The NFL’s final four is riddled with MVP-caliber quarterbacks, compelling stories and loaded rosters. Regardless of who wins these matchups on Sunday, we are in store for a memorable Super Bowl. Below you’ll find a summary of both games, along with a link to my in-depth betting previews.
San Francisco 49ers at Philadelphia Eagles
- WHERE: Lincoln Financial Field (Philadelphia)
- WHEN: 3 p.m. ET | FOX, FOX Sports
- MONEYLINE: Eagles: -145 | 49ers: +122
- SPREAD: Eagles -2.5 | O/U: 46
>> In-Depth NFC Championship Preview
This is a matchup between the league’s two most talented rosters. Trench play, in particular, has been a major advantage for both these teams all season. That isn’t the case this week, as these are strength vs. strength trench matchups on both sides of the ball. That said, Philadelphia Eagles star right tackle Lane Johnson is toughing out a groin injury. I will be curious to see how he holds up against Nick Bosa in this contest, who is the very definition of a professional pass rusher. On the other side of the ball, the San Francisco 49ers’ interior offensive line was dicey at times early in the year. They improved as the year went on and played well against the Commanders’ elite interior duo late in the regular season. That said, the Eagles led the league with 70 sacks, and no one can match their depth in the interior. I’ll have my eye on this interior matchup early in this contest.
The Eagles’ high-end wide receiver duo of A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith both have advantageous matchups. The 49ers’ secondary has struggled against wide receivers both in the slot and on the perimeter this season. Brown and Smith against the 49ers’ secondary are the biggest matchup advantages in this contest. Jalen Hurts was the MVP favorite before a late-season injury to his throwing shoulder cost him two games. Another advantage that the Eagles have is that they are better equipped to play from behind because of Hurts’ abilities as a passer and a runner.
Brock Purdy faces the toughest defense of his career for the second week in a row. If he can continue to play turnover-free football, that’s the clearest path to a 49ers victory. Expecting that again from Purdy is a big ask, and that’s the primary reason I lean towards the Eagles in this contest.
Score Prediction: Eagles 20, 49ers 16
Cincinnati Bengals at Kansas City Chiefs
- WHERE: GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium (Kansas City)
- WHEN: 6:30 p.m. ET | CBS
- MONEYLINE: Bengals: +100 | Chiefs: -120
- SPREAD: Bengals +1.0 | O/U: 47
>> In-Depth AFC Championship Preview
The AFC Championship is drenched in drama. Two of the league’s best young quarterbacks square off for the second year in a row with a trip to the big dance on the line. After suffering a high ankle sprain in the Divisional Round, Patrick Mahomes practiced fully all week and is off the injury report. This is a best-case scenario for Chiefs backers, given the circumstances. Still, keep in mind that Mahomes’ ability to extend plays and manage pressure could be negatively impacted by this injury. Additionally, an in-game setback is in the range of outcomes for this contest. Travis Kelce practiced in full on Friday, but he was a late addition to the injury report this week with a back issue.
From the Bengals’ side, they will be down their starting left tackle, right guard, and right tackle once again. Zac Taylor helped out this injury-ravaged unit with smart play-calling last week, but Buffalo also did its part by underwhelming on defense. Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo has won Super Bowls with multiple teams behind his ability to deploy effective pressure packages. Kansas City also has a premium pass rusher in Chris Jones, which is an advantage for the Chiefs in this matchup. Kansas City’s ability to take advantage of Cincinnati’s injury-reduced offensive line is one of the keys to this game.
On a baseline level, I consider Patrick Mahomes’ Chiefs against Joe Burrow’s Bengals to be a coin flip type of affair. Mahomes’ injured ankle is a negative factor for Kansas City, while the Bengals’ offensive line injuries are a negative for them. Those variables create new paths to failure for both teams. I still give the Bengals a slight edge given Mahomes’ injury, but I am less confident in that now than I was earlier in the week, especially since the emergence of the “Burrowhead” bulletin board material that the Chiefs have been given.
Score Prediction: Bengals 23, Chiefs 20
WATCH: Top Props for Championship Sunday