The NFL Playoffs continue this week as we head into the conference championships with two massive games scheduled! The Packers will take on the Buccaneers in the NFC while the Chiefs will host the Bills in the AFC. As usual, we have you covered with a full preview and betting tips for both games below.
Lambeau Field, Monday 7.05am (AEDT)
The Packers were the strongest team in the NFC throughout the season, earning the No.1 seed and the week off in the first round of the playoffs. They faced the Rams in the divisional round and secured a comfortable 14 point win to move onto the NFC Championship game for the second straight year. Star quarterback Aaron Rodgers, despite winning one Super Bowl in his career, has been pretty poor in NFC Championship games, losing his last three trips to the penultimate round since winning SBXLV.
Their opponents, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, have been one of the most tortured organisations in the league since winning the Super Bowl back in 2002. This year marks just the 3rd time since that season that the Buccs have made the playoffs and just the first time they have secured a playoff win. Their starting quarterback, Tom Brady, knows a thing or two about winning playoffs games, having been to and won a conference championship a record nine times.
The NFL will be salivating at the prospect of getting two of the best quarterbacks of the modern era in Brady and Rogers squaring off here. Brady has squared off against the Packers six times over the course of his career, maintaining a 4-2 record.
The Buccs will start as three point underdogs on the road, which is interestingly where they have done the bulk of their damage this season. They were 6-2 straight up on the road during the regular season while the Packers were 7-1 at home. The cold weather in Green Bay shouldn’t have an effect on Tom Brady, who has spent the majority of his career playing in Foxboro.
Love the value of the Buccs here. They were underdogs against the Saints on the weekend and the experience of Brady and co. carried them over the line in a game that they really had no right to win. Throughout his career, Brady has found ways to win these games and we think he will do so again in a low scoring slugfest.
Arrowhead Stadium, Monday 10.40am (AEDT)
The Chiefs were dealt an almighty scare in the divisional round game as their star quarterback Patrick Mahomes went down with a concussion. Backup Chad Henne stepped in and put the finishing touches on the close win over the Browns, helping the Chiefs to their third straight AFC Championship game.
The Bills were fantastic in their divisional round win over the Ravens. They kept Baltimore to just three points in the win, making it two solid defensive performance through the playoffs so far. The matchup between the two most exciting young quarterbacks in the league in Mahomes and Josh Allen is a stark contrast to the matchup we will be seeing in the NFC between the two veterans.
Mahomes is still completing the concussion protocols, but there is absolutely no way he doesn’t play in this game, the bookmakers agree, starting the Chiefs as just three point favourites at home. If there was any chance that Mahomes could be ruled out this week, that line would likely shift to the Bills favour.
With Mahomes in the line-up, this is an extremely tough game to call between two of the most dynamic offences in the league. The Bills were 6-2 on the road this season and 5-3 against the spread on the road, but when the two sides met in Buffalo back in Week six, the Chiefs were 9 point winners.
We are staying away from either side here and opting for the over instead. If one side gets out to a two score lead, this will become an absolute track meet between two of the most pass-heavy offences in the league. Back the over here.
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