MIKEDROP – Championship Weekend

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) greets Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff after an NFL football game in New Orleans, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016. The Saints won 49-21. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

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Today’s MIKEDROP DAILY features what to watch for on Saturday 1/18 and Sunday 1/19, including NFL playoffs, college basketball, and NBA.

AFC Championship – Patriots vs Chiefs

What to Know:

  • “Don’t bet against the Patriots” according to Julian Edelman and many people think “the Patriots suck” according to Tom Brady
  • This is the Patriots 13th Conference Championship Game in 17 years
  • Chiefs snapped a 6 game home playoff losing streak last week, winning their first playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium since 1993

What’s at stake:

Chiefs

  • First Super Bowl since 1970
  • Andy Reid’s second Super Bowl appearance as a head coach, chance at first win
  • Back-to-back Kelces in the Super Bowl (Eagles center Jason Kelce won last year)

Patriots

  • First Super Bowl appearance since 2018
  • Seeking 6th Super Bowl win and 11th Super Bowl appearance
  • In their Super Bowl history – 2-0 vs NFC South (Falcons and Panthers); 1-0 vs NFC West (Seahawks)

All-time Series

  • Chiefs are 18-15-3 all-time vs Patriots
  • Tom Brady is 6-3 vs Chiefs
  • Andy Reid is 3-6 vs Patriots (with Chiefs and Eagles)
  • Patriots beat Chiefs 43-40 earlier in 2018
  • Patriots won the only playoff meeting, 27-20 in 2015

NFC Championship – Rams vs Saints

#10yearchallenge

  • In 2009, the Saints won the franchise’s first and only Super Bowl, with Sean Payton and Drew Brees
  • In 2009, the Rams completed a 1-15 season and scored the fewest points (175)

What to know

  • Saints are 6-0 in home playoff games in the Sean Payton/Drew Brees era
  • Last week was the Rams first playoff win since 1995
  • The Rams are 0-8 with Bill Vinovich as the referee

What’s at stake

Rams

  • First Super Bowl appearance since 2002 (lost to Patriots)
  • Seeking second Super Bowl win in franchise history (1999)

Saints

  • Second Super Bowl appearance in franchise history

All time series

  • Rams lead all-time series 41-34
  • Saints won the only ever playoff matchup 31-28 in 2000, led by 4 touchdown passes from QB Aaron Brooks
  • Saints beat Rams 45-35 in week 9 this season
  • Drew Brees/Sean Payton are 4-3 vs Rams

College Basketball

Virginia vs Duke – Best vs Best

If you check the latest coaches poll, you’ll see unbeaten Virginia come in at #1. If you check the latest AP poll, you will see Duke come in at #1. Saturday night is one of those rare 1 vs 1 games between Virginia and Duke. In fact, it’s so rare that its just the fourth 1 vs 1 meeting ever, third regular season.

Everyone knows about Duke’s big four – Cameron Reddish, RJ Barrett, Tre Jones, and Zion Williamson. They are coming off a home loss to Syracuse on Monday, while Virginia beat 9th ranked Virginia Tech by 23 points.

Virginia is 47-3 in their last 50 games and have only allowed opponents to score more than 60 points 11 times.

Virginia plays a very unpopular style of “crawl ball” , playing the second slowest pace of any team in the country while Duke loves to run. But despite the slow style of play for the Cavs, their offense is much improved and they have scored 80 point in two of their four ACC games (a huge deal for them). If they can break 80 vs Duke, I’d be almost certain they win. Cavs are one of two teams still unbeaten and this is clearly their toughest test yet.

Rivalry Weekend

Indiana vs Purdue – Purdue leads all-time series 118–89. Somewhat surprisingly, it’s Indiana that enters this game ranked, not Purdue, though the Hoosiers are coming off a loss to Nebraska on Monday.

Texas vs Oklahoma – Big game for both teams, who each come in at 2-3 in conference. Texas is 10-7 and is trending closer to the bubble than to the tournament and Oklahoma is 13-4 overall and comes in ranked 20th.

Best of the Best – Top 25 Games to Watch

#2 Michigan (the other unbeaten with Virginia) goes to Wisconsin, always a tough place to win. Ethan Happ is averaging 19 ppg, 10 rpg, and 4.6 apg for the Badgers and will need numbers like that in order to pull of the upset.

#12 Kentucky faces #14 Auburn in an exciting SEC showdown. Tennessee is the best team in the SEC, but after them it’s wide open. This is only one of two games featuring ranked vs ranked teams.

Best under-the-radar game

Last year’s Cincinnati @ Wichita State game was an instant classic. Bearcats won a back-and-forth game and in the final seconds, claimed the outright AAC championship.

NBA

Rockets vs Lakers – James Harden comes into this game ON FIRE. He has scored 30 or more points in 18 consecutive games and over the last two games, he has scored 115 points (all unassisted). Lakers are 5-7 without Lebron James and are coming off a big road win over the Thunder.

76ers vs Thunder – Two teams trending in opposite directions. 76ers have won three straight and 7 of 9 overall, while the Thunder have lost 5 of 6 and their last two, including Thursday’s home loss to the Lebron-less Lakers. 76ers are 10-3 vs Western Conference teams this season.


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Mike is an alum of the University of Cincinnati and the ultimate sports nerd.

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