It’s the Conference Championship round, ladies and gentlemen. All remaining teams are a win away from going to Super Bowl 56. In the NFC, the San Francisco 49ers and the Los Angeles Rams will square off at SoFi Stadium, while the AFC will determine its champion when the Kansas City Chiefs host the Cincinnati Bengals at Arrowhead Stadium.
Picks and Predictions for the AFC/ NFC Conference Championship Games for the 2021-22 NFL Playoffs
Cincinnati Bengals (+7) vs Kansas City Chiefs (-7): Sunday, Jan 30 (3:00 PM EST)
The Bengals are making some sort of a Cinderella run in the 2022 NFL Playoffs. After taking care of business in the Wild Card Round by defeating the Las Vegas Raiders, Cincinnati somehow found a way to steal a 19-16 win on the road in the Divisional Round against the conference’s No. 1 seed in the form of the Tennessee Titans. And the Bengals pulled off that win against Tennessee despite allowing quarterback Joe Burrow to get sacked a total of nine times. Cincinnati definitely feels it’s not done yet. Plus, the Bengals are confident they can beat Kansas City since they have already done that in the regular season. Cincinnati beat the Chiefs at home in Week 17, 34-31, with Burrow unloading 446 passing yards and four touchdowns with zero interceptions.
Mahomes and the Chiefs, meanwhile, are proving to be an unstoppable force again. When the Chiefs are on, there’s really not much the opposing team can do to beat them, as the Buffalo Bills found out last Sunday. The Chiefs beat Buffalo on a clutch touchdown pass by Mahomes to Tyreek Hill to give Kansas City a 42-36 win in overtime. In two games in the playoffs, Mahomes has already thrown for eight touchdowns against just a single interception. It surely makes his life a whole lot easier with targets like Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce, who’s racked up 207 and 204 receiving yards, respectively, in the postseason. Meanwhile, Byron Pringle has emerged as another tremendous weapon for Mahomes, as the wide receiver leads the Chiefs in the playoffs with three touchdown receptions.
The Chiefs win, 28-24.
San Francisco 49ers (+3.5) vs Los Angeles Rams (-3.5): Sunday, Jan 30 (6:30 PM EST)
The 49ers are feeling it. And how can they not? They just left Lambeau Field with an improbable 13-10 win against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. Before that, the Niners eliminated NFC East champions Dallas Cowboys in a 23-17 win in Arlington. Jimmy Garoppolo has even yet to record a passing touchdown in the playoffs, but thanks to San Francisco’s defense and a robust rushing attack, the team finds itself on a collision course with NFC West nemesis, Los Angeles. The 49ers have already defeated the Rams twice this season.
That being said, the Rams have also looked awesome of late. They have scored 64 points in just two games in the postseason. And last Sunday, they sent Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers out of Super Bowl contention in a 30-27 road win. Matthew Stafford is driving the success of the Rams, as he’s completing 74.5 percent of his passes and has passed for four touchdowns with zero interceptions in the playoffs, so far. The 49ers sure have gotten the better of LA in the regular season, but it’s the Rams who are playing better on both ends of the field since the end of the regular season.
The Rams win, 27-20.
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