Top 4 NFL Offenses Reach AFC/NFC Championships for 1st Time
For the first time in NFL history, the four best scoring offenses will meet in the conference championships.
This result seems to all but confirm the recent shift across the league from a defense-first approach to team building towards prioritizing offensive innovation. Recent NFL rule changes have created a “perfect storm” for NFL offenses and this weekend’s matchups will undoubtedly be a whirlwind.
Top Seeds Set for Exciting Clashes
The Kansas City Chiefs, led by quarterback and phenom Patrick Mahomes II, lit up opposing defenses all season long and led the NFL with 565 points and 35.3 points per game. Mahomes became just the second quarterback to throw 50 touchdowns in a single season and did it during his first year as a starter.
Behind the Chiefs were the Los Angeles Rams who will play in their first NFC Championship since 2002 and first since the big move from St. Louis. Their high scoring attack was led by third-year starter Jared Goff who threw for 4,688 yards and 32 touchdowns and running back Todd Gurley’s 1,831 all-purpose yards and 21 touchdowns.
Then came the New Orleans Saints, who beat the Rams in a Week 9 shootout and will host them again Sunday.
Drew Brees looks like he’s ready to gun for one more Super Bowl as the Saints dispatched last year’s champions, the Philadelphia Eagles, in the last round.
Brees’ weapons include running back Alvin Kamara, a true dual threat with 883 yards and 14 touchdowns on the ground to go with 709 receiving yards and four more touchdowns. Young stud receiver Michael Thomas also had a career year with 1,405 receiving yards and nine touchdowns.
Last but not least, the New England Patriots are in the AFC Championship for the eighth consecutive season. What more is there to say? Tom Brady has been Tom Brady. Edelman has been Edelman. Gronk is getting back to being Gronk.
In the absence of Josh Gordon, who was expected to be the big move that got the Pats on track, the big difference maker this season for them has been rookie running back Sony Michel who’s been good enough for New England to lean on when needed.
With 931 yards rushing and 6 touchdowns in his first year, Michel gives the Patriots the balance they need to go for Super Bowl No. 6. Even if they're technically considered underdogs.
Special Markets Available for Expected High Scoring Action
The first two weekends of playoff match ups may have been a little disappointing with no upsets of real note in the Divisional Round to titillate fans of NFL betting. But the trade-off is admittedly worth it as all of the top seeds are alive and kicking setting up absolutely much-watch television.
With the four teams set, there's some interesting markets being offered by 888sport. With two shootouts expected by most outlets, the action should be incredibly fun to follow and the odds should be worth monitoring as we get closer to Sunday.
Mahomes II is favored to finish the weekend with the most passing yards (including overtime) and has odds of +150 to do so. Thomas is the favorite at +300 to haul in the most receiving yards, and Gurley is also heavily favored to rack up the most rushing yards at +150 followed by Michel (+225) and Kamara (+550).
888sports, one of the top NFL sportsbooks, is also offering some team-based specials based on "Team to Score Most Points", "Team to Score Least Points" and "Highest Scoring Game".
The Rams are expected to score the least points at +225, an interesting note since they finished with the second-best scoring offense but faltered in the final weeks of the season. On the flip side the Chiefs are expected to score the most points at +225 as bookies expect Mahomes II to find more success against New England's secondary than Phillip Rivers did last Sunday.
The highest scoring game will be a tough pick and could come down to the impact of forecasted weather conditions, or lack thereof. The Rams and Saints scored less points combined in their Divisional Round match ups (50) than the Patriots and Chiefs (72).
However, New Orleans will host the NFC Championship in its climate controlled Mercedes-Benz Superdome while the AFC Championship will be played in what's expected to be "Arctic-like conditions" in chilly Kansas City. With that in mind, Patriots-Chiefs still has the slight edge at -118 to outscore Rams-Saints (-106).
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