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PFT’s NFL 2020 conference championship game picks

Mike Florio and Chris Simms play ‘What’s more likely’ to preview key matchups in the conference championships between the Packers and Buccaneers, as well as the Bills and Chiefs.

We had one disagreement last week. MDS took the Bills, and I took the Ravens. We otherwise went 3-0 straight up and 2-1 against the spread.

So he was 4-0 and 3-1, and I was 3-1 and 2-2.

Through two weekends of the postseason, MDS is 8-2 straight up, and I’m 7-3. Against the spread, he’s 6-4 and I’m 4-6.

This week’s picks appear below. I have a chance to catch him. The picks appear below.

Buccaneers (+3) at Packers

MDS’s take: When these teams met in the regular season, it was a one-sided beatdown, with the Bucs winning 38-10. I don’t think that game has much bearing on this one, though. Aaron Rodgers isn’t going to get shut down by the Tampa Bay defense the way he did that way, nor is the Packers’ defense going to have as bad a game as it did. I see this as a close and competitive game that could go either way, but in the end I like Rodgers to make one more play than Tom Brady in the fourth quarter.

MDS’s pick: Packers 30, Buccaneers 24.

Florio’s take: Something happened to Tampa Bay’s defense in the second half of Sunday’s win over the Saints. If that someone can continue in Green Bay, the Bucs will be headed to the Super Bowl. The challenge for the team that falls behind early in this one will be to not let pessimism creep in, especially when it will be tempting to wish for a quit exit from the cold temperatures. That’s why it will be more critical then ever for the Buccaneers to avoid stumbling out of the gates -- which they did all too often during the season, including against the Packers. Then, a 10-0 hole became a 38-10 win. Now, it won’t be quite so easy.

Florio’s pick: Buccaneers 27, Packers 24.

Bills (+3) at Chiefs

MDS’s take: The Chiefs have played so many games recently in which they did just enough to win, that it almost feels like it has to come back to haunt them at some point, and they’ll let another team hang around too long and lose. But I just don’t see it happening on Sunday, at least not if Patrick Mahomes plays, as I think he will. The Chiefs’ offense can run up a lot of points on the Bills’ defense, and I don’t see Josh Allen keeping pace. The Chiefs will make a statement and advance to their second straight Super Bowl.

MDS’s pick: Chiefs 35, Bills 24.

Florio’s take: The Buffalo offense is nearly as good as Kansas City’s. But the Kansas City defense is better. And that should help create the difference in this one -- assuming Patrick Mahomes plays and isn’t significantly impaired by his toe injury.

Florio’s pick: Chiefs 31, Bills 27.