We are almost at Super Bowl LIV, in Miami, Florida. Months of a grueling schedule, and immense levels of stress and pressure comes down to this. The four best teams in the NFL are gearing up for their respective conference finals matchups. But, how exactly did we get here? What will happen this weekend? And who’s making it to Miami?
Packers @ 49ers
The NFC continues to keep things interesting, with the Packers beating the Seahawks in a down to the wire, controversial play, and the 49ers dominating the Vikings at Levi’s stadium. 49ers Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo threw for 131 yards, a touchdown, and a pick, but the rushing game and defense is the main story, with Tevin Coleman rushed for 105 yards and 2 touchdowns on 22 carries, and Kendrick Bourne found the endzone on a receiving touchdown on the opening drive.
The Niners defense held Dalvin Cook to only 18 yards and Kirk Cousins to 172 yards, an interception, and 1 touchdown. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers also got things done. Rodgers threw for 243 yards and 2 touchdowns, while Aaron Jones ran for 62 yards and 2 touchdowns. Russell Wilson, although putting up a great performance, couldn’t pull through for the Seahawks. Wilson threw for 277 yards and a touchdown, but his team couldn’t quite catch up to the Packers lead.
The 49ers will look to continue to destroy the competition with Jimmy G leading the offense and rookie Nick Bosa leading the defense. The Packers will look to end the 49ers Super Bowl hopes but the 49ers will pull through and get things done. The 49ers have systematically torn through defenses with a ruthless passing attack and three headed monster at running back, consisting of Tevin Coleman, Raheem Mostert and Matt Breida.
Their defense has been as stout as ever, with vicious pass rushing and cornerbacks who can put the clamps on anyone. I don’t believe Rodgers has it in him to beat the red hot 49ers. My prediction is 49ers continue to roll through the competition a blow out the Packers before Aaron Rodgers can say “R-E-L-A-X”.
Titans @ Chiefs
In the AFC you have the red hot road warriors: the Titans vs the Patrick Mahomes led Chiefs. The Titans have knocked off the number three seed Patriots and the number one seed Ravens to get here. While Patrick Mahomes and the chiefs came back from a 24 point deficit to win 51-31 against the Texans.
The Titans and Chiefs met in week 10 in Tennessee. That game came down to the wire with the Titans winning 35-32. For the Titans to pull off the upset again and punch their ticket to Miami for Superbowl LIV they need 5 important things to happen. First, they must dominate the time of possession. This is very important, they need to grind it out with red hot Derrick Henry and keep Patrick Mahomes and that explosive offense off the field.
Second, they need to win the turnover battle. Turnovers are the key to victory and if they want to win on Sunday they need to cause multiple turnovers and not turn the ball over on offense. Third, they need to Convert on all their red zone attempts and not leave any points on the board. The Titans are on a historic pace right now, since week 7 the titans have converted on 92% of their red zone attempts. That is an unprecedented pace and that is the reason why they made it to the AFC championship game.
Fourth they need to play physical and get sacks. They need to hit Mahomes and these Wide Receivers hard. They need to make them think twice about trying to get yards after the catch and they need to make their presence felt in coverage. They also need to get a lot of pressure and hits on Mahomes, making him release the ball quickly and ahead of schedule. If they can make Mahomes feel uncomfortable throwing, they can take away Kansas City’s best playmaker.
Finally, they need to win the Special Teams battle. The Titans need to pin the chiefs inside the 10 on every punt and make sure Pro Bowlers Mecole Hardman doesn’t get a big kick return. But in the end, I think the Mahomes led the offense and those speedy Wide Receivers like Hill and Hardman will continue their hot streak and just be too much for the Titans to handle. I have the Chiefs winning this game handily and setting up a great Super Bowl matchup in Miami between the Chiefs and 49ers.
By, Matthew Pastier and Samuel Mendelsohn