After what was perhaps the most thrilling weekend in recent playoff memory, the NFL playoffs have reached their final four weekend. If history is any indication, this weekend’s conference championship games should also be action-packed. In the AFC, Cincinnati will be squaring off with the red-hot Chiefs in K.C. Meanwhile in the evening game in the NFC, it will be an NFC West showdown with the 49ers locking horns with the Los Angeles Rams.
Below, SBS will break down the two championship game matchups, offer analysis on both teams and a final prediction for the two teams that will head to the Super Bowl in Los Angeles.
|NFL Conference Championship Weekend Picks
|Bengals at Chiefs
|49ers at Rams
When: 3:05 p.m. ET on CBS
Where: Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City
What to look for from the Bengals:
Cincinnati is coming off a thrilling victory over the Titans and are aiming for this first Super Bowl berth since the Ronald Reagan administration. In their 19-16 win over the Titans, quarterback Joe Burrow was extremely cool under duress (he was sacked an alarming nine times) and was able to still pass for 348 yards. Cincy mainly relied on their defense though to bail them out of tough spots as their unit generated three Ryan Tannehill interceptions, including one on the final Tennessee drive. If the Bengals are looking for a formula to knock off the opposing team, this game is pretty much the textbook example of Burrow throwing for a ton of yards and the defense coming up big when it needs to.
What to look for from the Chiefs:
In a thrilling victory over the Buffalo Bills, Kansas City will be returning to the AFC Championship for the fourth time in as many years. Patrick Mahomes was marvelous as usual, throwing for 378 yards, three passing touchdowns, while also leading the team in rushing. Basically, unless Mahomes completely screws up and gives up too many turnovers, Kansas City will be the favorite in each game they play.
Prediction: In what will be a rematch from their thriller earlier this month (Cincy won 34-31), Chiefs vs. Bengals should be another classic. However, the outcome will be different this time as the Chiefs (on the moneyline) roll at home and advance back to the Super Bowl.
When: 6:40 p.m. ET on Fox
Where: SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California
What to look for from the 49ers:
In another nail-biting finish, San Francisco was able to outlast Green Bay, 13-10, and advance back to the conference championship game for the first time since 2019. The 49ers offense was not pretty in the win, but they made the big plays when they needed to with 106 rushing yards and only one turnover from quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. What’s more impressive is that the San Francisco defense was able to contain the high-flying Packers offense to 263 total yards, including only 67 of them on the ground. The 49ers will need to dial up some similar pressure (five sacks) in Los Angeles to rattle quarterback Matt Stafford just like they did with Aaron Rodgers.
What to look for from the Rams:
Even though Los Angeles lost four fumbles in their divisional showdown with the Bucs, they still were able to overcome these blunders and come away with the victory in Tampa. Quarterback Matt Stafford was incredibly productive with 366 passing yards and two touchdowns, including one to Cooper Kupp. The receiver was also very productive in the last playoff game with 183 receiving yards and was able to overcome a fumble early in the game. The Rams were able to capitalize on the early Bucs mistakes and take a commanding 20-3 lead heading into halftime. If they are able to do this again, San Francisco will need to watch out.
Prediction: In the team’s prior two matchups this season, the 49ers were able to outlast Los Angeles on the road (a 27-24 win overtime) and blast them at home (31-10). However, beating a team three times in one season is incredibly hard to do so look for the Rams to finally turn the tide in L.A.
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