NFL Conference Championship Predictions

Four teams remain the Cincinnati Bengals, the Kansas City Chiefs, the Philadelphia Eagles, and the San Francisco 49ers. Two teams will make it to Super Bowl 57, and the other two will be heading home for a disappointing offseason. Here are my predictions for the AFC and NFC Conference Championship games:

Cincinnati Bengals v. Kansas City Chiefs: The Bengals will be traveling to Kansas City to once again face the Chiefs in the AFC Conference Championship game. The Bengals pulled off an upset win over the Buffalo Bills this past weekend, unexpectedly winning the game in a blowout, 27-10. Maybe it’s time to recognize that the Bengals are an AFC powerhouse?! The Chiefs, on the other hand, escaped with a home win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, narrowly defeating the upstart Jags and their young star quarterback Trevor Lawrence, 27-20. The game was close mainly due to an ankle injury sustained by Chiefs MVP-caliber quarterback Patrick Mahomes. I expect the Bengals (who can no longer be treated as underdogs in any matchup this postseason) and their ferocious defense to take advantage of a less-than-full-strength version of Mahomes (who will likely lack mobility in this matchup due to the ankle issue). It won’t be pretty if Chiefs backup quarterback Chad Henne has to enter this contest. If the Chiefs can’t get their running game going during this matchup, they’ll be packing their bags for the offseason. Arrowhead Stadium is a difficult place for road teams to win football games – but the Bengals do not have any injury problems whatsoever at this point in the season, and are churning on all cylinders on both sides of the ball. I expect this game to be close, but I have the Bengals winning this game (with a “31-27” type result) and booking their plane ticket to Arizona for Super Bowl 57.

San Francisco 49ers v. Philadelphia Eagles

The 49ers will be heading to Lincoln Financial Field to face the Eagles in the NFC Conference Championship game. The 49ers won in an extremely close game against the Cowboys this past weekend – clawing out a victory 19-12. The 49ers’ 7th-round pick quarterback, Brock Purdy continued his unbelievable play and remains undefeated as the starter since Jimmy Garoppolo went down with an injury weeks ago. The Eagles beat the New York Giants in an expected blowout to take the clear path to the Conference Championship game. The Eagles essentially did whatever they wanted to against the Giants who were clearly not ready for primetime this season. The 49ers do not have any weaknesses other than perhaps quarterback Brock Purdy who, at any given moment, could make a rookie mistake or suspect decision in a crucial game to advance to the Super Bowl. The Eagles do not seem to have many weaknesses either, other than the fact that star wide receiver A.J. Brown is clearly dealing with an undisclosed injury that may affect how the offense will produce against a stellar 49ers defense. A fun fact is that Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts and Purdy have faced off in college before, with Purdy’s Iowa State team losing to Hurts and the Oklahoma Sooners 42-41 in 2019. Will Purdy get some revenge in this huge playoff matchup against the Eagles? I think so. I have the 49ers winning this game by at least a touchdown (and likely in the range of “24-10”).