Sunday's game will be memorable for Rob Gronkowski
It's Championship Sunday in the NFL. The new wave against the old guard. The coaches, the quarterbacks and the high-flying offenses. The No. 1 seed vs. No. 2 in both the AFC and NFC Championship games. Legacies are on the line, and resumes are being enriched, while others are seeking their first taste of glory. It should stack up as one of the most compelling football doubleheaders in a long, long time. So let's make some more OUTRAGEOUS predictions for the NFL's version of the Final Four.
Outrageous Predictions for AFC/NFC Championship Games
Andy Reid outcoaches Bill Belichick as the Chiefs advance to the Super Bowl
Belichick has long had Reid's number. He denied Reid a Super Bowl victory 14 years ago is 6-2 lifetime against his longtime counterpart. This Sunday, however, will be a different story. Reid will utilize Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, and Damien Williams in so many ways that it will leave a middle-of-the-road Patriots defense unable to come up with many stops. Belichick has made a living taking away his opponent's top weapon, but Kansas City has too many.
The Rams' defense melts down in the Superdome against the Saints
Los Angeles has every bit of talent to beat New Orleans, even in the Saints' own building, but it will not happen on Sunday. The reason? The Rams' collection of high-priced defensive headaches will come unglued in the hostile environment that is the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Ndamukong Suh, Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib will commit costly mistakes, show a lack of discipline and succumb to the noise and pressure applied by both the Saints' fans and their high-octane offense. Whether it's a coverage bust from Talib, a gamble that doesn't pay off from Peters, or a silly and even dirty play from Suh, Los Angeles' defense will spoil a Hollywood ending for the Rams and their Super Bowl dreams.
Sean McVay loses wunderkind label after leaving the Big Easy with a big L
No sooner do the Saints defeat the Rams by at least a touchdown that the following question is presented. Should we pump the brakes on Sean McVay? The guy has gotten off to a brilliant start and at 32; the sky seems to the limit for his coaching career. However, a loss on Sunday would leave him with just one playoff victory despite going 24-8 the past two regular seasons. He may end up being an all-time great coach but he probably should add a few more things to his resume before he's labeled the next best thing. Right now it seems that any assistant that he's even shared a cup of coffee with is getting a high-profile coordinator job if not a head coaching position, but perhaps it's time McVay takes his place behind the likes of Belichick, Reid, Sean Payton and Doug Pederson, among others, when it comes to the pecking order in this fraternity.
This will be Rob Gronkowski's AND Tom Brady's final game as Patriots
It's quite fitting that this rematch between the Patriots and Chiefs will take place in the frigid Arrowhead Stadium. Had New England not allowed the "Miami Miracle" where the Dolphins beat the Patriots on a last-second lateral play, this game would be in Gillette Stadium in Foxborough where temperatures are expected to in the mid-40s Sunday night. Instead, the expected conditions seem to favor the home team because their quarterback has the stronger arm and their nucleus is younger, healthier and more dynamic. The subsequent loss will lead to two key members of New England's impressive run to call it quits. This is still a very good team, but it's also clear that Gronk is a shell of his former dominant self and Brady will take inventory of the roster, not like what he sees and call it a career. He's knows he's the GOAT even if he goes out with an L.
— Written by Nick Kayal, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network as a college football and NFL writer. Nick is a Morning Show Host in Nashville on 102.5 The Game. Follow him on Twitter @NickKayal.