UA-59049186-1 NFL Picks: 2020 Season Championship Week - Good if it Goes

NFL Picks: 2020 Season Championship Week

Last week: 2-2 straight up, 2-2 against the spread, 1-1 best bets, 1-0 lock of the week
Playoffs: 7-3 straight up, 5-4-1 against the spread, 2-1-1 best bets, 1-0-1 lock of the week
Overall: 174-89-1 straight up, 124-131-8 against the spread, 28-30-4 best bets, 10-7-2 lock of the week

NFC Championship: Tampa Bay (+4) at Green Bay

The Bucs came into the playoffs playing some of their best football of the year. They opened the post-season with a less-than-inspiring performance against the Washington Everything-Else-Is-Trademarkeds, but looked strong beating the Saints in New Orleans. This one’s not in a dome, though.

On the other side, you have Green Bay and MVP candidate Aaron Rodgers who have been playing some really good football themselves. The number one seed in the NFC opened the playoffs a week ago by handling a Rams defense that was one of the best in the league. Davante Adams is a matchup nightmare and if the Packers’ offensive line plays like they did a week ago, they’re going to be tough for anyone to beat. While they’re the league’s #1 offense in DVOA, though, their defense is just in the middle of the pack.

Tampa Bay’s defense ranks only one spot lower (5th) than the Rams’ (do the math) did, but unlike the Rams, they pair that defense with an offense that ranks in the top 10 in DVOA in both the pass (5th) and the run (10th), so even if Green Bay starts out strong, they’re going to have to keep it up for 60 minutes. This is my concern with them; we’ve seen Green Bay slow down in the second half at times. I’m not confident in the Packers’ ability to stop the Bucs’ offense. Even with Antonio Brown out, the Bucs still have multiple receivers to worry about plus a pair of tight ends. On top of that, the Bucs boast a two-headed running attack of Leonard Forunette and Ronald Jones that went for 3.7 and 4.8 YPC against the Saints. Ultimately, while the Packers’ offense will get theirs, the defense won’t be able to hold up as the Bucs become the first team to play in a Super Bowl at home.

The pick: Tampa Bay 34, Green Bay 27 (Tampa Bay SU, ATS)

Buffalo (+3) at Kansas City

Expect a shootout as the #2 and #3 DVOA pass offenses square off. Ketchup enthusaiast Patrick Mahomes left the game against the Browns a week ago in the concussion protocol. The Chiefs’ MVP candidate has cleared protocol and has been practicing, so it should be all systems go for KC. Tyreek Hill is nicknamed Cheetah for a reason and will make life difficult for the Buffalo secondary. Mecole Hardman is no slouch, either. Beyond that, Kansas City also boasts Travis Kelce, arguably the best tight end in the league.

Kansas City’s defense will have to stop Buffalo, though, and the Bills have an MVP candidate of their own in Josh Allen. Stefon Diggs just had his best year in the NFL, John Brown has had some strong games of his own, including one a week ago, and Cole Beasley is good to go. That trio is going to be tough for the Chiefs’ defense, which ranked only in the middle of the league in pass defense DVOA to contend with. The question for the Bills is their ability to run the ball. The team is all the way down at 22 in rushing DVOA, but the Chiefs’ rush defense is even worse, with only Houston’s unit ranking worse.

In the end, this one comes down to who can make a stop, so get the ketchup ready…because it’s going all over Pinto Ron at the Super Bowl tailgate.

The pick: Buffalo 35, Kansas City 30 (BUF SU, ATS)

Twitter: @KSchroeder_312

 

 

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