There’s four teams vying for two invitations to Super Bowl LIV. And there’s two streaking clubs each looking to avenge their latest losses.
Revenge is a dish best served cold.
The origin of this phrase is somewhat unknown. Rumor says it’s really an old Klingon proverb.
Regardless of how you enjoy your revenge, you can have a serving at Kansas City on Sunday afternoon and a second helping later that day at San Francisco.
Some barbeque followed by a cioppino chaser?
In the AFC Championship Game, Andy Reid’s club take on the Tennessee Titans. The Chiefs have won a total of seven consecutive games, including last week’s thrilling rally vs. the Texans. As it would happen, their last loss was to Mike Vrabel’s squad, 35-32, at Nashville in Week 10. It was the most points allowed by Reid’s team in 2019.
Roughly three and a half hours later, the Green Bay Packers head west to Levi’s Stadium to take on the top-seeded San Francisco 49ers. Last Sunday’s 28-23 victory over the Seattle Seahawks made it six straight wins for Matt LaFleur’s club. Their last setback? You guessed it. Aaron Rodgers and Co. were humbled by the Niners on a Sunday night in San Francisco, 37-8.
What are the odds? Two teams one victory away from playing on Super Sunday and each faces the last club to knock them off.
The first game takes place at Arrowhead Stadium. When the clubs met earlier this year, the Chiefs took a 10-0 first-quarter in part due to a three-yard touchdown reception by tight end Travis Kelce via Patrick Mahomes. It’s worth noting that Tennessee came all the way back to take a one-point lead in the third quarter but Reid’s club still owned a 29-20 advantage with 11:54 to play.
But that’s when things got very interesting in a frantic fourth quarter that saw the clubs combined for 25 points in 15 minutes. Eventually, Titans’ quarterback Ryan Tannehill’s 23-yard TD pass to wideout Adam Humphries with 23 seconds to play gave Tennessee the lead. The Chiefs weren’t done and Mahomes, who threw for 446 yards and three scores, put his team in position to tie the game. But Harrison Butker’s 52-yard field goal was blocked and Tennessee had the win despite being outgained by nearly 200 yards (570-371) by Reid’s club.
Two weeks later, it was a performance by the 49ers that LaFleur’s squad would not forget. The teams’ matchup was flexed into Sunday night and Kyle Shanahan’s club flexed its muscles from the start.
Green Bay look completely overwhelmed by the speed and ferocity of the 49ers’ defense. The Packers’ veteran signal caller completed 20-of-33 passes for a disappointing 104 yards and one score. Rodgers was also sacked five times and lost a critical fumble early in the game that set the tone. Green Bay was down 23-0 at halftime and wound up allowing a season-high 37 points in a 29-point lopsided setback.
Besides the ugly score, what really stood out was Green Bay actually prevailed in time in possession 35:16-24:44. But Green Bay was a pathetic 1-of-15 on third-down attempts and 1-of-3 on fourth-down tries. All told, the Pack managed a mere 198 total yards on 70 offensive plays.
Of course, there’s been this conspiracy thing floating around out there that the NFL wants a rematch of Super Bowl I to cap off the league’s 100th season. The bottom line is that Chiefs and Packers are the NFL’s two hottest teams at the moment.
Both face formidable tasks on Sunday, especially LaFleur’s squad as they were humbled on that same field a few months ago.
Can Kansas City slow down Derrick Henry? Can Green Bay hold off Nick Bosa?
It’s going to be a fascinating pair of championship contests.