Despite Rocky Balboa’s words at the end of the first movie, he fought Apollo Creed in the next film. Hence an NFL renewal of acquaintances.
Raise your hand, head to Twitter or simply TikTok your claim of knowing that in Week 6 of the 2020 season, we would all see a preview of both the AFC and NFC Championship Games.
What an amazing coincidence. That Sunday in Tampa, the Buccaneers hosted the Green Bay Packers. The next evening in a game rescheduled from Thursday night, the Buffalo Bills welcomed the Kansas City Chiefs to Orchard Park. Bruce Arians’ team spotted Aaron Rodgers and company a 10-0 lead and then scored 38 unanswered points. Meanwhile, the defending Super Bowl champions played ball control against the eventual AFC East champions and came up with a solid 26-17 triumph.
Now both the Packers and Bills not only seek redemption, but the league’s two hottest clubs are also looking for a trip to Super Bowl LV. And this time around, the teams that were on the road will play host on Championship Sunday.
If you think that this is a rare occurrence when it comes to both conference title games being rematches, think again. It actually marks the third consecutive year that this will occur. In 2018, the Los Angeles Rams avenged their first loss of that season by knocking off the New Orleans Saints at the Superdome in overtime. That same year, the New England Patriots defeated the Chiefs twice, the second game in overtime to advance to Super Bowl LIII. In ’19, the San Francisco humbled the Packers twice that season. Meanwhile, Tennessee handed the Chiefs what proved to be their final loss of 2019 as Andy Reid’s team rallied to beat the wild-card Titans in the AFC Championship Game at Arrowhead Stadium.
The Chiefs are looking to become the first team since the 2003 and ’04 Patriots (XXXVIII and XXXIX) to repeat as Super Bowl champions. But first, they have to get past a Bills’ team that is riding an eight-game overall winning streak. And will the club have quarterback Patrick Mahomes (concussion protocol)? On the other hand, it’s been 18 and 10 years, respectively, since the Buccaneers and Packers reached the Super Bowl. The latter has won seven consecutive games and Tampa Bay is in the middle of a six-game winning streak.
Rarely is the sequel better than the original. But don’t be surprised if both title games on Sunday live up to or even surpass this year’s first installments.