The New England Patriots are in the AFC Championship Game. Yawn. Nothing new there. The second-seeded Pats visit No. 1 Kansas City in Sunday’s late game for a trip to Super Bowl LIII.
NFL Playoffs Point Spread and Betting Analysis
It’s just the second trip to the AFC title game for Kansas City since the 1970 merger. The Chiefs lost it following the 1993 season in Buffalo. This will be their first-ever conference title game at home.
New England makes its 15th trip to the AFC Championship Game, one shy of Pittsburgh’s conference record. The Pats are 10-4 overall and make their NFL-record eighth straight trip. They have won the past two. Last year at home, they rallied for a 24-20 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars (who flamed out this season).
Kansas City and New England last met in the playoffs following the 2015 season in the Divisional Round, with New England winning 27-20 at home. Some strange clock management in that one by Chiefs coach Andy Reid.
These teams met Week 6 in New England and the Patriots won a 43-40 shootout on Stephen Gostkowski’s 28-yard field goal as time expired. Tom Brady threw for 340 yards and a score, while rookie Sony Michel rushed for 106 yards and two scores on 24 carries. Patrick Mahomes threw for 352 and four scores – three to Tyreek Hill – but was picked twice. The Chiefs were down 24-9 at the half but would lead briefly in the fourth, 33-30.
Kansas City is +275 to win the Super Bowl and New England is +325.
New England Patriots
It’s a huge disadvantage for West Coast teams to play in the 1 p.m. ET window on Sundays. The Los Angeles Chargers overcame that in the Wild Card Round in Baltimore but looked totally flat in Sunday’s 41-28 loss in New England. Then again, the Patriots and Brady can make teams look bad as he improved to 20-3 at home in his amazing playoff career. Brady threw for 343 yards and a score, while Michel rushed for 129 yards and three touchdowns. And to think we all this this team looked mortal for once heading in. It’s New England’s first road AFC title tilt since losing in Denver following the 2015 season. It’s only the second time the Pats are playoff underdogs since 2007.
Kansas City Chiefs
We projected a Kansas City 38-31 win over Indianapolis in the Divisional Round, but it wasn’t that close as K.C. rolled to a 31-13 victory, snapping a six-game home losing streak in the postseason. Indy had been the hottest team in the NFL. In his playoff debut, Mahomes threw for 278 yards but no TDs. Travis Kelce caught seven balls for 108 yards. The running game and defence were the real stories, though. The Chiefs ran for 180 yards and four scores – controlling the ball for nearly 40 minutes — while allowing only 263 yards on a cold day. The Chiefs had lost 11 of their previous 12 playoff games, with four of those losses against the Colts.