NFL Weekly Predictions: Conf. Championships

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

Tampa Bay @ Green Bay (-3)

The Packers rolled over the visiting Rams 32-18 to advance to their second straight NFC championship game. Aaron Rodgers passed for 2 scores and ran for another, Green Bay's defense sacked Jared Goff 4 times.

"We scored on our first five drives," Rodgers said. "And it was against the NFL's No. 1 defense. We take No. 1 defenses and make them question themselves, and their rankings, and possibly their genders. If you can make Jalen Ramsey yell at his teammates, you've done a good job as an offense, or a bad job as head coach of the Jaguars.

"This is my first NFC championship game at Lambeau Field, and I can't wait. It's going to be cold, icy, and bitter, much like my relationship with my relatives.

"We haven't forgotten what the Bucs did to us in Week 6. Trust me, revenge is a great motivator. So is your team wisely planning for the future by drafting a quarterback. How dare they? People say, 'Well, now you know how Brett Favre felt.' No, I don't, and neither does Brett, because he couldn't feel anything, thanks to the Vicodin."

The Bucs used four turnovers, which led to 21 points, to knock off the Saints in the Superdome. Tom Brady will be appearing in his 14th conference championship game.

"Our game plan on offense was simple," Brady said. "It was to take what the defense gave us. Our defense had a similar game plan: to take what the Saints offense gave them.

"But congratulations to Drew Brees on a great career. All I can say is 'So long, Drew.' Your passes down field? Not so long. I wish Drew nothing but the best in whatever route he chooses. I guess it's true what they say: 'Nice guys finish their careers losing to Tom Brady.'

"If I win the Super Bowl after changing teams and learning an entirely new offense, then there can absolutely be no more debate of whether I'm the greatest quarterback of all time. Winning it with the Bucs should settle that. But it will come with a heavy cost — I'll be mentioned in the same breath with Trent Dilfer."

Brady and Rodgers meet at midfield for the opening coin toss, where Brady initially calls "heads," but changes to "tails" while the coin is in the air. The coin lands on "heads," and after a heated argument on the field, the decision goes to instant replay, a first for a coin toss. Replay officials, after lengthy deliberation, grant Brady his first choice, much to the chagrin of the Packers, their fans, and Charles Woodson.

Brady has five more Super Bowl rings than Rodgers weighing him down, and that's significant, because that lack of weight will allow Rodgers to scramble out of trouble on multiple occasions, either for throws on the run, or for turning potential sacks into positive rushing gains. Never has 48 rushing yards meant so much.

Packers win, 30-24.

Buffalo @ Kansas City (-3)

The Bills shut down Lamar Jackson and secured the win over the Ravens on Taron Johnson's 101-yard interception return as Baltimore was driving for a potential tying score late in the third quarter.

"It was a game of mistakes," Sean McDermott said, "and the Ravens made all of them. Even Justin Tucker, the most accurate kicker in NFL history, missed 2 field goals, both of which hit the upright. O.J. Simpson would call that a 'double doink.'

"Our ultimate goal is to win the Super Bowl. Not just get there, but win it. This city deserves as much. This franchise has been so close so many times. If winning the Super Bowl is the 'Promised Land,' then this franchise has one foot in the 'Promised Land,' and the other foot in the crease.

"Now, we know Patrick Mahomes suffered a concussion, but we're expecting him to play on Sunday. Anyone with half a brain, or a history of concussions, or who's employed in the Texans front office, can see that a rational, unbiased, Kansas City-based doctor will certainly clear Patrick to play. And I say that with a wink and a nod."

The Chiefs built a 19-3 lead and held on to beat Baker Mayfield and the Browns 22-17 at Arrowhead Stadium. Patrick Mahomes suffered a concussion in the third quarter, and backup Chad Henne shook off an interception to make the game-clinching plays down the stretch.

"The Browns were certainly a worthy opponent," Andy Reid said. "Of course, we didn't think they wouldn't be. They've been a very good team all year. So, our motto during our week of preparation was, 'The Browns are the Browns.'

"It's not often a touchback has a greater impact on a game than a touchdown. But players should know that you shouldn't try to extend the ball across the plane unless you're sure you can cross it. We regularly emphasize that to our players. Thus the sign above the locker room door that says, 'Just the Tip.' At least I think that's what it applies to.

"Patrick was a little wobbly after taking the hit, but he seemed to be fine. He hasn't spent a whole lot of time in the blue medical tent this season, but when he has, he's made the most of it. I wouldn't be surprised if he comes out of this with an endorsement deal with a camping supply company.

"If, by some odd occurrence, Patrick can't play, we're perfectly confident in Chad's ability to run the offense into the ground. We call Chad Patrick's 'side piece.' Patrick has urged us to come up with a different nickname. So, let's say Chad is Patrick's 'side arm.'

"But don't think for a second this offense can't be explosive without Patrick. If you've seen an Andy Reid offense, you know the 'chunk play' is a possibility at any given moment. Donovan McNabb can for sure vouch for that.

"But I would be shocked if Patrick doesn't get doctor's clearance to play. And I would also be shocked if the doctor who doesn't clear him still has a job with the Chiefs."

Mahomes arrives at Arrowhead Stadium sporting a Willis Reed Knicks jersey, and heroically fights through the effects of a concussion and a nagging toe injury to take the field. No one is happier than Tyreek Hill, who assaults his position coach to show his approval.

K.C. rushes for 150 yards as a team, while Mahomes steers clear of danger and passes for 2 scores. Tyrann Mathieu knocks down Allen's pass for the potential game-tying two-point conversion, and the Chiefs win, 27-25.

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