NFL CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP WEEKEND – JANUARY 22
By Leo Haggerty

PRO FOOTBALL’S FINAL FOUR

Well, ladies and gentlemen, we come to the National Football League’s Conference Championship Weekend.  By the time the dust settles on Sunday night, we will know the two teams that will square off in Tampa at Raymond James Stadium the first Sunday in February for the coveted Lombardi Trophy.

But, before I let you know who I think will be travelling to Florida for the right to participate in Super Bowl LV, let’s take a look at how my predictions fared last weekend.  After a 3-3 Wild Card Weekend, did I do better on Divisional Weekend?

The answer to that is a resounding yes.  I successfully picked all four winners that survived and advanced.  So, without any delay, here’s my prognostication for the two franchises that will punch their ticket to The Big Dance and I believe karma will play a huge factor in the outcome.  Enjoy

TAMPA BAY AT GREEN BAY (-3 1/2)
Let me give you a little history.  The only time the Buccaneers have been to the Super Bowl, the Pewter Pirates had to go to Philly and beat the Eagles.  It was cold at the Vet but that didn’t faze that Bucs team.  It’s going to be in the 20s on the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field but the forecast is for very little wind.  Look for the Pewter Pirates to shut down the Packers running game and force QB Aaron Rodgers to launch it 40+ times which is usually not a bad thing for the Green & Gold.  I look for an extremely close game that comes down to the last team with the ball being the winner and my money’s on Brady and Company.  TB, 30-27, with Ryan Succop drilling a pressure field goal as time expires to become the first NFL team to play the Super Bowl in their home stadium.

BUFFALO AT KANSAS CITY (-3)
Let me give you another piece of history.  The Bills are the only team in NFL history to go to four consecutive Super Bowls.  They had a chance to beat the Giants but K Scott Norwood push a 47 yarder six inches to the right of the goalpost.  Want to guess where that game was played?  Yup, Tampa and how many demons would be exorcised if Buffalo won it’s first Super Bowl in the city where they almost took home the Lombardi Trophy.  Yeah, I know they have to go into Arrowhead and beat the defending champs in the Chiefs but QB Patrick Mahomes is beat up.  Plus, there is a chance of rain sometime during the game and that could effect the Kansas City pass happy offense.  Another game that will go down to the wire but with a different ending.  BUF, 24-21, with a late scramble to pay dirt by Bills QB Josh Allen to send the Bills back to Tampa for a chance at redemption.

There you have it.  Meet you at the “telly” on Sunday to see if I’m right.  STAY SAFE.