When Super Bowl LIII is played in Atlanta on February 3, 2019, either the Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Rams, New England Patriots, or New Orleans Saints will walk away with the Vince Lombardi trophy. But before we can get to the big game, we’re lucky to have two very intriguing conference championship games to look forward to.
On January 20th, the New England Patriots will face the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship. That same day, the Los Angeles Rams will take on the New Orleans Saints to crown an NFC champ. Here’s a look at what you need to know heading into the NFL conference title games and the ensuing championship game.
And Then There Were Four
Four teams are left to fight for their spot in the 53rd NFL Super Bowl. Here’s a breakdown of who they are, their coaches, and players to watch:
- Kansas City Chiefs: Coached by veteran Andy Reid, the Chiefs have arguably the best offensive player out of the remaining teams, Patrick Mahomes. A convincing win over the Colts has Kansas City riding high and ready to take on the Patriots to become the AFC Champions of 2019.
- New England Patriots: The tandem of coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady is always a threat, but the Patriots are a different team when they’re not at home. Can they go on the road to Kansas City and win?
- New Orleans Saints: The Saints, coached by Sean Payton, limped to the end of the season, and didn’t exactly wow fans by winning 20-14 over the Eagles in the divisional round. But the Superdome is a snake pit, which can be very advantageous. Cornerback Marshon Lattimore’s game-saving interception in the January 13th Saints v. Eagles game makes him a player to watch.
- Los Angeles Rams: The Rams are another team that has looked lackluster at the tail end of the season, and winning in New Orleans will be no easy feat next week for a berth in the biggest event in football. After winning their first playoff game since 2004 under the coaching of Sean McVay, and with standout performances by Todd Gurley and C.J Anderson, there’s still a chance that the Rams could walk away as the NFC champions of 2019.
Key Headlines to Watch
- Can the Rams run the ball? When Los Angeles’ running game is working, the Rams are a tough team to stop. They ran for 273 yards in their win over the Cowboys, a facet of their game that – when working right – makes Jared Goff much more dangerous as quarterback.
- Is New England’s run over? Brady is still a very good quarterback, but we’ve seen signs of a decline this season. Considering just how much football the Patriots have played in the last several years when counting championship games, it’s worth wondering if they’re wearing down.
- Can Mahomes keep it going? Patrick Mahomes is one of the best players in football in just his first full season as a starting quarterback. Can he keep it going through the AFC title game and into the big game?
Our Game Day Predictions
Now it’s time for us to weigh in. First of all, we like Kansas City topping New England to earn the 2019 AFC Championship, and we like the Saints holding off the Rams in the NFC Championship Game, much like they did with the Eagles.
For our championship prediction, we think New Orleans narrowly escapes a final charge from the upstart Chiefs to win Super Bowl LIII, 24-23. We think the Saints are more of a complete football team, and Kansas City won’t be able to move the ball offensively as easy as they have to date.
Only time will tell who will be crowned football champs of 2019, but one thing we know for sure is that it will be an exciting game to watch.
Image Source: NBC Sports