The NFL's Conference Championship Weekend is here, arguably the best afternoon of professional football you'll find, with two raucous home crowds excited to see their team play for the chance to go to the Super Bowl. For the first time since 2010 the Patriots won't be playing this weekend, as Patriots fans join 27 other fanbases to try and decide who to root for to meet in Miami in two weeks.
The Titans are the team that knocked the Patriots and the Ravens off, and feature many former Patriot players and coaches. They might be the sentimental pick for Pats fans if they can get over the loss the Titans handed New England on Wild Card Weekend. The Chiefs' explosive offense would be a ratings boon in the Super Bowl, but
Patriots fans have little affection for their AFC West rivals. Still, the excitement surrounding the Chiefs is impossible to deny.
In the NFC, Jimmy Garoppolo headlines the 49ers attack. The former Patriot has bounced back from a torn ACL last season and has led San Francisco to the top seed in the NFC. But Garoppolo still doesn't have the resume that Aaron Rodgers has and he's been playing clutch football to get the Packers back into the conference championship.
This week's Samsonite Make Your Case question of the week is...
What is the best Super Bowl 54 Matchup?
Mike Dussault says...
Chiefs vs. 49ers
These are the two most complete teams left and match up extremely well against each other, with both featuring two young quarterbacks who will among the faces that lead the NFL into the next decade.
The 49ers stout defense has all the pieces needed to face Patrick Mahomes and the explosive Chiefs offense. But Garoppolo has his fair share of dynamic threats as well, led by tight end George Kittle, who will be a thorn in the side of a Chiefs defense that has improved tremendously over the course of the season.
Two great young quarterbacks, two great tight ends and some of the fastest receivers in the game would make this star-studded affair a must-watch Super Bowl. What better way to turn the page to the 2020's than to see two of the best and brightest young stars in Garoppolo and Mahomes face off in the Super Bowl. Who knows, it might not be the last time it happens.
Paul Perillo says ...
Titans vs. 49ers
Honestly, any game not involving the Packers would be fine by me but that's a story for another day. For Super Bowl LIV, I'd love to see a showdown of sorts between some past Patriots – Mike Vrabel and Tennessee against Jimmy G's Niners.
Vrabel was not only a mainstay on some of the greatest Patriots teams of the dynasty but he also was one of the more respected and enjoyable figures in the locker room. Seeing his team taking on his persona during this playoff run has been great to watch with Derrick Henry smashing opponents in the mouth while the Titans defense uses equal parts physicality and brilliant game planning to advance each week.
Watching Jimmy Garoppolo mature before our eyes has also been great to see. Garoppolo was a raw second-round pick in Foxborough not too long ago backing up Tom Brady in Super Bowl XLIX. Now he's looking to get a chance to lead his own team to the Super Bowl.
Titans-Niners should make for a great matchup with both teams using the running game to set up the offense and no-nonsense defense to keep the points down. That leads to meaningful possessions on both sides where coaching and decision-making will be at the utmost of importance.
And if the Patriots can't be there, we might as well have some former Patriots to root for.