While the divisional games were a mix of dominating wins and close games, the NFL conference championship round has interesting matchups that are too close to call.
Divisional Round Recap
Dallas Cowboys 12 – 19 San Francisco 49ers
These historic rivals faced off once again in a tough matchup. The first half was a defensive battle. The Niners’ defense forced two interceptions from QB Dak Prescott while the Cowboys’ defense rattled rookie QB Brock Purdy. In the second half, the tide turned. Niners TE George Kittle and RBs Christian McCaffrey and Elijah Mitchell made big plays for the offense to take the lead and drain some time to secure the win.
New York Giants 7 – 38 Philadelphia Eagles
In the NFL, it’s hard to beat the same team three times, let alone a division rival. The Philadelphia Eagles proved that saying wrong this past weekend as they steamrolled the New York Giants. Starting QB Daniel Jones and RB Saquon Barkley were ineffective against the Eagles’ defense. Eagles QB and MVP hopeful Jalen Hurts finished the game with 154 passing yards, 34 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Meanwhile, RBs Kenneth Gainwell and Miles Sanders combined for 202 yards on the ground.
Cincinnati Bengals 27 – 10 Buffalo Bills
The AFC was stacked this season, causing the Bengals to become an afterthought to many. The team must have been aware of that since they came into this game and dominated the AFC favorites. Bills star QB Josh Allen was overwhelmed by the Bengals’ defense and wasn’t able to connect with his number one WR Stefon Diggs. Bengals QB Joe Burrow led his offense with 242 passing yards and two touchdowns.
Jacksonville Jaguars 20 – 27 Kansas City Chiefs
The Jacksonville Jaguars were the Cinderella story of this year’s playoffs, but it came to an end. The Jaguars kept it competitive all the way until the fourth quarter. The Jaguars were unable to stop the Chiefs’ dynamic offense and a fumble late in the game was the ultimate reason why the Chiefs walked away with the win. Despite missing some time with a leg injury, Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes threw for 195 yards along with two touchdowns while Chiefs TE Travis Kelce finished with 98 receiving yards and two touchdowns
Conference Championship Predictions
Kansas City Chiefs vs Cincinnati Bengals
With the Bengals playing with the same underdog mentality they led them to their last Super Bowl appearance, it’s hard to bet against them. Chiefs head coach Andy Reid and QB Mahomes have carried the team this far without a defensive presence but it won’t be enough to beat a complete team like the Bengals.
Score prediction: Bengals 30, Chiefs 20.
San Francisco 49ers vs Philadelphia Eagles
Despite losing the game, the Cowboys showed the blueprint on how to beat the Niners: stop the run, pressure Purdy and force conservative play calls. The Eagles will be the second elite defense that Purdy will face and it’s better than the Cowboys. With McCaffrey dealing with a calf injury, it’s one less offensive weapon Purdy has. It will be a close one, but the Eagles can edge out the win with better QB play and swarming defense.
Score prediction: Eagles 20, 49ers 13