Strap in. It’s almost time for what may go down as one of the greatest championship weekends in recent memory.
Two of the most hostile environments in sports will be hosting the NFC and AFC championship games, but both visiting teams are riding high.
Both games at Lincoln Financial Field and Arrowhead Stadium are going to be dogfights with a trip to Super Bowl LVII in Glendale, Arizona, on the line.
Here’s a look at each conference championship.
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San Francisco 49ers @ Philadelphia Eagles – 3 p.m. ET, FOX – FOXBet Odds: Eagles -2.5
The Niners have won 12 straight, and Brock Purdy has been the quarterback in the last eight. The last pick of the last NFL Draft is now just one win away from a Super Bowl appearance.
The Niners are a well-oiled machine. They dominated the Seattle Seahawks in the wild-card round and took down the Dallas Cowboys in the divisional round. Christian McCaffrey has scored in both playoff games, and Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuka and George Kittle are dangerous weapons.
Oh, and they also have the likely Defensive Player of the Year in Joey Bosa, who wreaks havoc no matter who’s in front of him.
However, the Philadelphia Eagles looked every bit of their 14-3 regular season record when they waxed the New York Giants, 38-7, in the divisional round. Jalen Hurts was the front-runner to win the MVP before going down with an injury, and it’s clear the Eagles go as he goes. Including last week, Philly is 13-1 with Hurts under center this season.
The receiving duo of A.J. Brown and Devonta Smith is a nightmare for the suspect San Fran secondary, and the Eagles’ defense had the most sacks, by far, in the league this season.
If Hurts’ arm isn’t right, he’ll have no problem getting it done with his legs.
The Eagles won the Super Bowl five years ago. San Fran has made it to the NFC title game in each of their playoff appearances since the 2011 season. Despite winning two of them, their last Super Bowl win was in 1995.
Cincinnati Bengals @ Kansas City Chiefs – 6:30 p.m. ET, CBS – FOXBet Odds: Chiefs -1.5
The Bengals are talking the talk and have been walking the walk for two seasons. Joe Burrow is 3-0 against Patrick Mahomes, one of those wins coming in last year’s AFC championship game. If you ask anyone in Cincinnati, this year’s game is at “Burrowhead Stadium.”
Much like last year, the Bengals are getting it done with a suspect offensive line. This time, however, it’s due to myriad injuries to starters. But Burrow again is unfazed. How could he not be? He gets to throw it to Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd and Hayden Hurst, while Joe Mixon does the dirty work on the ground.
Cincinnati was less than 90 seconds away from winning a ring last year, and there seemed to be a hangover early in the season. They lost three of their first five games, including each of their first two. But, since Week 6, they are 12-1 and haven’t lost since Week 8.
CINCINNATI MAYOR RIPS PATRICK MAHOMES IN PROCLAMATION, JOKES JOE BURROW IS MAHOMES’ FATHER AHEAD OF TITLE GAME
But these are still the Chiefs. This is still Patrick Mahomes. He still has Travis Kelce. Their head coach is still Andy Reid. This is their fifth straight AFC title game, so it’s all familiar territory.
Kansas City lost Tyreek Hill in the offseason, yet Mahomes still managed to set the NFL record for total yards in a season.
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However, that was before he sprained his ankle pretty badly last Sunday. Mahomes reportedly suffered a high ankle sprain, but he returned to the game after missing a couple drives.
He was a full participant in practice all week, so excuses are out the window. But if the Chiefs want to win their second Super Bowl since the 2019 season, they’ll need to get past the recent thorn in their side.