Prisco's NFL Playoff odds, picks: Rams and Patriots pull off upsets on road to punch tickets to Super Bowl LIII
Pete Prisco knows exactly why you should be backing the underdogs on Sunday
The top four scoring offenses are playing in the two conference championship games on Sunday. That's the way it ought to be. For all those out there who cry that defense wins titles, it's time to get with the program. Rules mandate that offense wins games.
That doesn't mean you don't need defense, and, in fact, the defenses that step up this weekend are probably going to be the teams that advance to the Super Bowl. It's just that sustainable success comes from playing offense well and having a big-time passer.
Patriots +3 at Chiefs
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I truly enjoy watching the Chiefs play offensive football. And Patrick Mahomes is going to be an all-time great. But I think this is the week Bill Belichick and Brian Flores come up with a plan to get after Mahomes with a bunch of blitz looks. The Pats won't stop Mahomes, but they will slow him down enough. The New England defense has made strides this season and is coming off a solid showing early last week when it counted against the Chargers – and I think they will play well again here.
On the other side of the ball, the Chiefs impressed last week on defense. The pass rush was outstanding. But the run defense was 31st in yards per rush allowed this season -- and the Patriots will take advantage of that. Look for a lot of Sony Michel early and then watch as Brady get it going off the play action.
Who wins Patriots vs. Chiefs? And which side of the spread cashes in nearly 60 percent of simulations? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Chiefs vs. Patriots spread you need to jump on Sunday, all from the computer model that has returned nearly $4,000 to $100 bettors over the past two seasons.
This will be a fun, tightly-contested game. The weather does bear watching, although the wind is the real key. If wind were to be a factor, it would work against the Chiefs.
These teams met in October and the Patriots won a shootout, 43-40. This one won't come close to that point total.
The Patriots haven't won a road playoff game since 2006, so I am bucking another trend here when I pick them to do just that. But I think Brady and Belichick will get the job done.
Pick: Patriots 26, Chiefs 24
Rams +3.5 at Saints
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The Saints beat the Rams 45-35 on Nov. 4 in a game where both quarterbacks rolled up big numbers, with Brees throwing four touchdown passes and Goff throwing three. The Saints led 35-17 at the half, which helped negate the running game. But this time around, the Rams are coming off an impressive run-game showing against the Cowboys. I think that will carry over here.
The Rams pounded the Cowboys for 273 yards, with both Todd Gurley and C.J. Anderson going over 100 yards. The offensive line was outstanding. That will be the plan here as well. Pound it at the Saints, who will play without injured defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins (torn Achilles tendon). If they can run it and keep Brees on the sideline, then they will be able to control the tempo. It will also help open up Goff and the passing game.
The Saints offense wasn't as good down the stretch as it was when they met the first time. The offense also seemed to struggle to get into a groove last week against the Eagles. The Los Angeles defense has some issues as well, which is why running the ball will be key for the Rams to help keep Brees planted on the bench.
I think the Rams will do just that, with Gurley and Goff having big days as the Rams get to the Super Bowl.
Pick: Rams 27, Saints 26
Who wins Rams vs. Saints? And which side of the spread cashes well over 50 percent of the time? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Saints vs. Rams spread you need to jump on Sunday, all from the computer model that has returned nearly $4,000 to $100 bettors over the past two seasons.
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