The weather was cold and clear in both Kansas City and Green Bay on Sunday afternoon. For many NFL fans, this was near-perfect football weather. There was snow visible in the wide shots, adding to the chilling atmosphere of both games that were being played back to back on Sunday, but none of the massive weather that had been expected. The Conference Championship Games concluded in line with what most had anticipated, and the stage is now set for a very interesting Super Bowl LV.
Conference Games Become QB Battles
The day was all about quarterbacks. Two of the greatest who have ever played the game and are on the verge of retirement in the early venue and two of the most promising young QB’s of a generation going at it head to head in the late game.
But the early game did not go according to script, at least for Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. They did not seem like they were properly warmed up for the contest and didn’t score in the first quarter.
Rodgers threw for 346 yards with three touchdowns and only one pick. He completed 33 of 48 passes and still only managed to put up 26 points on the day. But this comes more as a tribute to the Tampa Bay Buccaneer defense than any rip intended on Rodgers.
The Bucs’ D managed to sack the Packers quarterback five times during the contest, plus they kept constant pressure on Rodgers and the Packers offensive line throughout the afternoon. Packers’ wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling caught only four passes on five targets, but he racked up 115 yards and one touchdown on the day.
Packers Can’t Hang At Home
Although the Packers went into the game as 3.5-point favorites and (-178) on the moneyline, the two teams stacked up pretty well one on one, all the way down the line. So, Brady and the Buccaneers beat Rodgers and the 14-2 Pack by a final score of 31-26 on Sunday, which went over the 53 Over/Under that was set as a total for the game. For all the talk about the GOAT that went ar0und on Sunday, Brady and his 11-5 Bucs (+153), just barely got out of town with a win, and their tickets to the Super Bowl back home in Tampa Bay, punched once again.
Brady threw for 280 yards, scoring three touchdowns and throwing three interceptions (all INTs in the second half). He completed 20 of 36 passes, including five to Chris Godwin and three to Mike Evans with one touchdown. Leonard Fournette had 55 yards rushing with one spectacular touchdown run, plus five passes for 19 yards for the Bucs.
Brady told reporters after the game, “It’s great to get another road win and now we got a home game, and who would have ever thought a home Super Bowl for us. But we did it.” The Bucs now become the first team in the NFL to host and play in a Super Bowl at the same time.
The Chiefs Go The Distance
The game out in Kansas City between the defending Super Bowl Champions and the Buffalo Bills didn’t disappoint, either. The 14-2 Chiefs (-158) and the upstart 13-3 Bills (+135), who managed to fight their way into the playoffs for the first time in nearly three decades, put on a show.
The Chiefs went into the showdown contest as 3-point favorites and the Over/Under was set at 54.5 there at Arrowhead Stadium. There was uncertainty as to the availability of quarterback Patrick Mahomes for the Chiefs due to a bump on the head he suffered last week and the necessary concussion protocols he must go through in order to be cleared to play in this big AFC title game against his friend and rival Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills.
Mahomes Makes It Look Easy
Fortunately, Mahomes was cleared to play and by the time the game was over he ended up throwing for 325 yards in the air and three touchdowns with no interceptions. The young Chiefs’ quarterback completed 29 of 38 passes, including nine to Tyrek Hill for 172 yards and 13 catches and to Travis Kelce for 118 yards and two touchdowns.
Final score there at Arrowhead was Chiefs 38, Bills 24. So, Andy Reid and his Chiefs are packing for warm weather for their trip down to Tampa Bay for Super Bowl LV to see if they can beat the hometown Buccaneers and repeat as Super Bowl Champs once again.