Five quick takes on the NFL conference title games:
1. The coaching matchup in the Patriots-Chiefs game favors Bill Belichick, who is 29-11 in the playoffs while Reid is 12-13. In their only previous playoff meeting in the Super Bowl after the 2004 season, the Eagles were down 10 points in the fourth quarter and didn’t go to the hurry up offense. They scored a touchdown but virtually ran out their own clock and lost by three. This time, though, Reid is favored at home.
2. But Belichick hasn’t had great success on the road in the playoffs. He’s 3-4 and 1-4 In his last five with the only victory coming in San Diego in 2007 when Marlon McCree of the Chargers intercepted a pass that would have iced the game but tried to run and fumbled it away. The Patriots also went 3-5 on the road – including a loss to the Jaguars – and were unbeaten at home this year.
3. Patrick Mahomes is the wunderkind trying to do what Tom Brady did back in 2001 – win the Super Bowl in his second season and first as a starter. An interesting duel between the old gunslinger and the young kid trying to knock him off the throne.
4. The Saints have even a bigger homefield advantage than the Chiefs do. They’re an indoor team playing indoors. Although the Rams figure to make it close, the Saints beat the Rams 45-35 at the Superdome during the regular season and figure to have the edge again.
5. The Saints have to overcome the loss of defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins, who suffered a torn ACL against the Eagles. The Saints held Todd Gurley to 68 yards on 13 carries while beating the Rams in the regular season. Stopping Gurley without Rankins will be a challenge.