NFL Weekly Predictions: Conf. Championships

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

Los Angeles @ New Orleans (-3½)

The Rams beat the Cowboys, 30-22, as the L.A. rushing attack exploded for 273 yards and 3 touchdowns. C.J. Anderson accounted for 123 yards and 2 TDs, while Todd Gurley rushed for 115 and a score. We imagine that Rams fans will be in search of free bets for online betting markets, as their confidence will be sky-high.

"We found the holes in the Cowboys defense," Sean McVay said, "and filled them with Rams running backs. I'm sure the Cowboys are disappointed. After the game, I saw Jerry Jones 'tearing up.' No, he wasn't crying; he was 'tearing up' Jason Garrett's contract extension.

"Todd and C.J. give us an awesome one-two punch in the backfield. Todd is the speed, C.J. is the power. Do they have a collection nickname? How about 'Smash and Dash?' Already taken? Then how about 'Slash and Mash-(-ed Potatoes)?'

"My job as a coach is to devise a game plan that Jared Goff is comfortable with. We're pretty sure the Saints will bring pressure in some fashion. Lately, when faced with pressure, Jared has looked like Adam Gase at his introductory press conference — like a deer, on bad acid, in the headlights. If I plan correctly, Jared will be as calm and as laid back as his California upbringing. And it will be 'Drew Brees vs. Cool Breeze."

The Saints erased an early 14-0 deficit and beat the visiting Eagles 20-14. Marcus Lattimore had 2 interceptions, while Michael Thomas was unstoppable, with 12 receptions for 171 yards and a touchdown.

"We'd like to thank Ohio State University for those to guys," Sean Payton said. "And we'll be sure to suppress the video of them abusing Eagles.

"You'll probably see me wheel out $200,000 and the Lombardi Trophy to remind my players what's at stake. But don't call it a 'bounty.' Essentially, it's a kinder, gentler, and NFL-approved way of saying 'Bring me Brett Favre's head on a platter.' Not that I've ever said that.

"We'll certainly have to game plan to stop the L.A. rushing attack, but I'm very confident we can. To the Rams I say, 'You can run, but you can't hide, from your defense."

Tempers flare on the field during pregame warmups, when Rams teammates Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib engage in a shoving match, over who will engage in a shoving match with Michael Thomas. Order is restored when Talib fires a pistol into the air.

Saints win, 33-24.

New England @ Kansas City (-3)

The Chiefs overwhelmed the mistake-prone Colts, 31-13, at Arrowhead Stadium and advanced to their first AFC championship game since 1994. Kansas City rushed for 180 yards and 4 touchdowns.

"We rushed for 180 yards and 4 touchdowns," Andy Reid said. "It was the closest thing to a 'playoff run' in Kansas City in decades.

"The Colts have nothing to be ashamed of, though. They can leave Kansas City with their heads held high, and their hips thrust forward, right in the face of an official. That's going to invoke a penalty every time. Gyrating your hips in front of an official is not only rude, it's downright 'Rick Rude.'

"The Patriots definitely have an advantage due to experience. Nowhere is that disparity more obvious than at quarterback. Tom Brady is the 'GOAT'; Patrick Mahomes is just a 'kid.' Some say the 'GOAT' isn't the only cloven-hoofed being working on behalf of the Patriots. No, I'm not talking about 'Beezle-Bob Kraft.' I'm talking about Satan himself. Don't believe me? You're familiar with 'Hell-Gate,' I assume? Enough said."

The Patriots raced to a 35-7 halftime lead and cruised to the AFC title game with a 41-28 win over the Chargers. Sony Michel rushed for 129 yards and 3 touchdowns, while Tom Brady passed for 344 and a score.

"I'm not sure if the Chargers were just tired from flying West Coast to East Coast for the second time," Brady said. "In any case, we had our way with them, and they couldn't get out of town fast enough. It's was a case of 'Our way, then the runway.'

"Philip Rivers is now winless against me in 8 tries. One more, and he'll have a loss to me for each of his nine children. In my family, each of my kids would have a Super Bowl ring by the time I was done.

"But nine kids is impressive. And I've got to hand it to Rivers. He knows how to make babies, and I guess his doctors know how to deliver, even if he can't. But good luck to Philip. I hope he can enjoy the offseason. I hear he runs a farm, where he sows wild oats.

"We know Arrowhead Stadium will be rocking. The Chiefs are favored, and most people will be pulling against us. But we don't mind being the underdog, or the bad guy, or the defendant in an NFL investigation, or the inspiration for a controversial event that earns a nickname with '-gate' at the end. We're coming with attitude, and an unparalleled history of success. That's right, we're bringing the 'Patriot mystique.' And I'm bringing the 'Patriot mystic,' Alex Guerrero, whom I like to call the 'Magic 8-Ball of Personal Trainers.'"

Temperatures are forecast in the single digits, which makes a witch's titty, a well digger's ass, and the NFL's sympathy towards concussions seem downright balmy by comparison. And if the Chiefs defense can't make Tom Brady feel the frozen tundra on his backside, then they have no chance to stop the Patriots.

Brady engineers the game-winning drive that culminates with Stephen Gostkowski's 51-yard field goal with 43 seconds left, and the Pats take their first lead of the game. Mahomes' 77-yard Hail Mary pass is caught by Travis Kelce, but falls short of the goal line.

Patriots win, 28-26.

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