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APC Conference Championship Picks: Top seeds Saints & Chiefs projected to Super Bowl LIII

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APC is going with home-field advantage and the top seeds in today’s games.

Kansas City Chiefs v New England Patriots Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

With the Championship games upon us today, it’s time to reveal APC’s picks for who will advance to Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. Let’s dive right into it.

NFC Championship: Saints at Rams

The first time these two teams met this season, the Saints won an all-time classic, 45-35. New Orleans’ defense has excelled at stopping the run all season long, ranking third in that area by DVOA while the Rams’ D ranks 28th. That seems to set this game up well for Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram to lead the way for the Saints’ offense.

However, New Orleans will be without one of their top run-stuffers, as Sheldon Rankins is out for the year with a torn Achilles tendon. If the Rams can take advantage of his absence and get Todd Gurley and C.J. Anderson going, they should be able to start picking on the Saints’ exploitable secondary (22nd in DVOA).

All told, however, APC’s writers see the Saints’ superior defense and Hall of Fame quarterback winning the day, and the Saints going to the Super Bowl in a divisional rival’s stadium.

APC Pick: Saints (9-4)

AFC Championship: Patriots at Chiefs

In this game we have a matchup of two elite offenses (Chiefs #1 and Patriots #5 by DVOA) against a mediocre and a not-very-good-at-all defense (Patriots #16, Chiefs #26). The Kansas City defense has been much better at home, however, though it is notable that their home schedule this season was pretty easy. Here’s the list of teams that they played at Arrowhead Stadium this season:

49ers, Jaguars,Bengals, Broncos, Cardinals, Ravens, Chargers, Raiders, Colts (playoffs)

Of those teams, only one — Indy — ranked in the top 13 teams in the NFL in offensive DVOA. Meanwhile, four of them were in the bottom eight.

Still, the Chiefs held the Colts to just a single offensive touchdown a week ago, keeping the 10th-ranked Colts to 13 points. The challenge will surely be tougher against the Patriots, however, and their ninth-ranked rushing attack.

Still, the Patrick Mahomes factor looms large, as the second-year quarterback and first-year starter has taken the league by storm. The Patriots picked him off twice in the teams’ first meeting, but it still took a last-second field goal for them to win in Foxboro. With this game taking place at Arrowhead, APC likes the Chiefs to make it to their first Super Bowl since Super Bowl IV.

APC Pick: Chiefs (9-4)


Conference Championship Picks

Game Tex Jason Peter Kris Bob Jon M Jordan Matub Mike Paul Shawn Wendi Zach APC Pick
Game Tex Jason Peter Kris Bob Jon M Jordan Matub Mike Paul Shawn Wendi Zach APC Pick
LAR @ NO LAR NO NO LAR LAR NO NO NO NO NO LAR NO NO NO (9-4)
NE @ KC KC KC KC KC KC NE KC KC NE NE NE KC KC KC (9-4)