Super Bowl 2019: NFL conference round preview and predictions

Jared Goff, Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes
Jared Goff, Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes Photo credit: Image: Getty

And then there were four! The top two seeds in the NFC and the AFC remain to fight it out for a trip to Atlanta for Super Bowl 53.

Here's a breakdown of the two matches and how I think they’ll go down.

Todd Gurley
Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley Photo credit: Image: Reuters

New Orleans Saints (13-3) vs Los Angeles Rams (13-3)

Monday 9:05 am (NZT)

The battle for the NFC Championship features the two teams that have been the benchmark for the conference all year.

They met earlier this season in a high-scoring affair which went the way of the Saints, 45-35 - a result that basically decided home field advantage.

But the Rams have since made two key acquisitions in cornerback Aqib Talib and running back C.J Anderson, who rushed for a game-high 123 yards and two touchdowns against the Cowboys in the divisional round.

The former Bronco will play a huge part in the result of this match by carrying the responsibility of guarding the Saints' star wide receiver Michael Thomas.

Add Anderson alongside Pro Bowler Todd Gurley and you've got a potent one-two punch of running backs, fresh from destroying the Cowboys' defence to the tune of 238 yards and three touchdowns.

Rams quarterback Jared Goff threw for 391 yards in their regular season clash, but expect that number to drop as their offence looks to Anderson and Gurley to charge them Rams into Super Bowl 53.

Lead by quarterback Drew Brees, the Saints will be looking to reach their first Super Bowl since 2010.

The Saints defence does a fantastic job stopping the run and boasts one of the most talented wide receivers in the game in Thomas. Add running back Alvin Kamara to the mix and they possess one of the most versatile offences in the league.

Expect to see another high-scoring game. Talib should be able to keep Thompson reasonably quiet in the secondary and allow Gurley and Anderson to run riot.

I'm going with the Rams.

Prediction: Saints 38 - Rams 42

Patrick Mahomes
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes Photo credit: Image: Reuters

Kansas City Chiefs (12-4) vs New England Patriots (11-5)

Monday 12:40 pm (NZT)

The world is against the Patriots right now, and frankly, that's the way quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick like it.

They were supposed to lose to the Chargers last week. They finished with a comfortable 41-28 win.

But the Chiefs are a whole different kettle of fish. They've been the most impressive team all year and now they're just one game away from where many assumed they'd end up – the Super Bowl.

But to do so they'll need to get past one of the greatest dynasties in the sport's history.

The two sides met in week six, when the Chiefs' quarterback phenom Patrick Mahomes played about as well as a young visiting starter could ask for. But like so many others before him, he came up short in Foxboro.

Now it's the Chiefs who have the home advantage, and it's time for Mahomes to show what he's made of on the big stage.

Kansas City defend the rush very well but have been vulnerable on the pass, which is where Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman and tight end Rob Gronkowski will be looking to hurt the home side.

The home side boasts a plethora of offensive talent. Wide receiver Tyreke Hill and tight end Travis Kelce are both pro bowlers. If this game turns into a shootout, this talented offence will hold the advantage.

But the Patriots will not go down without a fight. If the Chiefs' rushing line doesn’t get to Brady quick enough and he has time to throw the football, expect it to be a long night for the Kansas City defence.

It's a risk, but once again, I'm riding with Brady.

Prediction: Brady throws for 390 yards and two touchdowns. Chiefs 31 - Patriots 37.


Join us for live updates of Super Bowl 53 on February 4.