Super Bowl LIII is almost here. The 2019 NFL playoffs have reached the conference championship round, and familiar faces are squaring off against rising stars in both the AFC and NFC.
Tom Brady and the New England Patriots are back again, but Patrick Mahomes has helped the Kansas City Chiefs reach this stage of the postseason for the first time in 25 years.
As part of a record-breaking year, Drew Brees is making his triumphant return to the NFC title game. But the New Orleans Saints will host a Los Angeles Rams team that is becoming an annual force.
From TV info to kickoff time and a preview with predictions, everything you need to know about conference championship week is here.
Odds courtesy of OddsShark.
AFC Championship: New England Patriots at Kansas City Chiefs
Date: Sunday, January 20, at 6:40 p.m. ET
TV and Streams: CBS, CBS All Access and fuboTV
Spread: Chiefs -3
"Everyone thinks we suck. And, you know, we can't win any games," Tom Brady said after the Patriots smashed the Los Angeles Chargers in the divisional round.
There aren't enough crying/laughing emojis for that.
New England is a three-point underdog, but no reasonable person would be surprised by a win Sunday. Not only is this the franchise's eighth straight AFC title appearance, the Pats defeated Kansas City 43-40 in the regular-season matchup.
Two things are objectively true, though: Kansas City has thrived at home (8-1, including the playoffs), whereas all five of New England's losses occurred on the road (3-5).
It's understandable for the Chiefs to be favored.
When the teams squared off in Week 6, the Patriots took advantage of two first-half interceptions from Patrick Mahomes. They built a 24-9 lead and skated past Kansas City's second-half surge, perhaps largely because Brady had the final possession.
That last point may be pivotal Sunday. The temperature is expected to be sub-freezing with a nasty wind chill, per Weather.com. But we don't anticipate that slowing these high-powered offenses much.
As long as Mahomes and the Chiefs protect the ball, efficiency and home-field edge should propel them past New England.
After all, everyone thinks New England can't win any games. Right, Tom?
Prediction: Chiefs 38, Patriots 31
NFC Championship: Los Angeles Rams at New Orleans Saints
Date: Sunday, January 20, at 3:05 p.m. ET
TV and Streams: Fox, Fox Sports Go and fuboTV
Spread: Saints -3
While frigid temperatures and possible snow affects Kansas City, weather won't be a factor inside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Turn the offenses loose!
In Week 9, the teams combined for 80 points in a 45-35 Saints victory―one that featured 970 total yards of offense. Drew Brees and Jared Goff both passed for at least 346 yards and three scores, while seven different players caught touchdowns.
However, there's been a significant change in defensive performance for one team since that regular-season date.
The Saints ceded 27.3 points per game in the first eight contests of 2018 but only 16.6 since then. That includes the Week 17 loss to the Carolina Panthers when several key New Orleans players rested because the team had secured home-field advantage.
Although the Rams want to lean on star back Todd Gurley, New Orleans has surrendered 100-plus rushing yards only four times. A season-ending injury to defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins stings, but the Saints are tough to beat on the ground.
If that trend repeats, the pressure will be on Goff to keep Los Angeles close in the fourth quarter. But Brees, Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas will be tough to match.
Prediction: Saints 31, Rams 26
Note: NFL playoff games, studio shows and more are available through fubo.TV/welcome.
Follow Bleacher Report writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR.