After a tremendous divisional round weekend where all four games were decided on the final play, NFL Conference Title weekend is here. Both games this Sunday are rematches from late in the regular season, in which both were also great games. It is fair to expect that in each of these games as well. Let’s take a look at the key factors in the AFC and NFC Championship games.
Cincinnati Bengals at Kansas City Chiefs
The Bengals have had an incredible season and won a big upset last week. Joe Burrow gives his team a chance every week. Anticipate Ja’Marr Chase being featured. The Chiefs could look to key in on him though. Establishing the running game with Joe Mixon will be important. Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd, and C.J. Uzomah have all got to make the most of their opportunities. A key aspect for the Bengals will be their offensive line which has got to be better for Burrow and Mixon. For the Chiefs’ defense, generating pressure upfront and eliminating big plays will be critical.
For the Chiefs offense, continued success from Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, Mecole Hardman, and Travis Kelce in the passing game will be needed. Contributions on the ground from Clyde Edwards-Helaire would help. In the trenches, the Chiefs’ offensive line against the Bengals defensive line could make for a fun battle. The Bengals talented secondary in Jessie Bates, Chidobe Awuzie, and Mike Hilton have got to slow down the big plays and make some impact plays themselves. This game will go down to the wire with a Chiefs win by a field goal.
San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Rams
These division rivals should make for another great one led by Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay. For the 49ers offense, controlling things with their running game led by Elijah Mitchell, Deebo Samuel, Kyle Juszczyk and their physical offensive line will be important. The Rams’ talented defensive front led by Aaron Donald, Von Miller, and Leonard Floyd will make things tough. Jimmy Garoppolo has to limit the mistakes. Samuel and Jalen Ramsey will make for a great matchup. Brandon Aiyuk, Jauan Jennings, and George Kittle should all have chances as well.
For the Rams offense, big plays from Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp against the 49ers’ secondary will be needed. It will be interesting to see how the 49ers match up with Kupp. Odell Beckham Jr. should have another productive game. Ball security from Cam Akers will be crucial. Van Jefferson and Tyler Higbee should get some targets. The 49ers’ defensive line led by Nick Bosa and Arik Armstead will have to continue their dominant play and should. Impact plays from Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw would go a long way for the 49ers. This game will also go down to the end with a Rams win by a field goal.
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