American Football Expert & Columnist
NFL Conference Championship predictions: Neil Reynolds and Jeff Reinebold make their playoff picks
Last Updated: 20/01/19 11:45pm
Our Super Bowl finalists are to be decided this Sunday with the Conference Championship, live on Sky Sports. But, who are Neil Reynolds and Jeff Reinebold backing?
Each week, on the Inside the Huddle podcast, Neil and Jeff make their predictions for every NFL game, keeping a tally of their records as the season goes on. Jeff was a convincing winner over the regular season, finishing 11 games clear of Neil with a 165-89-2 record, but the pair are doing battle once again for the playoffs. Jeff again has the edge, a two-game advantage going into this weekend.
Inside the Huddle is broadcast every week on Sky Sports and is available On Demand.
Read on to see Neil and Jeff's Conference Championship predictions...
Los Angeles Rams (#2) @ New Orleans Saints (#1), NFC
Sky Sports USA (407), 7pm, Sunday
NEIL PICKS: RAMS
A repeat of the game between these teams in Week Nine, with the Saints winning 45-35.
The Saints have so many weapons, Drew Brees, Alvin Kamara, Michael Thomas. Brees has had a career year, which is saying something, because he's had a few - he leads the NFL in completion percentage and quarterback rating.
But, to disrupt Brees and to get pressure to him, you've got to get there quickly. And the man leading that is, according to Mohamed Sanu and Ryan Fitzpatrick, the best player in any position in the NFL. Aaron Donald.
Last week was probably too close for comfort for the Saints. The Eagles scored the first two touchdowns, New Orleans came roaring back, but Philly had a chance late on to snatch that game. Nick Foles throws a pass inside the Saints 20-yard line - they were knocking on the door - but it gets picked off.
The Saints also lost Sheldon Rankins to injury in that game, their big-time defensive tackle - he's out for the rest of the year and is such a big loss. So I'm going for the Rams.
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JEFF PICKS: RAMS
That's exactly who I'm going for too. Rams to reach the Super Bowl.
It's unbelievable tough to pick against the Saints in the Superdome. I worry about the Rams in that respect, because they rely so heavily on communication, pre-snap from the sideline to the quarterback and then when he has to get all of that across to the other 10 players on the field. In the noise of the Superdome, how are they going to do that?
But, the run game certainly helps them going into a game like this. One of the main things preached in pro football is 'run the ball on the road, and take the crowd out of it'.
The Rams were able to run the football against the Cowboys - 273 yards against one of the league's best run defenses, and they're going to face another one this weekend, albeit without Rankins.
As I look at the Saints, especially over the last few weeks of the season, I see a team that does things that you can't win a championship doing. A lot of it gets masked by the fact that Brees is such a good player, Thomas too. But, with Rankins out, this is going to be a really interesting game.
I have five kids that I've coached that are playing for the Saints. They are one game away from the Super Bowl, but I'm picking against them! Sorry.
New England Patriots (#2) @ Kansas City Chiefs (#1), AFC
Sky Sports USA (407), 11.40pm, Sunday
NEIL PICKS: PATRIOTS
This one is another rematch of a game earlier in the season, a Week Six shootout in Foxborough, with the Patriots winning 43-40.
But, this time it's at Arrowhead, and that home-field advantage; this is going to be a test for the Patriots. New England are a perfect 9-0 at home this season, but all five of their losses have been on the road. So a big challenge lies ahead in Kansas City.
Patrick Mahomes is the toast of the NFL. In his first full season as a starter, he has 5,097 yards and 50 touchdowns. He is only the second player in NFL history to go over 5,000 yards and 50 TDs - Peyton Manning the other. He is so exciting to watch!
But, all that said, I am picking the Patriots. My reasoning is, if I'm right, well at least I've picked right. And, if I'm wrong, then I'm happy that they're not going to another Super Bowl.
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A 41-year-old, five-time Super Bowl winner versus a 23-year-old, second-year QB that has taken the NFL by storm in 2018.
JEFF PICKS: CHIEFS
The biggest thing for the Chiefs is they've gotten over a mental hurdle, the fact that they had not won a home playoff game since 1993 and when Joe Montana was at quarterback. That 800lb gorilla is off their back now, thanks to beating the Colts last week. That's huge, for the players, the coaching staff and the entire city. They'll come into this one expecting to win.
Everybody talks about Bill Belichick, and how is so often able to out-coach the best offenses in the NFL - the Greatest Show on Turf, the Manning led Colts, You can't argue with his record, but you also can't argue with the fact that Andy Reid and Kansas City have scored 40+ points in two out of their last three meetings.
I've got to take Kansas City.