League’s fi­nal four have big-name QBs, plenty of of­fense

San Francisco Chronicle Late Edition - - SPORTS - By Jay Co­hen Jay Co­hen is an As­so­ci­ated Press writer.

Tom Brady ver­sus Pa­trick Ma­homes. Jared Goff against Drew Brees.

Two high-pro­file re­matches with the Su­per Bowl on the line.

The NFL’s high­est-scor­ing of­fenses meet in the con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship games Sun­day. Brady leads the Pa­tri­ots into Kansas City to take on Ma­homes and the Chiefs, and Brees and the Saints host Goff and the Rams.

“We’ll see how it goes,” New Eng­land head coach Bill Belichick said. “We had a tremen­dous game with them here ear­lier. That was a long time ago. We’ll see where we are now, see where they are.”

New Eng­land hosted Kansas City on Oct. 14 and Brady passed for 340 yards and a touch­down in a 43-40 vic­tory that was the Chiefs’ first loss of the sea­son. Ma­homes’ 75-yard touch­down pass to Tyreek Hill tied it with 3:03 left, but Stephen Gostkowski kicked a win­ning 28-yard field goal as time ex­pired.

“It’ll be a tough game,” Brady said. “It’s go­ing to be a lot of fun to go back there and play in a cham­pi­onship game and try to ad­vance.”

New Or­leans and Los An­ge­les had their own high-scor­ing af­fair Nov. 4. Wil Lutz’s 54-yard field gave the Saints a lead with 6:23 left, and Brees found Michael Thomas for a clinch­ing 72-yard touch­down in a 45-35 vic­tory.

“When we come out there, we feel like no one can stop us,” Thomas said of his con­nec­tion with Brees. “We have a thing, and it’s hard for the other team to stop.”

The Saints av­er­aged 31.5 points this sea­son, rank­ing third in the NFL be­hind the Chiefs (35.3 points per game) and Rams (32.9) and ahead of the Pa­tri­ots (27.3).

It’s the first time in the Su­per Bowl era that the NFL’s top four scor­ing of­fenses all reached the con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship games.

New Or­leans’ de­fense played a cru­cial role in its 20-14 win over Philadel­phia in the di­vi­sional round Sun­day. Marshon Lat­ti­more had two in­ter­cep­tions, in­clud­ing one on the Ea­gles’ fi­nal pos­ses­sion, and the Saints erased an early 14-0 deficit.

“We were real calm and poised, and we knew we were go­ing to get things done,” Brees said.

Los An­ge­les ad­vanced by pow­er­ing its way to a 30-22 win against Dal­las on Satur­day. C.J. An­der­son had 123 yards and two touch­downs on the ground, and Todd Gur­ley rushed for 115 more yards and an­other TD.

“Our sense of fo­cus and the sense of ur­gency have gone up tremen­dously,” Rams guard Rodger Saf­fold said.

New Eng­land also showed off its rush­ing at­tack in a 41-28 win against the Charg­ers on Sun­day. Sony Michel rushed for 129 yards and three TDs.

Kansas City is headed for its first AFC ti­tle game since Jan­uary 1994 af­ter rolling to a 31-13 vic­tory over the Colts on Satur­day.

“This is what we work for,” Kansas City line­backer Dee Ford said. “We just want to keep this thing rolling. En­joy it now but keep it rolling.”

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