Written By: Avery and Wronsko
Playoff record: Wronsko (10-9-1); Avery (8-8)
It's going to be almost impossible to top what we got to see last weekend. Four amazing games coming down to the very last play. Three road dawgs winning on last second field goals and then the barn burner in Kansas City - which was one of the best NFL games of all time.
After all that chaos, four teams remain. Bengals, Chiefs, Rams, 49ers - two will play in Super Bowl 56, and two will go home.
The fact that there's only three games left on the season is accentuating the Sunday scaries just a little bit. Nonetheless, Wronsko and Avery are here to break down Championship Sunday.
Bengals (+7) @ Chiefs O/U 54.5
Avery’s picks: Chiefs -7, Ja’Marr Chase TD (+120)
I’ve seen enough – it was always the Chiefs. Patrick Mahomes is officially the heartbreak kid. Thirteen seconds, THIRTEEN SECONDS! Like, come on. I'm sorry Buffalo that is a tough pill to swallow. Last year KC barely squeaked past Cleveland and then blew the Bills out in the AFCCG. This year they barely squeaked past Buffalo and will handily beat the Bengals.
The Chiefs defence may have folded like a cheap suit last week, but they were brining pressure up front. Two sacks and four TFL, with Melvin Ingram and Chris Jones having eight combined QB pressures – Allen was just too elusive for it to really matter. Burrow was sacked nine times last week so the Chiefs interior pressure should materialize today.
The Bengals beat Tennessee by forcing turnovers and making Tannehill see ghosts (of Adam Gase). It will be tough to force mistakes like that out of Mahomes who is boasting a 8-1 TD-INT ratio in the playoffs.
KC’s coaching staff has had plenty of time to figure out what went wrong a month ago when they lost 34-31 to the Bengals.
That being said, I’ll take Ja’Marr Chase anytime TD at +120.
Wronsko's picks: Over 54.5, Joe Burrow Over 24.5 completions (-115), Boyd Over 39.5 Yards (-110), Mixon TD (+100)
The Empire vs. The Problem Child
To this point, I’ve picked a spread or ML for every single playoff game, but for this one I can’t really decide. The line (-7) is too many points, especially considering how porous this Chiefs defence can be, and Chiefs ML just has no value sitting at -370.
So, I’m rolling with O/U and props.
Considering what we saw last week in Arrowhead and Week 17 in Cincinnati, this game is bound to go over, right? We have Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill, Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, Joe Mixon and of course Joe Burrow and Patrick Mahomes all on the same field… fireworks are bound to be set off. That’s not even considering how helpless these secondaries have been this year. Even though the line sits at 54.5 (up from the 50.0 it closed at during Week 17), the over is bound to hit. Like a Brent Venables cover-zero blitz, it’s just inevitable.
If I could take over 400 yards of YAC this game, I would. This is going to be a track meet.
In player prop news, Burrow led the league in completion percentage this year at a ridiculous 70.4 per cent clip, and he’s been scorching in terms of completions in the last four weeks, averaging 29.75 completions per game during that stretch. If this game is a shootout, I don’t see how Burrow could complete fewer than 25 passes.
Tyler Boyd is due, simple as that. Sitting at 39.5 yards, considering his performance in Week 17, this is a no brainer.
And finally, after my 3-0 run on anytime TD scorers last week, I feel obligated to throw out a Joe Mixon
49ers (+3.5) @ Rams, O/U 45.5
Avery’s picks: Rams -3.5, o45.5
It’s a Washington Football Team reunion party! Sean McVay, Kyle Shanahan and Mike McDaniel, three great offensive minds – savant’s, some would say. Did I forget about anyone? No, because a certain fraud in Green Bay won’t be mentioned, because he is golfing right now.
Anyways, McVay will finally get his trademark win over Shanahan today. SoFi may just be Levi Stadium south and I expect it to be over 50% niner gang there, but the rosters will decide this game. The Rams have looked amazing recently, barring that fourth quarter near-collapse last week. They should have beaten the Niners in week 18, but they didn't and now have to deal with the consequences.
Stafford has been playing well and the defense is humming. I have absolutely no faith in Jimmy Garappolo to get the job done here.
Take a moment to look at these stats – who would you rather have.
Quarterback A is Gardner Minshew, Quarterback B is Jimmy G. That settles that, Rams all day. Also, give me the over.
Wronsko's picks: Rams -3.5, Cooper Kupp anytime TD (-130)
My colleague, Mr. Perri, mentioned last week that Sean McVay would attempt to exorcise demons from Super Bowl 53 when facing Tom Brady. Well, this week he has a chance to exorcise some Shanahan demons.
The 49ers defeated the Rams twice this year, just like they did in 2020, just like they did in 2019. The Rams have dropped that last six contests against the 49ers, and it seems “Shanahan Territory” may extend into McVay’s head.
But, even considering all of that, I’m taking the Rams allll day (against my better judgement).
And why is that? Well, when I watch the tape of their most recent matchup in Week 18, I see a Rams team that utterly gave away a game.
Los Angeles was cruising in the first half of that contest. Matt Stafford was dealing, triple-crown winner Cooper Kupp was being his usual pesky self, and the Rams defence was causing serious problems for Mike McDaniel and his offensive unit. Leading 17-3 going into halftime, it was looking like the Rams had finally got over the hump.
In the second half (third quarter specifically), however, the script flipped, and LA couldn’t do anything right. Stafford started taking sacks and risks, the offence was stagnant, and the defence couldn’t tackle or control their gaps. Just a complete meltdown in those 30 minutes of football, especially in the last two where they couldn’t hold a seven-point lead.
This weekend, the Rams will correct those mistakes and show who is the better and more talented team. I believe they will make stopping the run a priority and they will dare Jimmy Garoppolo to beat them in the face of a vaunted pass rush that made Tom Brady’s life miserable in Tampa last week. They won’t fall for trick plays, they won’t get ahead of themselves, and they won’t play it ultra-conservative in the final five minutes.
For the second straight year, we’ll have a hosting team in the Super Bowl.
Oh, and just like last week, we roll with Kupp anytime. It’s freeee money at this point.