NFL playoffs convention championships: Bengals-Chiefs, 49ers-Eagles

There are solely 4 teams left inside the 2022 NFL season‘s playoffs as we head to the convention championship spherical. up up to now off a win over the Cowboys on Sunday evening time, the 49ers will face the Eagles — who dismantled the Giants on Saturday — inside the NFC Championship sport. And after beating the funds on Sunday, the Bengals will try to get again to the super Bowl for a second consecutive 12 months in opposition to the Chiefs inside the AFC Championship sport. Kansas metropolis held off Jacksonville on Saturday to get the divisional spherical rolling, regardless of a proper ankle damage to Patrick Mahomes.

Let’s look forward to that thrilling convention championship schedule. To get you ready for subsequent week’s slate, Brooke Pryor picked out the most important factor to look forward to in every sport, and Seth Walder explored how every group can win to advance to super Bowl LVII. Let’s get started inside the NFC.

be aware: Odds and sport strains are through Caesars Sportsbook. sport projections are through ESPN’s soccer vitality Index.

soar to:

NFC Championship sport

Sunday, Jan. 29, at three p.m. ET (Fox)

Opening line: PHI -2 (forty five.5)
FPI projection: PHI, sixty 4.4% (by 4 factors)

What to look forward to: that is the best method it was speculated to be. we have the two most dominant teams inside the NFC meeting with a go to to the super Bowl on the road. The 49ers and Eagles have not confronted every completely different this season, so it is going to be a clear slate for both side. Philadelphia has the benefit of a extra expert quarterback in Jalen Hurts, who has a terribly important supporting forged that options broad receivers DeVonta Smith and A.J. Brown, tight finish Dallas Goedert and working again Miles Sanders. however he is nonetheless recovering from a proper shoulder sprain suffered greater than a month in the past.

And whereas the 49ers are on their third starting quarterback in Brock Purdy (the 2022 draft’s Mr. Irrelevant), Kyle Shanahan’s quarterback-nice system and the 49ers’ plethora of offensive playmakers — tight finish George Kittle, broad receiver Deebo Samuel and working again Christian McCaffrey amongst them — make San Francisco’s offense loads potent even with a rookie quarterback. there might even be an out of doorways probability quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo might presumably be ready for the NFC Championship sport, too, however Purdy has helped the 49ers get this far after the veteran went down in Week thirteen with a damaged foot. Purdy, although, hasn’t confronted a protection like Philadelphia’s unit — one which held teams to a league-low 5.5 internet yards per go try and three,057 passing yards inside the common season.

in the meantime, the 49ers’ protection allowed 6.4 yards per go try and a league-low three.4 yards per carry, and it had 20 interceptions to the Eagles’ 17. In a sport so evenly matched, this one might come proper down to expertise, and whereas the 49ers had been in a glorious Bowl extra just recently than the Eagles, Hurts’ relative expertise to that of Purdy might presumably be the distinction-maker.

Why the Eagles will win: The 49ers have the one roster which will even evaluate to the Eagles, however by the use of the complete fifty three-man lineup, Philadelphia nonetheless has the sting. that is particularly evident inside the trenches. The Eagles have the superior go block win cost and go rush win cost, and Haason Reddick (17.5 sacks, postseason included) should be arrange for one extra huge day. he’ll face Mike McGlinchey, not Trent Williams. And whereas the 49ers’ offense has been principally good with Purdy on the helm, nobody’s doubting who’s the greater quarterback on this matchup. it is Hurts, and which will matter.

Why the 49ers will win: The distinctive attributes of the San Francisco offense will restrict the effectiveness of the usually dominant Eagles protection. That so a lot of the 49ers’ receiving manufacturing comes from McCaffrey, Samuel and Kittle will mitigate the influence of the glorious cornerback duo of James Bradberry (who led all corners in fewest yards per safety snap allowed, per NFL subsequent Gen Stats) and Darius Slay. And edge rusher Nick Bosa can beat Jordan Mailata, who ranked 56th out of sixty 4 in go block win cost this season.

AFC Championship sport

Sunday, Jan. 29, at 6:30 p.m. ET (CBS)

Opening line: KC -2.5 (forty nine.5)
FPI projection: KC, sixty five.2% (by 5 factors)

What to look forward to: Chiefs. Bengals. Patrick Mahomes. Joe Burrow. Arrowhead Stadium. super Bowl berth on the road. It feels barely like déjà vu, would not it? however although the circumstances are comparable, these two teams are hardly the identical teams that met a 12 months in the past for an additional time thriller whereby Cincinnati rallied from 18 factors proper down to clinch its first super Bowl journey in 33 years. collectively with the Bengals’ 27-24 win in Week thirteen, these two teams have performed thrice as a outcome of the start of the 2021 season, and Cincinnati has gained by three factors each time.

Mahomes, who’s 1-three in his profession in opposition to the Bengals, has a extreme ankle sprain (confirmed by an MRI), per ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Even with restricted mobility, he nonetheless went 22-of-30 for 195 yards and two touchdown throws inside the second half of Saturday’s divisional spherical win over the Jaguars, and he mentioned he expects to play in opposition to the Bengals. inside the December meeting between Cincinnati and Kansas metropolis, the Bengals’ protection held Mahomes to sixteen completions on 27 makes an try (223 yards and a touchdown go), his fewest completions of the season.

Burrow, in the meantime, accomplished 25 of 31 makes an try for 286 yards, two passing TDs and one speeding TD — and he turned the essential quarterback to beat Mahomes three video games in a row. Burrow acquired a huge enhance in that sport from a 106-yard speeding efficiency by working again Samaje Perine. in opposition to the funds inside the divisional spherical, Joe Mixon was the new Bengals rusher with a hundred and five yards and a touchdown. however we additionally should name out the Cincinnati protection, which held the funds to solely 10 factors and eight first-quarter yards.

Why the Chiefs will win: A banged-up Mahomes stays to be a prime-10 quarterback. sure, the damage will restrict him. however Mahomes will nonetheless have an elite go-defending line serving to him, collectively with head coach Andy Reid’s playcalling and tight finish Travis Kelce — who caught 14 passes in opposition to eight completely different defenders inside the Chiefs’ playoff victory over the Jaguars — being seemingly uncoverable proper now.

With a two-extreme-heavy protection, the Chiefs can restrict the specter of Bengals receiver Ja’Marr Chase catching deep photographs down the sideline. however the exact defensive key will seemingly be defensive deal with Chris Jones, who recorded seventy nine go rush wins inside the common season, 26 greater than every completely different defensive deal with. Can he blow up the lackluster Bengals offensive line, which ranked thirty first in go block win cost this 12 months coming into Sunday?

Why the Bengals will win: The Bengals have a bonus nobody anticipated — the greater quarterback. Burrow is superior to an injured Mahomes, and that shifts the offensive edge in the direction of Cincinnati. Chase and Tee Higgins have the benefit over the Chiefs’ corners, too. Chase recorded ninety seven receiving yards inside the Bengals’ win over Kansas metropolis in December. And in Sunday’s win over the funds, Burrow demonstrated as quickly as as quickly as extra that he can overcome his offensive line by getting the ball out quickly (2.5 seconds on common, per NFL subsequent Gen Stats).

And if the Bengals are the greater offensive group with a restricted Mahomes on the various sideline, that will give them the benefit in all three phases. The Bengals ranked ninth in EPA per play on protection earlier than shutting down Josh Allen and the funds, whereas the Chiefs are fifteenth. And Kansas metropolis has had the worst particular teams effectivity of any group this season.


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