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Sports Then and Now

Predicting the 2019 NFL Conference Championships

Posted on January 11, 2019 by Kobe Bernard
Can Tom Brady and the Patriots make the AFC Championship Game for the 8th straight year?

Can Tom Brady and the Patriots make the AFC Championship Game for the 8th straight year?

The Divisional rounds are this weekend so it’s time to start looking at possible AFC & NFC Championships matchups and all of the historical data that comes with it.

Odds are out at the top betting site BetOnline as well as SuperBook and many others. At this point shortly before the Divisional Round plays out, the Kansas City Chiefs lead the pack at +160 to win the AFC. Not surprisingly, the New England Patriots are second at +200. The Los Angeles Chargers and Indianapolis Colts are +450 and +500 respectively.

A Brief History of Conference Championships

Let’s look at the last four years of NFL Conference Championships and see if we can’t find anything that will point us in the right direction as far as predicting this season’s outcomes.

2018 Jaguars vs. Patriots & Vikings vs. Eagles

Ok. we all remember the amazing Jaguars defense that miraculously got Blake Bortles and a less than stellar Jacksonville offense all the way to the AFC Championship Game. Amazingly enough, Bortles passed for 293 yards and a TD without an interception, but it still wasn’t enough. Brady threw two TDs and the Patriots won 24-20 and went on to the Super Bowl.

Then we had the Vikings and their resurgent Purple People Eater defense playing against an Eagles team that had to throw a Nick Foles who hadn’t seen much action all season into the starting role. So the Vikings were three-point favorites, but Foles came out and dropped three TDs and 352 yards on Minnesota. He embarrassed the Vikings in a 38-7 Eagles win.

2017 Steelers vs. Patriots & Packers vs. Falcons

Although the Patriots were listed as -6 favorites, this was expected to be a back and forth battle to the very end. But the Pats came out and dropped 10 unanswered points on Big Ben and the Steelers right off the bat and didn’t relent. Ultimately, they ended up crushing the Steelers 36-17.

In the NFC we had the Packers headed to the Georgia Super Dome as six-point dogs to the fast-flying Falcons. The results weren’t much different. Matty Ice and crew crushed the Packers 44-21.

2016 Patriots vs. Broncos & Cardinals vs. Panthers

What an epic game. The Brady vs. Manning era came to a close with one of the best playoff games in history. It ultimately came down to a missed PAT by Gostowski. The Broncos stopped the Pats two-point after the Brady drive and score try to move on to the Super Bowl.

Arizona had a phenomenal season, upsetting the Seahawks to take the West. But they were a joke against Cam and the Panthers in NC. The 49 to 15 routing was one of the most lopsided Championship games we have ever seen.

2015 Packers vs. Seahawks & Colts vs. Pats

After the controversial touchdown call, this was a grudge match. Unfortunately for Rodgers and the Packers, they blew the game and their shot at the Super Bowl. The Burnett slide with all of that daylight ahead of him … it was the catalyst for the loss. After that, the Packers ran the ball consecutive times, even though they have freakin’ Aaron Rodgers and a Richard Sherman with one bum arm. But … hey.  Seattle fans got a 28-22 win.

Luck had no luck at Gillette … the AFC Championship was a 45-7 smashing. Indianapolis literally got Gronked. And that long 7.5 point spread seemed pretty short in the end.

What Do All of These Games Have In Common?

Well, other than the New England Pats being in every single AFC Championship game for all of them, the home team won all eight of the last NFL Conference Championships. Not to mention the fact that the home team covered every single point spread except for the last season when the Jags covered by keeping it within the number.

So what have we learned? The home team is likely to win and cover. So, no matter who makes it out of the divisional rounds, look for the home team to take the Conference and head to the Super Bowl in 2019.


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