2023 NFL SEASON CHAMPIONSHIP WKND
2023 NFL SEASON CHAMPIONSHIP WKND (ATS)
All times Eastern Standard Time
ALL SPREADS ARE COURTESY OF CAESARS HOTEL IN LAS VEGAS @ THE TIME OF ANALYSIS
Sunday January 28th, 2024 3:00pm
(3) Kansas City Chiefs @ (1) Baltimore Ravens KC+3 ½
LW, KC played well on the road @BUFF. The KC DEF made stops when they needed them but, almost gave away a game if BUFF had been more aggressive. All week long KC & Pat Mahomes heard that they had to play on the road in the playoffs and that it would be different. Well, they won, period. BUFF did not play with the same urgency as KC and it showed. LW, BALT & HOU were tied 10-10 at the half and I honestly thought that HOU could get the upset or at least keep it close. Neither of those two happened as BALT came in and scored 24 unanswered points in the 2nd half and the BALT DEF completely shut down the HOU OFF. The final score was BALT 34-10 and it could have been worse. BALT & KC last met in 2021 @BALT in wk2 with BALT winning 36-35 in a shootout. Before that BALT & KC met in wk3 in 2020 @ BALT with KC winning 34-20. BALT has a great DEF and so does KC. Both have talented QBs in Pat Mahomes & Lamar Jackson but the BIG difference here is Mahomes’s playoff experience and record. Mahomes is 13-3 with 2SuperBowl victories while Jackson is 2-3 and having NEVER made it to an AFC championship game. BALT was #1 in the NFL with their run game led by Jackson but KC is smart and they will be looking for Jackson with a spotter. Many teams know they need a spotter but few teams execute it. This game will be tight as both teams have very good HC coaches and assistant coaches which makes this game more of a chess game than anything else. Ultimately, playoff experience and Mahomes will lead KC back to another SuperBowl. I like KC here to win outright.
THE PICK: KC+3 ½
Saturday January 28th, 2024 6:30pm
(3) Detroit Lions @ (1) San Francisco 49ers DET+7
LW, SF got very lucky. They were playing @HOME vs a GB team that had nothing to lose. GB had walloped DAL the week before and had SF against the ropes. But SF put together a late td drive that won the game 24-21. GB should have won but here we are with SF. LW, DET was in a dog fight @HOME vs TB. TB could have won the game but they made some mistakes which opened the door for DET. The game was 17-17 but DET pulled away. DET won 31-23 and are in their 1st NFC championship game since 1991. Most of the credit should be given to the HC, Dan Campbell who has rebuilt this team with attitude and aggressiveness that was lost in DET for a very long time. He has changed a culture of losing to something that winning is expected. But to get to the promise land, they must get past a very talented SF team. SF has so many stars on OFF and DEF it is almost impossible to keep track of who will make the next BIG play. However, SF does have some weaknesses and one of them is on DEF when it comes to covering the middle. DET can exploit that with their talented receivers. Also, you have to expect the unexpected with DET. DET HC Campbell is not afraid to be aggressive when others may not be. DET has to play shutdown in the pass protection as they their secondary is young and can be exploited. They must play a perfect game with no big plays allowed and minimal penalties, otherwise this game will get out of hand. I like DET to keep it close. SF will win this game but by a margin less than the spread suggests. I like DET and the points.
THE PICK: DET+7