CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP POWER RANKINGS
Well here we have it, our Conference Championship Power Rankings. The second last Power Rankings of the season. There are only two weeks of competitive NFL action left in the season. Now that the Divisional Round is over we can take a look at the Conference Championship Power Rankings. Eight teams battled it out for the right to compete in their Championship Games and the right to battle it out for a spot in Super Bowl LV. So who made it? Well the matchups for this weekend are as follows:
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the Green Bay Packers
Buffalo Bills at the Kansas City Chiefs
Divisional Round Recap
Tom Brady and his Buccaneers managed to overcome Drew Brees and his Saints. Brees couldn’t keep up, and in what was probably his last game, he bowed out in a disappointing fashion. A three-interception night that really highlighted his inability to get the ball down the field is not the way that he would have wanted to leave the game. You rarely get to go out on top, but Brees certainly goes out as one of the best ever. In the other NFC game, the Green Bay Packer’s offense dominated the Los Angeles Rams defense as Aaron Rodgers continues his quest for a second Lombardi Trophy.
In the AFC Conference, the Buffalo Bills advanced thanks to a dominating defensive performance against the Baltimore Ravens. Buffalo held Lamar Jackson and his Ravens to a measly three points and put up 17 of their own. A Josh Allen touchdown to Stefon Diggs and a defensive pick-six was more than enough as the Bills get one step closer to another Super Bowl appearance. Next up were the champion Kansas City Chiefs who welcomed the Cleveland Browns into Arrowhead. Even with Patrick Mahomes going out injured with a concussion the Kansas City Chiefs had too much for the Browns as they went on to win 22-17.
So the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Green Bay Packers, Buffalo Bills, and Kansas City Chiefs all advance to the conference championships. Who are the favorites to advance to Tampa Bay and the Super Bowl? Lets look at our Conference Campionship Power Rankings.
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Despite getting one over on the Saints and finally beating them this year the Buccaneers are still sitting at fourth on this list. A game that was all about two greats of the game going up against each other for the last time ever, probably, turned into a nightmare for one of them. A buoyed Tampa defense forced four turnovers including three interceptions of Drew Brees as they took hold of this game. They held Micheal Thomas to no catches on only four attempts and played the perfect defense against a dink and dunk Saints offense.
Stuff the run and play press on the Saint’s wide receivers prevented Brees from finding his quick outs and wrecked Sean Payton’s game plan. Tom Brady didn’t do anything special but he made no mistakes and found the open man enough times to put up 30 points. Tampa won this game as a direct result of the four turnovers, if they are to do the same against Green Bay then their defense will need to be even better when they play against Aaron Rodgers.
3. Buffalo Bills
Buffalo versus Baltimore was built up to be two offensive juggernauts that would pile up the points. Both teams have defenses that are capable of big plays but are also susceptible to big plays against them. Buffalo was outgained once again by their playoff opponents but they made the big play when it mattered – a feat that has helped many teams win the Super Bowl down the years. After battling out to a 3-3 tie at halftime the Bills came out in the second half, and in the course of two drives the game was over.
Josh Allen led his team down the field and found Stefon Diggs in the end-zone for a three-yard touchdown pass. On the very next drive, the Ravens went 14 plays and found themselves on third and nine inside the Buffalo ten. Buffalo dropped seven into coverage and picked of Lamar Jackson before going all the way for a pick-six touchdown. Buffalo made the big plays when it mattered and that is what sees them playing in their first AFC Championship game since 1993.
2. Kansas City Chiefs
Cleveland came into the home of the champions hoping to pull off one of the biggest upsets in sports history. It has been a while since Cleveland found themselves in this situation but they have shown that they are more than deserving of being there. Kansas City on the other hand is more than used to the pressure of the playoffs and it showed. Kansas came out and scored two touchdowns on the opening two drives to ease any nerves there might have been.
The Kansas defense also stepped up as they held the Browns to just three points in the first half. Disaster struck in the third quarter as Patrick Mahomes was forced to leave the game with a concussion. Fortunately for the Chiefs Chad Henne did his best impression of Mahomes as he rushed for thirteen and a half yards on a third and fourteen. A gutsy play call on fourth and one sealed the victory as Henne found Tyreek Hill and iced the game. Kansas advance and will host the AFC Championship Game for a third consecutive season.
1. Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers and his all-conquering offense dominated the best defense from the NFL regular season. Despite having to settle for what he was given, Rodgers still put up almost 500 yards of total offense. His offensive line kept him clean all night and prevented the kit man from needing to wash his jersey. Rodgers utilized the play-action and went eight out of ten for 98 yards. This included a 56-yard touchdown pass to Allen Lazard.
For the second consecutive season, the Green Bay Packers went 13-3. Now they find themselves going back to the NFC Championship Game, only this time they get to host. Despite losing big to the Buccaneers earlier on in the season, Rodgers will be raring to go in this one as he tries to get back to the Super Bowl. Since then the Packer’s offense has just got better and better and Aaron Rodgers is playing at an MVP level. The NFC Championship is the Packers to lose but they will need to be on their A-game to topple Tom Brady.