rodgers does. He’ll have to be a good deal more accurate than he was in the game against New Orleans if the Bucs are going to have a shot.

On my end, I don’t think we can simply dismiss the fact that Tom Brady has been here before – a lot. And there’s no denying that while Adams might be the best receiver in this game, Buccaneers Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Rob Gronkowski are probably second through fourth as far as pass catchers go. I’m of the mind that the team that best moves the ball on the ground will be the one that ultimately triumphs; I like Aaron Jones and the rest of the Packers running back crew to steadily put up yardage, allowing Green Bay to control the ball and win the time of possession battle. I think the Packers win a close one (and yes, my desire for Brady to not make the Super Bowl is contributing here).

Either way, we’re both going with the Packers.

In the AFC, however, Stella and I are of differing opinions. I’m going chalk, picking Kansas City to win, though with no word yet on the injury to Patrick Mahomes, it may be a mistake – this pick is predicated on Mahomes being under center on Sunday. With that caveat, it sure is tough to pick against the reigning champs here. The Chiefs offense hasn’t dazzled at quite the same level as it has in previous seasons, but they’ve still been impressive as heck. Tyreek Hill is one of the most explosive pass catchers out there, while tight end Travis Kelse remains one of the very best in the league at his position. Assuming they can get their run game going, whether it be with Le’Veon Bell or Darrel Williams or a back-from-injury Clyde Edwards-Helaire, they should be able to score enough to take down a very good Buffalo Bills team.

Stella is not only picking the Bills, she’s doing it with no caveats – she’s pretty sure that Buffalo is going to win regardless of who is playing quarterback for the Chiefs. That’s largely because she’s a believer in Buffalo’s own QB; Josh Allen has made a massive leap forward this season, developing into the player that the Bills hoped he would be when they drafted him. He’s unafraid to run the ball and still has a cannon, only now, that cannon is aimed at the wildly-productive Stefon Diggs, who only caught more balls this season than any receiver in Buffalo’s history. She recognizes that one receiver might not be enough, but she also thinks that the Bills D is up for the challenge of containing the Chiefs. It won’t be easy – she’s banking on the opportunistic Bills pulling off a big play or two (offense, defense or otherwise) – but she feels good about her pick. Not least because she loves the idea of the lowly Bills finally making their way back to the big game, much to the delight of her Uncle John.

And there we have it. Enjoy the conference championships everyone! And here’s hoping I get to 12-0!

(winners in caps)

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ALLEN’S PICKS

Tampa Bay at GREEN BAY

Buffalo at KANSAS CITY

Divisional Round record: 4-0

Postseason record: 10-0

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STELLA’S PICKS

Tampa Bay at GREEN BAY

BUFFALO at Kansas City

Divisional Round record: 2-2

Postseason record: 5-5

Last modified on Tuesday, 19 January 2021 11:23

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