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NFL Playoff Picture 2019: Updated Bracket, NFC and AFC Championship Games

The divisional round of the playoffs is in the history books and four teams remain in the race for the Super Bowl.

The Kansas City Chiefs exorcized their playoff demons and Patrick Mahomes confirmed he is a once-in-a-generation talent, while the New England Patriots and Tom Brady made a mockery of those suggesting their dynasty was coming to an end.

Read more: NFL playoffs—Ranking the eight teams in the divisional round 

Meanwhile, the New Orleans Saints ended Philadelphia’s slim hopes of defending their Super Bowl title and the Rams reached their first NFC Championship Game in 17 years. For the first time since 2015, the top two seeds in both conferences have made it to the Conference Championship. 

Here’s the updated playoff bracket for Championship Sunday, along with dates, times and TV info.

NFC

Los Angeles Rams @ New Orleans Saints (Sunday, January 20, 3:05 p.m. ET, FOX)

The only two teams to win 13 games in the regular season meet in New Orleans, where the Saints are undefeated in the playoffs in the Drew Brees and Sean Payton era. New Orleans survived a major scare in the divisional round, coming back from 14-0 down to beat the Philadelphia Eagles 20-14.

The win over Philadelphia marks the first time the Saints have reached the NFC Championship since 2009. As is the case this year, back then New Orleans came off a 13-3 regular season. That time they ended up winning the Super Bowl.

That is not the only good omen for Payton’s men, as they have already beaten the team standing between them and a place in Super Bowl LIII this season. In Week 9, New Orleans became the first team to stop the then-undefeated Rams, beating them 45-35 at the Superdome.

Los Angeles, meanwhile, arrives into its first Championship Sunday since 2002 after overcoming the Cowboys on Saturday. The Rams beat Dallas at its own game, running the ball 48 times for a total of 273 rushing yards, and could adopt the same approach on Sunday.

When they lost to the Saints in Week 9, the Rams recorded just 92 rushing yards across 19 carries, but controlling the ball and the clock will be crucial in New Orleans.

Both teams have scored over 500 points this season and Brees and Jared Goff have thrown 32 passing touchdowns. However, while the Saints veteran has thrown for 3,992 yards and just six interceptions, the latter has 4,688 yards and 12 interceptions. The winner of their personal battle will go a long way in determining who represents the NFC in Atlanta.

AFC

New England Patriots @ Kansas City Chiefs (Sunday, January 20, 6:40 p.m. ET, CBS)

Not even the snow could stop could Patrick Mahomes on Saturday. Playing in the first playoff game of his life, the second-year quarterback added another chapter to what is an already remarkable story, taking the Chiefs to their first AFC Championship game since 1993.

Not only did the Chiefs win a first playoff game at home in a quarter of a century, they also showed the kind of game management they had often lacked in the past, when they contrived to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

The Patriots, meanwhile, proved rumors of their demise were grossly exaggerated. The five-time Super Bowl champions looked at their best on Sunday, sweeping away the Chargers without breaking sweat.

Tom Brady had only one touchdown pass but completed 34 of his 44 attempted passes for 343 yards and controlled the game sublimely. It is impossible not to describe the showdown against Mahomes on Sunday as a generational clash, which could well see the Chiefs’ signal-caller symbolically pick up the baton from New England legend.

While the Chiefs’ offense has torched opponents throughout the season, the Patriots’ win over the chargers was a timely reminder that underestimating Brady and Bill Belichick in the playoffs is always a huge risk.

Belichick will coach the Patriots for an eighth consecutive AFC Championship game and has an 8-4 record all-time in conference deciders, while his Chiefs counterpart Andy Reid is 1-4 in the same scenario.

However, the Patriots are only 3-4 on the road in playoff games and have lost their last two AFC Championship Games away from Foxborough, both times against the Denver Broncos (in 2014 and 2016).

Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs Quarterback Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs celebrates in the final minute of the 31-13 victory over the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Divisional Playoff at Arrowhead Stadium on January 12 in Kansas City, Missouri. David Eulitt/Getty Images

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