Pete Prisco’s picks for NFC, AFC title games: Aaron Rodgers sends Tom Brady home, Bills-Chiefs a thriller

So much for the idea that I would pick it up in the NFL divisional round of the playoffs with my picks. 

I went 1-3.

Gross. Disgusting. Vile. Use any of those words that you want to describe my divisional round showing, and I will take it. 

The Saints, Ravens and Chiefs were all losers, although the Chiefs’ loss does come with an asterisk since Patrick Mahomes left the game. Come on. I am begging. I did hit Green Bay laying the points against the Rams

This week’s AFC and NFC championship games are a shrine to great quarterback play. We have Aaron Rodgers, this year’s MVP, against Tom Brady, the greatest of all time. If Mahomes can play, it’s the Super Bowl MVP from last year against Josh Allen, who is in the MVP conversation this year.

What’s not to love about those matchups, provided Mahomes is ready to go? I think he will play as he battles through the concussion protocols, which would set up for a great day of quarterback play Sunday.

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One request: No wind.

There is nothing worse for an offense than wind. Snow? Take it. Wind? Hate it. 

Let’s see the quarterbacks be able to sling it around without the wind turning it into a survival test. 

This is championship game Sunday. Don’t let the weather dictate who wins the games or who covers. 

Latest Odds:

Green Bay Packers

This will be Tom Brady against Aaron Rodgers. It doesn’t get any better than that. But this game will come down to Rodgers against the Tampa Bay defense more than anything else. That defense was outstanding last week against the Saints, locking down the receivers in man coverage and making it tough for Drew Brees. But that’s going to be a bigger challenge against this Green Bay offense, especially the way Rodgers can make plays off schedule. Green Bay made the top-ranked Rams defense look ordinary last week. I think they will continue that here as well. Rodgers is playing the best football of his career. The Bucs were improved on offense last week because they ran the ball. That will have to play out in this one as well. They have to control the football. Brady will challenge down the field, but without the run game it might be a lot tougher against that Green Bay pass rush. In the end, I think Rodgers is playing too well. It will be close for a bit, but Green Bay will win by a touchdown to get to the Super Bowl.

Pick: Green Bay 27, Tampa Bay 20

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Latest Odds:

Kansas City Chiefs

Patrick Mahomes announced Friday he passed concussion protocols, putting Chiefs fans at ease. Though Chad Henne proved himself as a solid backup, the offense is entirely different with Mahomes. Buffalo is coming off a good defensive showing against the Ravens, but this is a bigger challenge against the reigning Super Bowl MVP. The passing game is lethal. The Bills have been much better on defense since the midway point of the season. Coordinator Leslie Frazier has done a nice job. As for Buffalo’s offense, Josh Allen didn’t put up his usual gaudy numbers last week against the Ravens, but he made enough plays. It was a windy night. If the weather holds up here, this could be a great shootout of two big-armed passers. Both defenses have improved since the Chiefs beat the Bills in Week 6, a game where Kansas City ran the football to win it. Clyde Edwards-Helaire ran for 161 in Kansas City’s 26-17 victory. This time around, I think it’s more of an air game with both quarterbacks having good games. I picked the Chiefs to get to the Super Bowl before the season and I am sticking with that. But it will be close — even with Mahomes. 

Pick: Chiefs 31, Bills 30

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