Playoff Record: 5-3
The NFL playoffs are always a wild ride. Every year there are blowouts and close finishes where you least expect it. Championship week is upon us and these are always the hardest games to pick. We’ve seen both these matchups already this season and now we get them on a bigger stage. Interestingly, both games have the same storyline: Past vs Future. I can’t wait; let's get to these picks.
Matchup: Los Angeles Rams @ New Orleans Saints (-3)
Game Time: 3:05
The Rams are traveling to the Big Easy to take on the Saints for the NFC Championship game. When the two teams met back on November 4th, the Saints won with a final score of 45-35. Home field advantage in the NFL is 3 points for the spread, so what Vegas is telling us is that this game is very evenly matched. Both teams finished the season with a 13-3 record, but because of the win against the Rams, the Saints get home field. When you look at the numbers it is hard to tell which team has the upper hand. The Saints are 6-2 at home, while the Rams are 6-2 on the road. Drew Brees had 33 passing touchdowns and Jared Goff had 32. The Rams are 3rd in total rushing yards (2231), while the Saints aren’t far behind in 7th (2025).
Now earlier in the week on Last Second Covers, our podcast here at Straight Up Sports, I said I was choosing the Rams to win the game. I’ve changed my mind. I am taking the Saints because all season they had the better run defense. They’ve allowed the second fewest yards to the opposing teams with 1283 yards at 3.6 yards per carry. If they can replicate that rush defense, they can win this game. Stopping the duo of Todd Gurley and CJ Anderson is going to be the key for the Saints to beat the Rams and move on.
Spread: Saints -3
Over/Under: Over 56.5
Matchup: New England Patriots @ Kansas City Chiefs (-3)
Game time: 6:40
Patrick Mahomes has been the talk of the league all season. He is most likely going to be the MVP this year and has been nothing short of amazing. Now it’s one thing to be great for one season, but to be great for close to 2 decades is another level. The patriots, with their win last week over the Chargers, set a new NFL record for most wins in one decade, 2010-present. Whose record did they break you ask? Oh well it was the 2000-2009 Patriots.
Now I know what the Chiefs boosters will say. Patrick Mahomes threw for 50 touchdown passes and the Chiefs (surprisingly) led the NFL in sacks this season. But I don’t think that will be enough to beat the Patriots. The Pats were third in the league in interceptions (18 this season) and they picked off Mahomes twice in the first game. And although the Chiefs ran all over the Colts last week, rushing for 180 yards and 4 touchdowns, the Pats are 11th in rushing yards allowed this season and allowed the second fewest rushing touchdowns with 4. Tom Brady and the Patriots proved they can match the offensive firepower of Kansas City. All season long the Patriots have had a better defense. I’m taking the Patriots to win this game and play in their third straight Super Bowl.
Spread: Patriots +3
Over/Under: Under 55.5
Betting mastermind. Didn't have the height or talent for sports but I can talk and pick them like a champ.