The drama of the NFL’s group stage playoffs – engulfed by three goals in the first leg and an overtime touchdown – won’t last through this weekend, if only because there are fewer games.
But fans needn’t have worried: The rich storylines in both games for the collegiate championship will divide viewers and deliver on-field-style clashes.
First up is Sunday’s AFC championship game, where the Cincinnati Bengals, who have entered the latter stages as the fourth seed, will attempt to prevent the Kansas City Chiefs from advancing to the team’s third consecutive Super Bowl. .
Then, in the game that follows, the star-studded Los Angeles Rams, who traded much of the team’s draft capital to build a roster capable of competing in the Super Bowl at their home stadium, will tested by the San Francisco 49ers, the lowest remaining seed and an NFC West division competitor.
Here is an overview of Conference Championship Weekend, with all the selections exercised against the spread.
Last week’s record: 1-3
All time is in the East
4 Cincinnati Bengals at 2 Kansas City, 3 p.m., CBS
Route: Kansas City -7 | Total: 54.5
In just his second season, the Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow led a franchise in their first league title win since the 1988 season. Much of that success was fueled by the connection of the team. him with rookie receiver Ja’Marr Chase, as well as a group of skill position players. That group includes re-run Joe Mixon, who in his fifth season in Cincinnati delivered career-high numbers in yards (1,205), grounding (13) and carrying (292) to help. removes some offensive payload from Burrow, who has had the league’s most-fired midfielder in 2021.
That’s why the Bengals’ comfort could end up at Arrowhead Stadium, where Kansas City has hosted a record four consecutive AFC championships. The dominance of the team and the home crowd makes the venue a difficult place to play and as Mahomes showed last week before the Bills visited, it’s a place where a game can happen in as little as 13 seconds.
But the Bengals have thrived this season by keeping the matches close together – Cincinnati lost just one by over 7 points – and then either getting Burrow to find a player or get a stop in time or move away from its defence. Burrow, like Josh Allen, has the ability to throw in with Mahomes, and a penalty shootout would make for a safer bet, especially since it’s unclear if Tyrann Mathieu will play at Kansas City’s Pro Bowl on Sunday. day after he left last week’s game of the week against the Bills with a concussion. Pick: Bengals +7
6 San Francisco 49ers at 3 Los Angeles Rams, 6:30 pm, Fox
Line: Rams -3 | Total: 46.5
For all the talk of the Matthew Stafford deal and the Rams’ acquisition of defensive back Jalen Ramsey, full-back Von Miller and recipient Odell Beckham Jr en route to a title, team success on Sunday will depend on whether Coach Sean McVay can deploy those players to do something he has yet to accomplish in his previous six attempts: beat Kyle Shanahan and his 49ers.
McVay and Kyle Shanahan were Mike Shanahan’s assistants on Washington’s 2013 team (along with Packers Head Coach Matt LaFleur) and, as divisional opponents, were very familiar with each other’s game plans. But Kyle Shanahan had the upper hand as the 49ers’ formation completely countered the Rams’ pass led by Aaron Donald by combining fitness runs with complex pre-snap motion, play hide and seek effectively with the defense. Short throws through the center helped Ramsey dodge.
Shanahan looks forward to a key cog in turning all of that offensive tactic a success, the multipurpose receiver Deebo Samuel, which will practice and compete this week after he put his helmet on his right leg in beat the Packers last week. Less certain is whether Trent Williams (ankle sprain) is capable of handling the left ball, and his absence could be a significant blow to the 49ers’ efforts to stop Donald. and Miller.
Los Angeles looks forward to returning to its original left tackle, Andrew Whitworth (knee, ankle), as well as the safety of Taylor Rapp (concussion) – and is further motivated by a desire to get revenge for having 14 points at half-time against San Francisco in its final game of the regular season, a tumultuous game that allowed the 49ers to move through the post-season. However, Shanahan still has the number of Rams. Pick: 49ers +3
How betting lines work
A quick tip for those unfamiliar with the betting lines: Favorites are listed next to a negative number representing the number of points they must win to cover the difference. For example, the Raiders -5.5 means that Las Vegas must beat Chicago by at least 6 points for their supporters to win the bet. Gamblers can also bet on the total score or see whether the total score of the teams in the game is higher or lower than a pre-selected number of points.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/27/sports/football/nfl-conference-championship-picks.html NFL Conference Championship Picks Against Contagion