NFL Playoff Preview: Chiefs deserve a lot more respect

Andy Reid Chiefs
Andy Reid is looking to cap off a superb career with a Super Bowl ring

The Kansas City Chiefs can go all the way to Miami and pick up a first ever Super Bowl for Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes, thinks Dave Gray...

"The Chiefs have seemingly gone under the radar this season, despite ending as the AFC’s second seed. They were so close to reaching last season’s Super Bowl and they are arguably a stronger team now."

Back the Chiefs to come out of the AFC

The Baltimore Ravens enter the playoffs on a 12 game winning streak and are rightfully favourites to win a third Super Bowl.

But this may be the most competitive AFC postseason line-up in quite some time and just making it to Miami on February 3 is going to be very tough, let alone winning the whole thing.

The two wildcard teams in the Buffalo Bills and Tennessee Titans pose a huge threat to every one of the teams in these playoffs. Both are built on strong running games that traditionally work in the cold January conditions. It is hard to see either team going all the way, but they are very capable of pulling off an upset and both will fancy their chances in the first round.

The Houston Texans are one of the longer shots of the 12 remaining teams but with Deshaun Watson, Deandre Hopkins and all the other talent they have, they can beat any team on their day. However, it is hard to trust them. We have seen so often that they struggle to put a run of games together and winning four straight games against the best teams in the league seems unlikely.

Patriots Super Bowl.jpg

Then there are the reigning champions, the Patriots. New England are a long way short of their best form, but we have seen time and time again that come playoff time, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady just find a way to get it done. At 13/1 they could be good value. Despite their troubles it would be foolish to write them off. They will need Sony Michel to rediscover the form of last January if they are going to have a chance.

Kansas City Chiefs have seemingly gone under the radar this season, despite ending as the AFC's second seed. They were so close to reaching last season's Super Bowl and are arguably a stronger team now. The defence is certainly playing better. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes hasn't reached last season's highs, but he has still had an excellent season despite some injury issues through the middle of the season. They have a win over the Ravens already this season and I am picking Kansas City to go all the way to their first Super Bowl in more than 50 years.

Baltimore are led by soon-to-be MVP Lamar Jackson and have been unstoppable since a week four loss to the Browns. Jackson has put up historic numbers, posting more rushing yards in a single season than any quarterback in history. There are plenty of reasons to back the Ravens, and it would certainly be no surprise to see them lifting the Lombardi Trophy next month, but 23/10 feels a little on the short side, particularly with the strength in depth in the teams remaining.

49ers can make home-field advantage count

Things in the NFC seem a little clearer. There are three teams that are clear favourites in the San Francisco 49ers, Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints while the Seattle Seahawks, Philadelphia Eagles and Minnesota Vikings aren't fancied to go too far.

Of those three teams the Seahawks look most likely to make a run. They are favourites on the road against Philadelphia this weekend and a win would likely set up a game against the 49ers, a team they have already beaten in San Francisco this season. The injury problems may be too much to overcome, but at 25/1 they wouldn't be the worst bet to pick up another Super Bowl if you wanted a team at a bigger price.

The Packers and Saints look set to collide in the divisional round. New Orleans are strong favourites to move past the Vikings and head to Green Bay. The Saints are currently the second favourites to win the NFC Championship but I would not be backing them to go into Lambeau and get a win in January. Conditions are likely to be very tough and there is a big drop off from Drew Brees when playing on the road, particularly out of a dome. It is why I would struggle to back the Saints this season, despite them being a very strong team.

Jimmy Garoppolo 49ers.jpg

The 49ers have been a revelation this season. Coming into the season they were underdogs to make the playoffs, let alone get the number one seed in the conference. Kyle Shanahan has done an incredible job in building an offence around Jimmy Garoppolo, particularly the run game which is arguably the best in the league. They have three losses this season but all have gone down to the final drive and have all been within one score. They have managed to turn Levis Stadium into a really strong home field and with the NFC coming through there, I can't see any team knocking them off before the playoffs. I am backing them to win the NFC Championship and head to Miami.

This should be a great set of playoff games this season with plenty of games that could go either way. But for me it will come down to the Chiefs and 49ers with Andy Reid picking up his first ever ring for Kansas City.

Dave Gray's Regular Season NFL 2019/20 P/L

Staked: 84
Returns: 87.20
P/L: +3.20

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