NFL Playoffs 2020: Schedule and Predictions for Conference Championships

Jake RillSenior Analyst IJanuary 13, 2020

San Francisco 49ers running back Tevin Coleman (26) celebrates with teammates after scoring a touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings during the first half of an NFL divisional playoff football game, Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Ben Margot/Associated Press

The field is set for the NFL's conference championship weekend.

The winner of Super Bowl LIV will be one of four teams: the San Francisco 49ers, Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs or Tennessee Titans. But first, conference championship showdowns stand between these teams and the biggest game of the season.

On Sunday, the Chiefs and Titans will play for the AFC Championship in Kansas City, and then the 49ers and Packers will face off for the NFC title in San Francisco. The winners will advance to Super Bowl LIV on Feb. 2 in Miami.

Here's a look at the schedule for conference championship weekend, followed by predictions for both games.

                 

Conference Championship Schedule

AFC Championship Game

No. 6 Tennessee Titans at No. 2 Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday at 3:05 p.m. ET on CBS

           

NFC Championship Game

No. 2 Green Bay Packers at No. 1 San Francisco 49ers, Sunday at 6:40 p.m. ET on Fox

           

Conference Championship Predictions

Chiefs over Titans

The magic of the Titans' incredible postseason run is about to end.

Not many people expected Tennessee to upset both New England and Baltimore on the road to reach its first AFC Championship Game since the 2002 season. Yet that's exactly what the Titans have done to get to this point, where they'll now try to also upset the Chiefs in Kansas City.

However, that's not going to happen. The Chiefs showed they can handle adversity on Sunday, as they overcame a 24-point deficit to lead by halftime and roll to a 51-31 win over the Texans in the divisional round.

If Tennessee gets off to a fast start, as it did in Baltimore on Saturday night, Kansas City is better equipped to weather the storm and battle back than the Ravens were. Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes was the key reason for the comeback versus the Texans, as he threw four second-quarter touchdown passes and finished the day with five touchdowns.

It's going to be a close game, as the Titans have proved they're capable of competing with the AFC's best teams. And running back Derrick Henry has taken his game to another level, after rushing for 182 and 195 yards in Tennessee's two playoff wins.

But the Chiefs will match the Titans offensively and score a key late touchdown to seal the victory, avenge their Week 10 loss to Tennessee and advance to the Super Bowl for the first time since the 1969 season.

              

49ers over Packers

Just as in Week 12 of the regular season, the 49ers are going to beat the Packers in San Francisco. But don't expect a game like that one.

In that previous matchup, San Francisco rolled to a dominant 37-8 victory in which it held Green Bay to 198 total yards. It was a completely one-sided contest, one that proved the 49ers were one of the NFC's top teams and a legitimate Super Bowl contender.

This time, the Packers should play a more competitive game. Aaron Rodgers is trying to guide Green Bay to the Super Bowl title for the second time in his illustrious career, and it hasn't lost a game since that defeat at San Francisco.

But the 49ers are still the better team, and they're going to continue to rely on their strong defense and potent rushing attack to get back to the Super Bowl for the first time since the 2012 season. That's how they beat the Vikings in the divisional round, holding Minnesota to 147 total yards and running for 186 yards and two touchdowns on offense.

San Francisco has a lot of players who have never been to the postseason before this year and are hungry for success, along with some veteran leaders such as wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders and cornerback Richard Sherman. It's a nice mix that should guide it to another postseason win.

The 49ers will shut down the Packers early, and by the time Green Bay gets its offense going, it will be too late, as San Francisco will hold on to win the NFC title.

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