Welcome to Championship Sunday! Before you put a dent in your couch for the next seven hours, please enjoy my preview of today’s games.
|Kansas City Chiefs||Philadelphia Eagles|
|San Francisco 49ers|
San Francisco 49ers (2) at Philadelphia Eagles (1)
The 49ers proved last week what we already knew – their defence can win them games. They are going to need that defence to come up big for them against the Eagles.
I just quickly looked through the 49ers schedule this season and couldn’t really find a game in which they faced a QB with the scrambling ability of Hurts. That doesn’t mean they can’t, or won’t, stop him. It just means they haven’t seen someone like him this year.
Brock Purdy didn’t have a big game against the Cowboys last week, but he did enough. I am struggling to believe that a similar performance this week will be enough to beat the Eagles. His offensive weapons are elite and if he gets the ball to them quickly, then it’s in their hands to make plays.
That is the goal of their offence. Let Purdy do less. If the Eagles force Purdy to do more, we are going to find out once and for all what he can do. Will he rise to the challenge and take down one of the best defences in the league? Or will he finally play the role of “last pick in the draft” that people have been waiting for?
I expect the fans to be all over Purdy, but will it phase him? Probably not. Everything he’s shown so far is that nothing is too much for him. The Philly fans will try to break him; let’s see if they succeed.
Anything can happen. That is why they play the games. That is why we watch.
As for the Eagles, Jalen Hurts became an MVP-candidate and a superstar this season. A playoff win against the Giants is all well and good, but it’s the Giants. If he loses to the 49ers, he’ll still be a superstar, but we both know that the discourse around him will slowly become, “Can he beat good teams in the playoffs?”
Let’s just nip that in the bud before it can bloom and take down the 49ers today. He has the ability. He has a great supporting cast around him. He has the defence behind him. He has the home field advantage. Come on, Jalen. One win and you’re in the Super Bowl.
Personally, I like both teams and wouldn’t mind either of them in the Super Bowl. Both would be great stories.
Prediction: Eagles win, 24-17
Cincinnati Bengals (3) at Kansas City Chiefs (1)
All roads lead to Arrowhead, or if you’re the Bengals – Burrowhead.
There is a part of me that feels like we’re all going to be thinking the same thing on February 13 – the day after the Super Bowl. It’s, “Of course the Bengals won the Super Bowl. They were the best, most complete team. We should’ve seen it coming.”
We’ll see, though. There are three games left on the NFL schedule and the Bengals have to win two of them. They aren’t lacking confidence, that’s for sure.
Joe Burrow is 3-0 against the Chiefs and boy oh boy, the Bengals are letting all of us know they are not afraid to poke the bear. They are not afraid of the Chiefs, Arrowhead, Mahomes – nothing.
In most cases in sport, I would say their ego is getting too big and they are setting themselves up for failure, but not in this case. I think the Bengals thrive off of this mentality. Heck, they were salty immediately following last week’s game, telling people they hope they get a refund for purchasing tickets to the neutral site game in Atlanta.
I think they’ve been out to prove a point since losing the Super Bowl last year and we’re finally seeing all of it come out.
As for the Chiefs, we got Zapruder film shots of Patrick Mahomes and his right ankle this week. By all accounts, he’s feeling better than last week. That’s great. He’s going to need that ankle to elude everything the Bengals are going to send at him.
The Chiefs defence will give up points. Their offence needs to keep up and they are capable of that. We’ve seen it over and over and over again.
So what does this game come down to?
I don’t know.
My best guess is it’s going to come down to a battle in the trenches, specifically the battle between the Bengals offensive line and the Chiefs defensive line. A “key to victory” for the Chiefs will be Chris Jones, George Karlaftis, et al. gaining the upper hand over a Bengals o-line that will be without at least a couple of starters.
Put pressure on Joe Burrow and don’t let him play pitch and catch with his great receivers.
On the other side, the Chiefs have to keep Mahomes safe. He is precious cargo. Handle with care.
I’m curious to see – and hear – what the crowd is going to be like after an entire week of being referred to as Burrowhead. Surely, every Chiefs fan is going to be screaming for 3 hours straight, right? If the place goes quiet at all, the Bengals sideline is going to be so proud of themselves. It’s a game within the game.
I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of Bengals fans made the trip. They seemed to have a large presence in Orchard Park last week.
As I get to my game prediction, I am legally obligated to remind all of you that I am a Chiefs fan. Therefore, the rule against bias do not apply to me.
I want the Chiefs to win, but I’m also cognizant of the fact that the Bengals are their kryptonite.
I have to pick my team.
Prediction: Chiefs win, 30-27
Enjoy the games! Who do you think is going to the Super Bowl?
I’ve been on the Bengals bandwagon all season. Really since the end of last season. Burrow is so good, and he’s got 2, maybe even 3 receivers who would be the #1 guy on a lot of teams.
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He’s so smooth. Maybe not as flashy as a Mahomes, but he doesn’t need to be. I remember before the season a bunch of fantasy football analysts were saying to fade him in drafts because they thought he’d regress. I’m thinking…no, he’s ascending to superstardom.
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