Each NFL convention championship video games characteristic level spreads round three factors in favor of the house groups. Meaning Rams vs. Saints in New Orleans and Patriots vs. Chiefs in Kansas Metropolis are primarily choose’em video games.

Such an absence of clear favorites and underdogs (it doesn’t matter what Tom Brady is likely to be claiming) makes life more durable on prognosticators like us. No matter. We will deal with it. As a result of, whereas no person can promise 100 % accuracy on sport predictions, we’re assured in our perception that each of Sunday’s championship video games can be dandies.

MORE: Information, odds for Tremendous Bowl 53 in Atlanta

Beneath are SN’s picks and predictions for the NFC and AFC convention championship video games.

Picks, odds for NFL convention championship video games

  • Date, time: Solar., Jan 20, 3:05 p.m. ET
  • Location: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, La.
  • TV: FOX
  • Odds: Saints -3.5; Complete: 57

Vinnie Iyer: Offense has been the calling card for each the Saints and the Rams, however this sport will come all the way down to which group can play higher protection. Los Angeles faces a a lot more durable run protection in New Orleans than the one it noticed in opposition to, whereas the Saints get a way more favorable matchup for Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram.

The Saints’ secondary, which performed properly in opposition to the Eagles, additionally will get a break, because the Rams this time can be with out Cooper Kupp, a key receiving issue within the first sport. In the meantime, the Rams’ corners must be having nightmares about Drew Brees’ go-to man, Michael Thomas, who posted 12 catches for 211 yards in opposition to them in Week 9 and simply burned the Eagles for 12 catches for 171 yards.

Sean McVay’s group will transfer the ball with Todd Gurley, Robert Woods and former Saint Brandin Cooks, however the coach cannot cowl up his group’s quite a few defensive deficiencies away from Aaron Donald. The Saints are stable and deep on each degree, even after the massive blow of shedding deal with Sheldon Rankins within the divisional spherical.

Los Angeles and New Orleans match one another for probably the most half on offense and particular groups, however give Brees the sting over Goff at QB, and the Saints will play higher situational protection. The Superdome crowd additionally will present an enormous increase because the Saints march on to that different Mercedes-Benz venue in Atlanta.

Choose: Saints, 38-30

Tadd Haislop: A lot about this sport tempts one to foretell a Rams victory. To start with, there’s the age-old generalization that it is extraordinarily troublesome to beat an NFL group twice in a single season. And it isn’t like Los Angeles was blown out in New Orleans the primary time round.

Additionally presumably working within the Rams’ favor is their angle. After that first assembly, when Thomas dominated LA cornerback Marcus Peters and Payton famous as a lot in his post-game feedback, Peters offered one thing of a warning: “Inform Sean Payton to maintain speaking that s—. We will see him quickly. You are feeling me? Yeah, as a result of I like what he was saying on the sidelines, too. Inform him, ‘Maintain speaking that s—. And I hope to see you quickly.’ You hear me? After which we’ll have a pleasant little bowl of gumbo collectively.”

Gumbo time has arrived on the excellent time for the Rams. Their forceful speeding assault smothered the Cowboys’ inside defensive position and worn out the Dallas linebackers within the divisional spherical; now it is pitted in opposition to a Saints protection that misplaced a key piece in Rankins in opposition to the Eagles.

However the working sport, paradoxically, is the place LA’s benefits run out. If New Orleans’ offensive line can handle Donald and get to the second degree, its working backs can and can run all around the Los Angeles protection. Even after their sluggish begin within the divisional spherical, the Saints knew Kamara and Ingram couldn’t be stopped. The identical ought to apply within the convention championship sport.

A sport like that is precisely why the Saints padded their protection within the offseason — see Demario Davis and Marcus Davenport. And if it comes all the way down to the previous couple of possessions, when the QBs usually resolve the sport, everyone knows which group has the benefit.

Choose: Saints, 31-24

  • Date, time: Solar., Jan 20, 6:40 p.m. ET
  • Location: Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas Metropolis, Mo.
  • TV: CBS
  • Odds: Chiefs -3; Complete: 57.5

Vinnie Iyer: The Patriots are nonetheless the Patriots, however the Chiefs’ previous playoff missteps beneath coach Andy Reid will get buried right here for 2 causes: They’re at dwelling, and so they have Patrick Mahomes.

Brady will sustain his group’s offensive momentum, however New England will lose this one defensively, because the velocity, quickness and athleticism of Kansas Metropolis’s ability gamers are an excessive amount of to deal with a second time.

The Patriots have been weaker on the highway this season, and Mahomes can blow up even their best-laid sport plan. Having realized from the primary assembly, Mahomes can have a clear, prolific sport to out-duel Brady and stamp his MVP standing with a visit to what is likely to be the primary of a number of Tremendous Bowls.

Choose: Chiefs 38-33

Tadd Haislop: The Patriots and Chiefs gained their divisional playoff video games in opposition to the Chargers and Colts, respectively, in a similar way. Despite the fact that New England blew out its opponent on the scoreboard, the domination was rooted within the energy working sport with Sony Michel. Surprisingly, that is how Kansas Metropolis managed its win, too, with Damien Williams.

Presumably, New England will use the same sport plan within the convention title sport in opposition to a Kansas Metropolis protection that has been weak to the run at occasions in 2018. The Patriots have a bonus on the bottom, and retaining stress away from Brady can be very important.

The tried-and-true formulation to beating New England is attending to Brady, however few groups can really do it. Kansas Metropolis pass-rushers Dee Ford and Justin Houston gave Indianapolis offensive tackles matches within the divisional spherical, and Chris Jones completes one of many league’s greatest pass-rushing trios. So, yeah, the Chiefs can do it.

With that stated, the Patriots have the sting in general protection, if something as a result of they’re going to be ready with a sport plan to comprise the likes of Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. So choosing in opposition to New England, the group with the perimeters in protection and within the working sport, would go in opposition to all the pieces we find out about postseason NFL soccer.

Oh properly. Mahomes is simply completely different.

Choose: Chiefs, 35-31

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