Dave Blezow has written the NFL predictions column in The Post’s Bettor’s Guide for the past 25 years. Here is his analysis of Sunday’s AFC Championship game between the New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs and prediction for who advances to Super Bowl 53.
CHIEFS (-3) over Patriots; Under 55¹/₂: A potential “arctic blast” is the major factor standing in the way of a full endorsement of the Chiefs.
According to NFLWeather.com, it’ll be 21 degrees at kickoff with a wind-chill of 11 with light to moderate winds. Will the apocalyptic cold turn be a death sentence for the Chiefs’ speed and vertical passing game? Maybe not, but in general, cold, inclement weather figures to benefit the Patriots.
This has been the season of Patrick Mahomes. He threw 50 touchdown passes, put up an NFL-high 565 points (38 more than the No. 2 Los Angeles Rams and 132 more than the Patriots). He did well on a frosty field last week, and unless it’s End of Days conditions, expect he’ll be able to perform at a high level, like he did in an epic 43-40 Patriots win in Foxborough on Oct. 14.
Home-field advantage should be meaningful here, as well, as the Patriots are 3-5 on the road this season and just 3-4 on the road in the playoffs in the entire Bill Belichick-Tom Brady dynasty. (And they’d won the first two of those, so it’s a 1-4 streak since January 2006.) The Chiefs are 7-1 at home, the only loss coming on a Los Angeles Chargers touchdown with four seconds to go followed by a two-point conversion.
Don’t forget Andy Reid whipped the then-defending-champion Patriots on opening night of the 2017 season in Foxborough, 42-27, with Alex Smith at quarterback. And in 2014, Belichick’s famous “on to Cincinnati” comments came after a 41-14 pasting by the Chiefs at Arrowhead on a Monday night.
Prediction: Chiefs 27, Patriots 23