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Put It On The Line: Conference Championship Offensive Line Rankings

To rank the playoff team’s offensive line play, I watched film with an emphasis on recent games against quality opponents (other playoff teams). Minor adjustments were then made based on SIS data. All rankings assume players who are questionable will play.

Some teams only moved up because other teams were eliminated. That’s why I’ve provided detailed thoughts on what we learned from this past weekend, so there’s no doubt where I stand on the quality of these offensive lines.

4. Cincinnati Bengals (Last week: 8)

LT: D’Ante Smith

LG: Cordell Volson

C: Ted Karras

RG: Max Scharping

RT: Hakeem Adeniji

What We Thought: The Bengals' offensive line came together as the season progressed but were forced to start backups last week after injuries to Alex Cappa and Jonah Williams. Cincinnati's line regressing felt inevitable.

What We Learned: I expected the Bengals' offensive line to have a tough time against the Bills' front seven in the Divisional Round, but if anything it was the Bills' defensive front that was outmanned. It was an impressive performance from a ragtag group. They played a physical brand of football in the snow to help get Cincinnati to its second straight AFC Championship Game.

They moved bodies in the run game to let their runners get downhill, and while protection wasn’t perfect, Joe Burrow was given time against the Bills' four-man rush. I’m not going to overreact to one week and catapult them into the third spot. However, if we’re only looking at the Divisional Round, this unit had a stronger weekend than the one they’re ranked just behind.

3. Kansas City Chiefs (Last week: 4)

LT: Orlando Brown Jr.

LG: Joe Thuney

C: Creed Humphrey

RG: Trey Smith

RT: Andrew Wylie

What We Thought: The Chiefs give their franchise signal caller time to throw the ball from the pocket and make the improvisation throws he's known for. Their offensive line can successfully run the ball, especially in the 4-minute drill to ice games.

What We Learned: I liked Jacksonville's defensive front, and they gave Kansas City fits last weekend. Patrick Mahomes constantly found himself under pressure. Mahomes' ankle injury was suffered on a play where Arden Key beat his man and got home to the quarterback. Mahomes is still expected to play this weekend.

The offensive line hit some big plays in the running game, but it was inconsistent due to not generating consistent movement. It was not the Chiefs' best outing, but their body of work is just enough to stay in third place. 

2. San Francisco 49ers (Last week: 2)

LT: Trent Williams

LG: Aaron Banks

C: Jake Brendel

RG: Spencer Burford

RT: Mike McGlinchey

What We Thought: The 49ers are athletic and create creases for their dynamic ball carriers to explode through. This gives them one-on-one opportunities usually favoring the 49ers' ball carriers.

What We Learned: The 49ers had a tough task against a strong Dallas group last week, and it showed. Brock Purdy's pocket presence was tested more than usual, and Dallas often knocked them into the backfield in the running game. San Francisco didn’t back down from the challenge and helped generate enough timely plays to win.

Relative to the standard they’ve set for themselves, this was a tough outing against a tough opponent. However, they did enough to maintain the second spot in these rankings.

1. Philadelphia Eagles (Last week: 1)

LT: Jordan Mailata

LG: Landon Dickerson

C: Jason Kelce

RG: Isaac Seumalo

RT: Lane Johnson

What We Thought: The Eagles have an athletic, physical line capable of making any block asked of them and finishing with attitude.

What We Learned: Philadelphia continued to impress against the Giants' front, which included Dexter Lawrence, who was playing as well as any interior defensive lineman in the playoffs this side of Chris Jones. The Eagles beat New York in a number of ways, including getting pullers in front of ball carriers, generating movement on combo blocks and they gave Jalen Hurts lanes to throw and run through.

They demonstrated the ability to win the game no matter the terms of engagement. Thus, they remain the top team in my rankings.

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