The NFL Conference Championship Round give Season 2021 stacked up and we’ve got you covered with what you need to know about Sunday’s NFC and AFC championship. Our NFL Nation reporters bring us the most important keys to both games, a cheeky prediction for each and, of course, the overall score. pick.
Plus, ESPN Stats & Info provides a great stat to know and Betting nugget for each contest and ours Football Power Stats (FPI) goes inside the numbers with matching ratings (on a scale of 1 to 100) and game predictions. Matt Bowen picks one key match to watch for both matches and Kevin Seifert tells us what we need to know about the official match. Everything you should know is here to get you ready for a full two-game weekend NFL football playoff.
First, the Bengals head to Kansas City to face the Chiefs – an offensive confrontation between Patrick Mahomes and Joe Burrow. Then it’s NFC West’s foes going head-to-head in the second game, with the 49ers taking on the Rams for the third time this season. And remember: The winners are Super Bowl LVI.
Sunday, 3 p.m. ET | CBS
Match Rating: 73.0 | Spread: KC -7.5 (54.5)
What to see: Bengals receiver Ja’Marr Chase beat the captains in the December meeting between these teams, catching 11 passes for 266 yards received and three touchdowns. The Chiefs certainly won’t allow that to happen again, but at the cost? They mainly take away the Buffalo receiver Stefan Diggs‘the impact last week on the Bills, but then Gabriel Davis Had a great game. And Cincinnati has a receiver Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd – plus rerun Joe Mixon – with Chase. Sheriff Steve Spagnuolo’s Defensive Coordinator The plans in this regard are huge. – Adam Teicher
Bold Predictions: Head Midfielder Patrick Mahomes will throw at least 390 yards. Kansas City built on a hit in the second half of its first game against Cincinnati, which resulted in a quiet game from Mahomes. But don’t be surprised if the AFC defending champions look for more explosive plays in the passing game this time around and get their revenge against the Bengals. Mahomes has had 782 crosses and eight touchdown passes in two playoffs this season. – Ben Baby
Data you need to know: According to the Elias Sports Bureau, midfielder Cincinnati Joe Burrow was the sixth player to enter the conference championship game with over 50 sacks – and the easiest 62 sacks. The previous five QBs had all failed to make it to the Super Bowl, and four of them saw their team fail to score a goal in that congress title game. However, Burrow is also the fifth player in the past 30 seasons to reach the conference championship game while also leading the NFL in both completion rate and yards per attempt (including the playoffs). And these are not easy completions. Second-year QB has the best NFL completion percentage compared to expectations, according to NFL Next Gen Stats.
Bowen’s Game Plan Keys: The chiefs need to heat the Burrow in the pocket, and the paver outside Melvin Ingram III may play an important role. Expect Kansas City to line him up and get him some one-on-one matches. Read more on E +.
Seifert’s official outlook: Referee Bill Vinovich’s regular team (teams change in the knockout stages) annually throws the fewest flags of the NFL’s 17 teams, and this season is no exception. His crew averaged 10.9 flags per game, 34% less than the crew called the most (Carl Cheffers, 16.6). He will preside over a game that will feature the NFL’s least penalized team (Bengals, 84) and the ninth most penalized team (Captain, 129). Vinovich was the only umpire in the NFL who didn’t call a passerby foul during the regular season, and his regular-season team threw the third few flags for holding (34).
Nugget betting: The Bengals have included six straight and four straight. They are also rated as the under 5-1 team this season. But Kansas City has had six straight home games and is 7-1 by the margin of the past eight with teams with a winning record. Read more on E +.
Baby’s Choice: Chiefs 31, Bengals 21
Teicher’s Pick: Chiefs 34, Bengals 24
FPI prediction: KC, 69.6% (mean 6.7 points)
Sunday, 6:30 p.m. ET | fox
Match Rating: 84.8 | Spread: LAR -3.5 (45.5)
What to see: The 49ers have won six straight games against division Rams, including a 17-point win from behind in Week 18 to secure a playoff spot. Niners Brings All-Pro Receiver Deebo Samuel and tight ending George Kittlewho have led a resilient, enduring brand of football, while the Rams have a knack for scoring quick goals in explosive runs behind defenders. Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp, the NFL’s flagship receiver. As for what the Rams must do to finally get the best of the Niners and advance to Super Bowl LVI? “We don’t need to reinvent the wheel here,” says Kupp. “It’s just doing our job and treating this as a new week.” – Lindsey Thiry
Bold Predictions: San Francisco Midfielder Jimmy Garoppolo will throw three passes to the ground. He is yet to score in these playoffs and has only two touchdowns and five interceptions, in his five playoff starts. But Garoppolo has a good history against the Rams – he has a Total QBR 71.7 and won all six starts against them – and the Rams still have questions in the middle of their defence, allowing for a 77 completion rate. % and 7.9 yards per throw attempt inside the numbers this season. Motivated by a vigorous running game, the unsavory Garoppolo will take to the big stage. – Nick Wagoner
Data you need to know: Mid-season acquisitions are key for the Rams. Since joining Los Angeles in Week 10, recipients Odell Beckham Jr. finished second on the team in receptions (37) and have lost in six of the 10 games played. He has also caught 10 of 12 goals after this season. And outside the linebacker Von Miller scored at least one dismissal in six straight games, tying the longest streak of his career (the other three, most recently in 2018). The opposing midfielders posted a total of 2.3 QBR as both Miller and the defense blocked Aaron Donald rush passersby after this season.
Bowen’s Game Plan Keys: Beware of pedestrians Fred Warner played a role as a blitzer in the Niners’ five-man inclined front. San Francisco has won more than a quarter of the Rams’ third down games in their Week 18 win this season. Read more on E +.
Seifert’s official outlook: The regular-season team of referee Carl Cheffers leads the NFL with 16.6 flags thrown per game, but these two teams rank among the 14 least penalized teams in the league. The Rams saw 92 flags and the 49ers saw 117. During the regular season, the Cheffers threw 10 flags to hit a rough passer, finishing sixth in sixth in the NFL and 61 for holding offensive flags, the second most in the game. tournament – although he will have another crew on Sunday.
Nugget betting: Los Angeles is 6-2 to the odds in the past eight games, but San Francisco is 9-2 to the odds in the past 11 games – with four consecutive covers. Plus, the 49ers are 4-1 in the playoffs under coach Kyle Shanahan. Read more on E +.
Wagoner’s pick: 49ers 30, Rams 23
Thiry’s Pick: Rams 28, 49ers 24
FPI prediction: LAR, 59.5% (mean 3.1 points)
Matchup must read: Has Garoppolo reshaped his NFL future? … Beckham Jr. help Rams boost production, good feelings … Trash chatter, ticket freezes, and rivalry reborn: Rams and 49ers meet for NFC title … McVay: Whitworth, Rapp is on track for a comeback … 49 people on standby and watch with Williams injury … From ‘game favorite’ to Rams: Inside the Stafford-Kupp pass winner