NFL Weekly Predictions: Conf. Championships

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

Kansas City @ Baltimore (-3)

Lamar Jackson passed for 2 scores and rushed for 2, as the Ravens pulled away in the second half to beat the Texans 34-10 at M&T Bank Stadium.

"You may have seen Lamar head to the locker room just a bit early before halftime," John Harbaugh said. "So let me quickly dispel any rumors that Lamar went to the locker room to perform his personal version of the 'Tush Push.' He did not.

"We really won the game in the second half. We scored 24 points, while Houston went scoreless. We came out in the second half with a purpose. The Texans, on the other hand, came out in the second half like Jim Irsay — unresponsive. Please, don't think I'm making fun of people with addiction issues. I'm not. I'm making fun of a dimwitted, entitled, and stupid NFL owner with addiction issues. Irsay's lack of sobriety is matched only by his lack of awareness.

"There's a great chance my little brother Jim will be coaching in the NFL again next season. It's his destiny. Not many people know this, but in high school, Jim was voted 'Most Likely to Take an NFL Head Coaching Job in Order to Avoid the Consequences of a Scandal-ridden College Head Coaching Tenure.' I, in turn, was later voted 'Most Likely to Be the Only Harbaugh With Any Semblance of an Ethical Compass.'"

The Chiefs beat the Bills 27-24 at Highmark Stadium to reach the AFC title game and again send the Bills to a disappointing offseason. K.C.'s win was secured when Tyler Bass' 44-yard field goal attempt sailed wide right.

"My heart goes out to Tyler Bass," Andy Reid said. "Seeing him miss that field goal reminded me of myself as a 12-year-old in the Punt, Pass, And Kick contest. Not because our experiences were the same, but when I was 12, I was 5'10" and 185 pounds. At that age, I wasn't quite 'wide right,' but I was definitely 'right wide.'

"We can't let Lamar Jackson run wild on us, so we'll have to deploy a spy in the game. I'm not an expert on spying, but Bill Belichick and Jim Harbaugh are. What I wouldn't give to be able to pick their brains on the matter. And you know what? They've both interviewed for the Atlanta Falcons head coaching job. It's not likely they were in the building at the same time, but can you imagine if they were? I bet it would have been deceptively informative."

"Patrick will be playing in his sixth AFC championship game. That's five more than Lamar. To say that Lamar has a monkey on his back is an understatement — he's got the whole order of primates on his back."

Mahomes outduels Jackson, and has four decisive rushes for 44 yards, the last of which sets up Harrison Butker's 43-yard, game-winning field goal.

Chiefs win, 27-24.

Detroit @ San Francisco (-7)

The 49ers surged late to end the Packers upset bid in a 24-21 San Francisco win at Levi's Stadium on Saturday night. Christian McCaffrey's 6-yard TD run with 1:07 left gave the 49ers the lead, and Dre Greenlaw's interception of Jordan Love sealed San Fran's third-straight trip to the NFC championship game.

"We certainly didn't play our best," Kyle Shanahan said. "But sometimes, 'less than the best' is good enough. That's also the philosophy behind the Dallas Cowboys head coach hiring process.

"But it's all about mental toughness. And that's something you have to have, to be a Cowboys fan. And you need mental toughness to come from behind and win. If you lack mental toughness, then you might be Green Bay's kicker.

"We know the Lions will come here and be prepared to play. How can they not, when their coach looks like a bouncer, as opposed to an insurance salesman, like me? Dan Campbell is a good coach and even better motivator. I can only imagine the influence Dan would have on Deebo Samuel were he Deebo's coach, because Deebo is perfectly willing to run through a brick wall without being told to. Deebo's like the Andy Reid of players, because he has total disregard for his body."

The Lions scored touchdowns on their final three drives to turn back the upset-minded Buccaneers in a 31-23 win over Tampa at Ford Field. Jared Goff passed for 2 touchdowns, one to Amon-Ra St. Brown, and Jahmyr Gibbs rushed for 74 yards and a touchdown.

"That's what you call the 'stars aligning,'" Dan Campbell said. "I'm not that into astrology, but they tell me my sign is Aries. I'm also told that Urban Meyer was a locker room Cancer.

"Jared is still playing with a chip on his shoulder. That's because that's where he got his COVID shot. Or at least that's what Aaron Rodgers once said on 'The Pat McAfee Show,' also known as 'Flocks of Jocks in Their Sandbox.'

"We can't thank the fans at Ford Field enough. Not only for their support and for making a lot of noise, but also for being willing to spend 7-10% of their yearly income on a single ticket. I think the whole city is firmly on our bandwagon, and that's great. Remember kids, you can't drink the water in Flint, but you can drink the Kool-Aid in Detroit.

"There's no way we can stop the 49ers offense entirely, but we can try to stop certain aspects of it. I think our best bet is to pressure Brock Purdy and force him to make difficult throws. In other words, we have to make Purdy 'earn it.' And his salary is so small, he could earn it with just one touchdown pass. And we'll take that."

Campbell pulls out all the stops early, with a flea flicker, a fourth down conversion, and a halfback option pass, all on the Lions first drive. Detroit cashes in with an early field goal and a 3-0 lead.

It's a close game throughout, with the Lions hammering their running attack at the 49ers, while Purdy finds George Kittle early and often to keep the San Fran offense humming.

It all comes down to the final drive, and with the 49ers facing a 3rd-and-17 with less than a minute remaining, a selfish official decides he wants to be famous, or infamous, and flags the Lions for a controversial holding penalty, giving San Fran a first down. Jake Moody wins it for San Fran with a 49-yard field goal as time expires.

49ers win, 30-27.

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