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As I write this, Cincinnati is +2.5 on the road to Kansas City in the AFC Championship with an over/under of +/- 47.5 points. That combined point total in a game featuring the NFL’s #1 and #10 Os is low.
At the same time, the NFL’s #1 and #2 defenses (San Fransisco +2.0 @ Philadelphia), are getting an over/under of +/- 45.5 — just two points less. That combined point total for this matchup is high.
That’s the book betting you are asleep. Wake up.
The AFC championship game is all about O. The NFC championship game is all about D. Super Bowl LVII will feature a clash of the two. Here’s how I think things will play out.
The AFC’s superior Passing Offenses
The home game Kansas City Chiefs are the NFL’s best offensive team by far (#1 in total yards, passing yards per game, and total points). The Cincinnati Bengals are 10th in total yards per game and 7th in passing. Both pass defenses are in the bottom half of the league. Expect the ball to be in the air early and often and young athletic stars on both Os to put on a show.
There are just so many stars on these offensive units and so much explosive play ability. I don’t think either D is really up to the task, nor is that the way these teams are constructed. I like the over all day in this game. If the weather holds things down in the first half, look for new cleats and more points in the second.
Ultimately, I’ll take the over and the Chiefs offense at home for the W.
The NFC’s superior Defenses
The home field Philadelphia Eagles, with the NFL’s #1 ranked defense, host the San Francisco 49ers and their #2 ranked defense in the NFC championship. Key points: Philly is also the #3 O and the league, while SFO is #5. See the notable difference in average O/D ranking between the AFC and NFC.
Yeah. The NFC playoff defenses are good. Congrats, Sherlock. Philly’s passing defense is also #1 overall whereas San Fransisco’s is rather pedestrian at #19 (222 yards per game). That may be a difference in the NFC’s ship, particularly against Brock Purdy’s safety valve, George Kittle, as the Eagles excel against tight ends.
Extra point: San Francisco also boasts some of the league’s best special teams, including holding down #1 overall in kicking points per game (8.4 to PHI’s 7.1). That’s 1.3 points trailing average against a spread of +2.0, with Philly’s hometown two-point advantage baked-in.
Which defense will win out in the AFC championship? Both. It’s gonna be a kicking battle and I like the Niners and Mr. Irrelevant to win in the end.
Picking the teams for Super Bowl LVII
The question remaining to us is: How will the eventual winner of the AFC air show fare against the stingy defensive entrant of the National Football Conference in Super Bowl LVII?
Can ‘spread and dread’ with a quick strike O win out in the ideal climes of Arizona against an opponent with both a potent running game AND a mess-you-up D?
Recent history says yes. I say no.
Call me a nut, but I like the Niners vs. the Chiefs in the big game. One way or another, I will play the over in the AFC Championship, the under in the NFC championship, and the curious fan for Super Bowl LVII.