Pick the conference champions

For this weekend’s conference championships, here are my predictions. Bet the opposite and go home rich!

First, in the AFC, I am taking the Bengals. Both teams have outstanding offenses, but the difference maker here will be the Bengals defense, which is under-rated. No, they aren’t “great”, but they are good enough to slow down the Chiefs enough to win when it counts, as they have shown the last 2 weeks.

In the NFC, I like the Rams. Beating a team 3 times in one season is tough to do, not to mention the Rams have been improving all season long, and they are peaking at the right time. The 49ers just don’t strike me as a strong enough team to display total domination over any team, let alone a team that just knocked Tom Brady out of the playoffs. Also, the 49ers offense was shut down by the Packers, and the Rams have an even better defense. This game could turn ugly, with a great team like the Rams having something to prove.

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Agree on the Rams. Nothing to add there.

In the AFC, I lean towards the Chiefs. Their defense hasn*t always been great, but it has been extremely gritty at times. Think of the week 11-14 stretch, when in 3 consecutive games, they kept the Cowboys, the Broncos and the Raiders at under 10 points each.

And they have something to prove against the Bengals, after the week 17 loss. They will show up.

The Bengals defense may be underrated, but they won’t be able to shut the Chiefs offense down. Chiefs have plenty of playoff experience. They will find a way.

OTOH, I would not use the lack of experience as an argument against the Bengals. That team has been cold as ice in pressure situations so far. They ooze confidence, without showing any signs of overconfidence complacency so far.

It will be another close game, but I’ll take the Chiefs here.

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The key with the Chiefs is you don’t have to shut them down, just slow them down. Once you knock Mahomes off his rhythm, the Chiefs become beatable.

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In week 9, I would have agreed. In week 21, not so much. The Chiefs offense struggled mid-season, but they clearly found a solution.

Since week 10, they have a 9-1 record and scored 30+ points in 7 of those games (40+ in 4 of them).

That loss was against the Bengals, though. But even in that game, the Chiefs scored 31 points.

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