NFL Playoff Preview: Conference Championships

And then there were four. After a season full of questions, concerns, and game postponements, we’re almost at the finish line. On Sunday fans everywhere will be tuned in to see what teams will get one step closer to lifting that coveted Lombardi trophy. The defending champion Chiefs will face off against a strong Bills’ team, and the Tom Brady led Bucs will go up against the probable MVP in Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. Here’s how each of these final four teams fare this Sunday.

NFC Championship

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

In his first season in the NFC, Tom Brady has brought his team all the way to the NFC Championship game. Brady finished this season with 4,600+ passing yards, 40 touchdowns, 12 interceptions, and a 65.7% completion percentage. At the age of 43, Brady posted his 4th highest passing yard total in his career. The Buccaneers offense overall finished the season ranked 7th, with their defense overall finishing 6th. The Bucs will be without Antonio Brown this Sunday, who averaged 10.7 yards per catch this season. This is Tampa Bay’s first title game appearance since 2002, the year of their lone Super Bowl win. Tampa Bay ranks in the top 3 in both passing yards per game (289.1) and points per game (30.8). Their rushing defense is arguably one of their best weapons, giving up an average of 80.8 yards per game (1st overall). The Buccaneers are riding on a 6 game win streak and they have the chance to become the first team to host the Super Bowl in their home stadium, but they’ll have to get through an elite Packers team for that.

Green Bay Packers

Aaron Rodgers has all but won this season’s MVP award, but he’s after something bigger. Rodgers is having arguably the best season of his career with 4,299 yards, 48 touchdowns, and 5 interceptions with a 70.7% completion percentage. This Packers team is incredibly well-rounded. Their passing offense ranks 9th in the league with 256.6 yards per game. Their rushing offense, led by Aaron Jones and his 1,104 yards this season, ranks 8th in the league 132.4 yards per game, giving them a combined total offensive ranking of 5th in the league. Their passing defense sits 7th in the league, giving up just over an average of 220 yards per game. Their rushing defense ranks a bit lower at 13th with an average of 112.8 yards given up per game, giving them a combined total defensive ranking of 9th in the league. This top 5 offense and top 10 defense are expected to be lethal in the frozen tundra that is Lambeau Field.

AFC Championship

Buffalo Bills

The Buffalo Bills have quickly become the fan-favorite this season. They have continued to overcome all odds against them and have well exceeded their expectations. The Bills won the AFC East for the first time since 1995, but they have bigger goals in mind. After a disappointing performance in the 2019 playoffs vs the Texans, Josh Allen has had a redemption season worthy of a sappy Disney film. Allen has improved in all major QB categories by posting 4,500+ yards with 37 touchdowns, 10 interceptions with a 69.2% completion percentage. The Bills offense posted an average of 288.8 passing yards per game (3rd overall) with 4,620 total passing yards (3rd overall). They’re less impressive on the ground with a total of 1,723 rushing yards (20th overall) with an average of 107.7 rushing yards per game (20th overall). Their passing defense is ranked 13th overall by giving up an average of 232.9 passing yards per game. Their rushing defense sits at 17th overall by giving up an average of 119.6 yards per game. The odds are against them in their matchup with the Chiefs, but the Bills have proven time and time again that they will not be intimidated.

Kansas City Chiefs

The defending champs have picked up this season right where they left off after lifting the Lombardi trophy just under a year ago. Mahomes is not going to be 100% for in the AFC Championship game, but that may not matter. Mahomes already has an MVP and Super Bowl MVP to his name, but he’s looking to expand his collection. And while his numbers this year aren’t as stellar as they were in 2018, he’s still an incredibly elite QB. Mahomes has posted 4,740 yards this season with 38 touchdowns and 6 interceptions with a 66.3% completion percentage. The Chiefs offense dominates in the air (shocker) with 4,854 total passing yards and 303.4 passing yards per game, both ranking first in the NFL. They also lead the league in total offensive yards (6,653), total yards per game (415.8), but their rushing yards rank 16th in both total rushing yards (1,799) and average rushing yards per game (112.4). The Chiefs have the worst defense of the four remaining teams, but their passing defense fares better in this matchup against a passing heavy Bills team.

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