The NFL is down to its final four for conference championship Sunday. It’s the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Green Bay Packers in the NFC title game Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game.
Super Bowl 55 Possible Matchups | 2021 NFL Expert Analysis
Each championship game contest is a rematch of a 2020 regular-season game, and both contests took place in Week 6. Tampa Bay defeated Green Bay, 38-10, on Oct. 18 at Raymond James Stadium, and Kansas City traveled to Buffalo to earn a 26-17 victory on Oct. 19.
Three of those four franchises have won at least one Super Bowl; the one that hasn’t is Buffalo, which memorably lost four straight Super Bowls in the early 1990s. Here’s a look at the two potential Bills matchups in Super Bowl 55 on Feb. 7 in Tampa and the projected NFL game odds of those exact matchups.
Bills vs. Bucs (pick’em, total of 55)
Wouldn’t it be ironic if the Bills faced the Bucs in Tampa’s own stadium? Buffalo’s first Super Bowl appearance was in the old Tampa Stadium – replaced years ago by Raymond James Stadium – in Super Bowl XXVI vs. the New York Giants and that was the Bills’ best chance at a title.
The Bills and their explosive offense led by Jim Kelly and Thurman Thomas were making their first Super Bowl appearance after finishing the regular season with a 13-3 record, and leading the league in total points scored with 428. However, that offense was largely shut down by a terrific Giants defense – New York set a Super Bowl record-holding possession of the ball for 40 minutes and 33 seconds.
Buffalo would lose in 20-19 heartbreaking fashion when Scott Norwood’s last-second field goal attempt that went wide right of the uprights, starting a four-game losing streak in the Super Bowl for the Bills.
This year’s Bills are playing in the AFC Championship for the first time since the 1993 season, when they defeated the Chiefs to advance to Super Bowl XXVIII but lost to the Dallas Cowboys 30-13.
For a second straight season, a Wild Card team has reached its conference Championship Game, as the Bucs have followed in the footsteps of the 2019 Tennessee Titans. Tampa Bay is the first NFC Wild Card team to reach the Championship Game since the San Francisco 49ers in 2013, and the ninth overall Wild Card team to advance to that round since 2007. Two of those teams – the 2007 New York Giants and the 2010 Green Bay Packers – won the Super Bowl. Six teams overall, including the 1980 Oakland Raiders, 1997 Denver Broncos, 2000 Baltimore Ravens and 2005 Pittsburgh Steelers, have won the Super Bowl as Wild Card teams.
The Bills and Bucs didn’t play this season. They last did Week 7 of the 2017 season and Buffalo won 30-27 at home. Bills cornerback Tre’Davious White forced and recovered a fumble to set up Stephen Hauschka’s 30-yard field goal with 14 seconds remaining. While White is still a key member of the Bills, few other players from either team are still around from then.
Bills vs. Packers (-2, total 54.5)
The Bills have now won 8 straight games, 7 of them by double digits. Over those 8 games, Buffalo has a point differential of +136. Josh Allen is the Bills QB since Jim Kelly in 1993 to win 2 playoff games in the same postseason
In last weekend’s 17-3 win over Baltimore, the Ravens’ three points were their fewest points in a game since the 2009 Divisional Round against the Colts. The points tied for their fewest under HC John Harbaugh and tied for their fewest ever in a postseason game. Baltimore had entered averaging 34.3 points in its previous six, all wins. Only 2 teams the past 10 years have been held to less than 225 yards in a playoff game and won: 2015 Broncos in the Super Bowl and the Bills vs. Baltimore.
The Bills will play in the franchise’s ninth AFL/AFC Championship Game. Buffalo is 6-2 in those games, having won four straight (1990-93). Sean McDermott, who has led the Bills to the playoffs in three of his four seasons as head coach, worked 12 years (1999-2010) with current Kansas City coach Andy Reid on the Eagles’ staff. In total, McDermott has coached in five conference Championships and two Super Bowls. He will be making his first Championship Game appearance as a head coach
The Packers are hosting the NFC Championship for the first time since 2007 — they lost that game to the Giants 23-20 in overtime. It was Brett Favre’s last game as a Packer.
Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers has thrown 2 Pass TDs in 8 consecutive playoff games, tying Joe Flacco for the longest postseason streak in NFL history. Rodgers has now thrown 42 Pass TD in his career in the postseason, that’s the 4th most all-time.
The Bills and Packers didn’t meet this season. They last did Week 4 of the 2018 season and Green Bay won 22—at home. Rodgers was 22 of 40 for 298 yards with one touchdown. Green Bay had decisive edges in total offense (423-145) and first downs (22-11).
Allen was a rookie then and accounted for three turnovers, including two interceptions and a fumble late in the fourth quarter that stood on review. He was 16 of 33 for 151 yards.
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