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We are running out of games, but the upside is the quality of the contests now that we’re down to the four teams left. I am incredibly excited about tonight’s games, but before I look at them I have to fail at another week’s trivia questions.

Dan’s Dad asked us:

‘We start at Oakland and the question is:
Q1.  Who did the Oakland Raiders play when they made it to Super Bowl II?

Moving on we get to Philadelphia and I want to know:
Q2.  Which Eagle quarterback threw for 464 yards in one game setting a team record?

Finally this week we arrive in Pittsburgh. So tell me:
Q3.  In the Steelers first Super Bowl appearance, who did they defeat?’

I am trying to make an informed guess for question one, where I’m slightly worried that my answer is too often the Packers when it comes to the early Super Bowls, but I think they won the first two Super Bowls and so beat the Raiders.

I’m less sure about this next question, my first instinct was trying to work out if either Randall Cunningham or Ron Jaworski would be the answer, but framed in the context of overall NFL passing they probably played too long ago to pick up such spectacular numbers and so my mind turns to Donovan McNabb as a modern era quarterback who played under Andy Read so with that neat tie in to today’s games I am setting with McNabb.

Whilst I can see 3D asking two questions where the answer is the Packers, I don’t think they made the Super Bowl after the early few until Brett Farve led them there in the 90s and so I’m trying to remember who the Bliztburgh Steelers played in their four Super Bowl wins. I probably should know this, but I’m blanking a little, but the Dallas Cowboys are the team lurking in my head so I might as well plump for them.

Now over to Dan:

‘Right, not long now and I was more than shocked that I got any points at all last week, let alone 4 for 2 correct answers!!

Oakland: I don’t know the answer to this so I’m going to guess. Super Bowl 2 would have to mean it’d be an NFC team who has been around a long time. I’ll guess it was the Chicago Bears.

Philadelphia: Think I know this one – I had a jersey of his while I was at uni. I think it’s Donovan McNabb.

Pittsburgh: The Steelers have been in loads of super bowls so this could be anyone. It’ll be another guess I’m afraid so… maybe the Green Bay Packers?

While I’m writing, I’m REALLY hoping that the Titans make it to the Bowl! I always said Tannehill wasn’t as bad as he appeared in Miami and poor coaching and offensive lines meant he looked worse. If they don’t though, I’ll be supporting Kansas in the bowl as Mahomes has been so exciting to watch in his 2 years in the league – he more than deserves a ring already!’

Tennessee Titans (6th) @ Kansas City Chiefs (2nd)

The AFC Conference Championship pits the Titans going for their third upset in a row as they travel to Arrowhead stadium to face the Kansas City Chiefs. I have so much respect for Andy Reid as a coach and he apparently also seems to be a really nice guy, but for all his success he has only won one of the six previous conference championship games he has made and he has not won a Super Bowl. One of the big topics of discussion this week was whether he was a Hall of Fame coach without a Super Bowl win and that this was one of his better chances to get that win. However, even as impressive as the Chiefs performance last week was, the Titans are a much stiffer opponents than a Texans team who never fully convinced me this season.

The Titans come into this game full of belief that between their defence and Derek Henry’s ability to finish a game that they can beat the Chiefs, not least because they have already done it once this season. The difference this time is that Patrick Mahomes is a lot further away from his dislocated knee cap than he was when he faced them in week ten and indeed the Chiefs have not lost a game since. You can’t rule out the Titans winning this game having already beaten the Patriots and the Ravens, but the Chiefs’ offence is even more multi-faceted than the Ravens and with an improved defence from last year and fresh from a fifty point outburst last week, my hunch is that the Chiefs are going to win out in this one.

Green Bay Packers (2nd) @ San Francisco 49ers (1st)

The NFC Conference Championship games pits the first and second seeds against each other as the Green Bay Packers return to Levi’s Stadium hoping to do better than the 37-8 loss to the San Francisco 49ers that was the result of their week twelve game.

The Packers have consistently won all season but the 49ers look like one of the most complete teams in the league and will be a real handful. The addition of receiver Emmanuel Sanders via trade and the development of rookie Deebo Samuels has given the 49ers’ offence the passing options to complement their stable of running backs, whilst tight-end George Kittle has played so well this season he has been called Gronk 2.0 by some in the media. The 49ers defence has been fearsome, finishing the season ranked second by DVOA, with their defensive line causing havoc against the Vikings last week.

That said, the Packers defence has been much better and in Matt LaFleur’s first season they have finally had the defence and running game to backup Aaron Rodgers. The concern for me in this game is that outside of Rodger’s link up with receiver Davante Adams, the Packers are very reliant on Aaron Jones running the ball and whilst I don’t exactly expect a repeat of the week twelve humbling, it does feel like the 49ers have the edge as they can play in more ways than the Packers. I think that much like with the Patriots, I won’t believe Rodgers is beaten until I see it, and he has acknowledged that he doesn’t know how many more chances like this he will get, but in the end I have to give the edge to the 49ers in this one.

 

A Chiefs versus 49ers Super Bowl would be pretty spectacular, but there has been no shortage of upsets and truthfully I would be excited by any matchup of these four teams, and with three games left (no, I don’t count the Pro Bowl) we need to enjoy every moment we can before the long off-season begins.

DVOA is Football Outsiders statistic for measure a team’s success on every play versus the league average and you can read more about it and other football topics at https://footballoutsiders.com.