Last weekend played host to the NFL’s two conference championships, with the winner of each moving on to face each other in two weeks in the Super Bowl. The matchups featured four high-powered offenses, with the Kansas City Chiefs defeating the Buffalo Bills in the AFC championship and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeating the Green Bay Packers in the NFC. This article will provide a review of the two games as well as a preview for the upcoming Super Bowl on February seventh.
Starting off in the AFC, the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs led by superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes were able to dispatch the Buffalo Bills by two touchdowns 38-24. The Chiefs had an excellent game plan heading into the game, limiting the Bills’ rushing attack to a mere 129 yards, 88 of which came from quarterback Josh Allen. They also managed to limit the normally unstoppable passing game, with Allen only completing 28 of his 48 pass attempts for 234 yards and two touchdowns. Allen also threw a pick and was sacked four times in one of his more unremarkable performances of the season. Meanwhile, the Chiefs’ offense mostly had their way with the usually stout Bills’ defense, accumulating a total of 439 yards of offense and five touchdowns, three of them passing touchdowns. The only true negative from the Chiefs this week was a lost fumble by Mecole Hardman.
Moving on to the NFC championship, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, led by quarterback Tom Brady managed to beat Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers 31-26 at Lambeau Field. For the Packers, this was their first time playing in the National Championship at home since Rodgers’ rookie year when he was still sitting behind Brett Favre. For Tampa Bay, they reached the Super Bowl in their first postseason in 13 years with the victory. For the Buccaneers, they never truly felt threatened by the Packers, as they held the lead the entire game. Brady had a decent game, throwing for 280 yards and three touchdowns, while also throwing three interceptions and being sacked once. Rodgers was slightly more effective, throwing for 346 yards and three touchdowns, while also throwing a pick. The big difference, though, was that Rodgers could never truly get comfortable in the pocket, as he was sacked five times in the game. Both teams had trouble running the ball in the cold Wisconsin weather, as neither team rushed for more than 80 yards, while Green Bay also coughed up a fumble. This allowed for Tampa Bay to seal the victory.
Super Bowl LV will have two high-powered offenses backed up by good defenses in what looks like a game that could go down to the wire. This game can also be defined as a battle between generations, as veteran quarterback Tom Brady faces off against the new face of the NFL in Patrick Mahomes. Brady, who was drafted in the seventh round of the 2000 NFL draft out of Michigan, has made ten Super Bowls over the past 21 seasons, including this one, winning six of them and aiming for his seventh. Meanwhile, Mahomes was drafted in the first round of the 2017 draft out of Texas Tech and has become the new face of the NFL in his first four seasons in Kansas City, including winning the Super Bowl for the first time last year when the Chiefs beat the San Francisco 49ers 31-20. Looking at the past season, each quarterback has had, however, many would be able to tell that there is a 17 year difference in experience between them. Mahomes over the season has thrown 390 completions on 588 attempts for 4,740 yards and 38 touchdowns against only six touchdowns. Brady, however, has thrown 401 completions on 610 attempts for 4,633 yards, 40 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Except for the number of interceptions, the stats are nearly identical. There is no indication that the trend should stop there, and one could expect that both quarterbacks will finish with similar stats in the Super Bowl. And the stats aren’t the only close thing either in the game. According to the ESPN FPI predictor, the Chiefs have a 52.1 percent chance to win, compared with a 47.9 percent chance for Tampa Bay. However, numbers, metrics and predictions are no match for the field, so we all will have to wait for the game to see who will truly reign supreme.