AFC, NFC championship games feature early season rematches

The Big Game

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The AFC and NFC championship games are all set as the Buffalo Bills head to Kansas City and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers head north to face the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.

As it turns out, Week 6 of the 2020 season offered some foreshadowing of championship weekend, both games are rematches. Green Bay and Buffalo will be looking for a different result to punch their tickets to the Super Bowl.

Sunday Oct. 18, 2020Green Bay at Tampa Bay

Aaron Rodgers led the Packers into Raymond James Stadium to face Tom Brady and the Buccaneers. Green Bay was coming off of a bye-week after starting the season 4-0. Tampa Bay was sitting at 3-2 and coming off of a loss to the Chicago Bears.

The Packers ran out out to a 10-point lead in the first quarter, but were shutout the rest of the game and surrendered 38 unanswered points.

Rodgers failed to throw a touchdown, the only time that happened this season, but did throw two interceptions, one of them returned for a touchdown. His 160 passing yards were his second-lowest of the season. He also had the third-worst quarterback rating of his career at 35.4.

Brady only threw for 160 yards, also his lowest amount of the season, but threw two touchdowns and no interceptions.

“I think not turning the ball over helped a lot [and] I think not being behind on down and distance helped a lot,” Brady said. “But certainly better things that we can do [and] things better than what we did today. We’re going to keep working at it.”

“There’s a little bit of wake-up to stop feeling ourselves so much and get back to the things that got us to this position,” Rodgers said. “I think this would be, unfortunately but fortunately, something we can really grow from.”

Final Score: Packers 10 – Buccaneers 38

The Buccaneers and Packers kickoff at Lambaeu Field on Sunday at 2:05 p.m. CST for a spot as the NFC representative in the Super Bowl.

Monday Oct. 19, 2020 – Kansas City at Buffalo

Two of the NFL’s brightest young stars faced-off in Buffalo on a Monday that saw two games played due to a COVID-19-related reschedule.

The Buffalo Bills were coming off of their first loss of the season to Tennessee, the Chiefs were also looking to bounce back from their first loss to the Las Vegas Raiders at home.

Quarterbacks Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes were both off to hot starts and were both in the conversation as MVP contenders.

Mahomes completed 21 of his 26 passes (80.77 percent) for 225 yards and 2 touchdowns, but the hero of the game was rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire who rushed for 161 of the teams 240 yards.

Allen struggled and threw for only 122 yards, his lowest mark of the season. He did lead the Bills in rushing with 42 yards on eight attempts. First team All-Pro wide receiver Stefon Diggs was held to six catches for 46 yards, his second-worst mark of the year.

The Chiefs run game dominated the possession battle, holding the ball for 37 minutes and 45 seconds, leaving the Bills with just over 22 minutes on offense.

“We’re going to find a way to win the football game,” Mahomes said. “We don’t care how that is. We don’t care if it’s not having a lot of possession. We don’t care if it’s having a lot of possession.”

The win sparked a 10-game winning streak for Kansas City. Buffalo bounced back to win nine of its next 10, the sole loss coming on last-second “Hail Mary” caught by Arizona’s De’Andre Hopkins.

“We weren’t good enough. I was not good enough,” Allen said after the Chiefs loss. “I gotta do a better job, it’s plain and simple. I didn’t play very good tonight. I know that, I understand that. This team cant afford to have me play poorly.”

Final Score: Chiefs 26 – Bills 17

The Bills now head to Arrowhead for a chance at making their first Super Bowl appearance since 1994 and dethroning the current champions on Sunday at 5:40 p.m. CST.

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