NFL Weekly Predictions: Conf. Championships

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

Tennessee @ Kansas City (-7½)

The Titans shocked the Ravens 28-12 in Baltimore, again led by Derrick Henry, who rushed for 195 yards, and also added a TD pass. Tennessee's defense forced 3 Lamar Jackson turnovers.

"Stopping Derrick is a difficult proposition for any defense," Mike Vrabel said. "As the Ravens showed, it's a task that most defenses would rather not 'tackle.' You saw Earl Thomas and his 'matador' tackling method. They call him the 'Earl of Olé. He was running away from Derrick faster than Derrick was running towards him.

"Derrick's jump-pass TD reminded a lot of people of Tim Tebow. That's because both of their careers as NFL passers were defined by one single play.

"But let's give credit to the Ravens and Lamar Jackson for a fine season. I don't think there's any doubt that Lamar will be back, and probably better. Sure, he had a rough night, but I know he'll bounce back. When you fall down, you just have to get back on your bike. Or, at least that's what his college coach Bobby Petrino would tell him.

"I know it's cliche, but to counter the Chiefs' high-powered offense, you have to 'shorten the game,' as they say. A successful running game can only do so much; the rest is up to taking multiple delay of game penalties on punts. I've turned that into a science. I call it the 'Tik Tok-ing of clock management."

After falling behind 24-0, the Chiefs exploded to take a 51-31 win over the Texans at Arrowhead Stadium to advance to their second straight AFC championship game. Patrick Mahomes passed for 5 touchdowns, 3 to Travis Kelce, and the K.C. defense held Houston to just 7 second-half points.

"I don't know what our problem was early in the game," Andy Reid said. "I think we all had our collective head up our collective ass. That would explain the 'big hole.'

"We knew we had to turn things around fast. If you're behind 24-0 in the second quarter, history says you'll most likely lose. But, if you're behind 24-0 in the second quarter to a Bill O'Brien-coached team, history now says you can overcome that deficit by halftime.

"I'd say Patrick is completely healthy now. His knee is perfectly fine. That speaks to the talent of our medical staff. In addition to conventional healing methods, they employed a variety of barbecue, ribs, and brisket seasonings to Patrick's knee. It's a 'dry rub' that even Robert Kraft could appreciate.

"It's simple against the Titans — stop Derrick Henry. That means we have to hit him behind the line of scrimmage. That's called 'penetration,' so, at least for this game, we'll call ourselves the 'Penetrators.' Of course, that would be a great name for an XFL franchise, if there was a team in Spread Eagle, Wisconsin, or Tightsqueeze, Virginia."

Chiefs win, 28-27.

Green Bay @ San Francisco (-7)

The 49ers battered the Vikings 27-10 at Levi's Stadium, employing a furious pass rush and dominant rushing attack to dispatch Minnesota. Nick Bosa led the defense with 2 sacks and 2 tackles for losses.

"Nick is practically unstoppable," Kyle Shanahan said. "I don't think this city's seen a pass rush talent like that since Aldon Smith. But Nick may be more dangerous. He strikes fear into quarterbacks like Aldon did to airports. If Nick's 'coming around the corner,' quarterbacks should beware. If Aldon's 'coming around the corner,' pedestrians should beware.

"We held the Vikings to just 7 first downs. That looks terrible in a box score, but apparently looks pretty good on a resume. Their offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski just got the Cleveland job. Meanwhile, Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, whose team just scored 51 points, didn't get a head coaching position. So, in essence, both Stefanski and Bieniemy got 'jobbed.'

"Our game plan against the Packers is no secret: run the ball well, and play solid defense. Our defense is coordinated by Robert Saleh, who's known for his intense stare, and easily recognizable by his bald head. If Robert was in Baltimore, he might very well be known as 'Twink Martindale,' because he's smooth and hairless."

The Packers raced to a 21-3 halftime lead and held on late to beat the Seahawks 28-23 at Lambeau Field. Aaron Jones rushed for 2 scores, Davante Adams had 2 receiving TDs, and Aaron Rodgers converted two crucial fourth quarter third downs to seal the win.

"I really love what Matt Lafleur has done for this offense," Rodgers said. "This offense now has attitude. Last year under Mike McCarthy, our offense also had attitude, but it was just mine.

"I exchanged jerseys with Marshawn Lynch after the game. Nothing beats a sweaty, bloody, Lambeau Field-stained, game-worn jersey by the man they call 'Beast Mode.' It came with a certificate of authenticity, as well as a copy of Marshawn's diploma from 'Funk U.' Does my jersey smell? Of course not. Everyone knows even my 'S' doesn't stink.

"We know the 49ers will be tough to beat at home. They crushed us 37-8 there back in Week 12. It was embarrassing. We were dominated. I think everyone graded out as an 'F.' I just want everyone to take responsibility, acknowledge that they played like 'S,' and man the 'F' up. Then ensures that 'SF' is our top focus."

Rodgers puts his team on his back, and the Green Bay offensive scheme calls for roll-outs and throws on the run to avoid the lethal San Fran rush. Rodgers hits Aaron Jones for a late touchdown, and Jimmy Garappolo's second turnover of the game clinches the Packer upset.

Green Bay wins, 27-25.

Afterwards, Rodgers exchanges jerseys with Richard Sherman, and Rodgers sweetens the deal with a pair of Danica Patrick's yoga pants.

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