The NFL AFC Championship Game is live this Sunday night, live from Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. The AFC contender for Superbowl 53 will be decided, Tom Brady leads the New England Patriots against soon to be MVP Patrick Mahomes and his Kansas City Chiefs. It will be Andy Reid facing off against Bill Belichick in a fierce battle of experienced NFL coaches. Below I will preview this match-up and discuss who I think will represent the AFC in Superbowl 53.
New England Patriots
Superbowl Appearances: 10
Superbowl Wins: 5
Kansas City Chiefs
Superbowl Appearances: 0
Just like the NFC Championship game this year The AFC Championship game is set to be a huge rematch between two teams from earlier in the regular season. The Patriots hadn’t been playing as well at that point of the season, but they put on a tough showing at Foxborough to beat a Chiefs team that was unbeaten at the point. The game ended 43-40 after a game-winning field goal in the dying seconds of the game after both teams had combined for 30 points in just the fourth quarter. The biggest difference between that game and the rematch is that the location is changing because the Chiefs ends the season as the number one seed in the AFC this game will take place at Arrowhead in Kansas which gives a huge advantage to the home team because The Patriots in the Brady/Belichick era are 20-3 in the postseason at home but when they become the road team they are only 3-4.
Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs took apart the Indianapolis colts last Saturday in what isn’t a huge surprise. The biggest surprise was the fact the Chiefs defense managed to completely dominate a Colts offence which had thrived in recent weeks under star quarterback Andrew Luck and the number one rated offensive line in the NFL. However the Chiefs made that O-line look vulnerable at times and manage to put the right pressure on Luck which allowed the Chiefs to keep the ball and that is the best way they can win by giving Mahomes the ball as much as possible, The soon to be announced NFL MVP for this season has maintained his fantastic form all season long and it doesn’t seem to be dropping anytime soon. Bill Belichick is the master coach at giving his team the best chance to win every game it allows them to make the least mistakes and it’s one of the reasons why they have had so much success over the last two decades.
This was no different when Phillip Rivers and the Chargers came to cause an upset last Sunday, something they failed to do. The defense was poor, and it allowed Brady to play to his best ability and pick apart the secondary and allow the Patriots to dominate their first play-off game this year. Rivers did play well and led a comeback, but it was never going to e enough as Los Angeles who had a better record than the Patriots this year fell to a dominating performance by rookie running-back Sony Michel which helped bleed important time off the game clock and kept Rivers on the sideline as much as possible.
The Patriots will be able to win this game if they make it as easy for Tom Brady as is humanly possible, they need to dominate the time of possession again and keep Mahomes off the field. Another huge game is needed by Michel, so he can drain vital seconds off the clock like he did last week. If their running game can dominate and they can control the ball and the clock than the Patriots should make their third straight Superbowl.
The Chiefs will win if their defense plays at the highest possible level again like it did last Saturday, they need to be able to pressure Tom Brady and force him to make mistakes, the corners will have to also play at that high-level otherwise Brady will find away to dissect their defense. If they can turn up at Arrowhead like they did last week than Mahomes and the rest of the offense should be able to send the Chiefs to their first ever Superbowl.
New England Patriots 24-28 Kansas City Chiefs
Rileys will be showing the playoffs on the big screen this Sunday so make sure you are in early to get the best seats.