Super Bowl 2022: Updated Odds and Predictions Ahead of AFC, NFC Championships
And then there were four.
An upset-filled, dramatic divisional round cut the field of NFL teams pursuing Super Bowl LVI down to its final quartet.
The Cincinnati Bengals, San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Rams all scored their upset victories by way of walk-off field goals. And while the Kansas City Chiefs held serve as the lone No. 1 seed to advance, they needed overtime to knock off the Buffalo Bills.
After a wild weekend of playoff football, it's time to reset the remaining field by examining the updated Super Bowl odds and predicting how the two upcoming conference championships will play out.
Super Bowl LVI Odds
Kansas City Chiefs +120 (bet $100 to win $120)
Los Angeles Rams +200
San Francisco 49ers +450
Cincinnati Bengals +800
All odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook
AFC Championship Preview, Prediction
Who: Bengals vs. Chiefs
When: Sunday, Jan. 30, at 3 p.m. ET
Where: Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City
Latest Line: Chiefs -7
The Chiefs and Bengals couldn't have more different backgrounds. While Kansas City is hosting its fourth consecutive AFC Championship Game, Cincinnati has advanced further than it had gone since 1988, securing this trip with the franchise's first road playoff win ever.
Throw the histories out, though, and there are similarities between them. Each has an elite quarterback in the Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes and the Bengals' Joe Burrow. Both have explosive playmakers on the outside, including Kansas City's tandem of tight end Travis Kelce and speedy wideout Tyreek Hill and Cincinnati's trio of receivers Ja'Marr Chase and Tee Higgins and all-purpose running back Joe Mixon.
Neither boasts a particularly stingy defense, though, as evidenced by the 65 points the two teams combined for in the Bengals' 34-31 home victory over the Chiefs in Week 17. Burrow went absolutely bananas in that game, throwing for 446 yards and four scores.
Fireworks are inevitable here, and the Bengals have already shown they have the weaponry to keep pace with their counterparts. Still, it's hard to side with anyone other than Mahomes in this setting, considering he can dismantle a defense with both machine-like precision and improvisational skills that could make world-class jazz musicians envious.
Mahomes has powered his team to two consecutive Super Bowl trips. Look for him to make it three straight on Sunday.
Prediction: Chiefs 34, Bengals 30
NFC Championship Preview, Prediction
Who: 49ers vs. Rams
When: Sunday, Jan. 30, at 6:30 p.m. ET
Where: SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles
Latest Line: Chiefs -3.5
This is meeting No. 3 between the NFC West rival Rams and 49ers, and Los Angeles can only hope history doesn't repeat itself. The 49ers swept the season series 2-0, opening with a 31-10 rout in Week 10 and rallying for a 27-24 overtime victory in Week 18, a game in which the Rams took a 17-3 advantage into halftime.
That's now six consecutive victories for Kyle Shanahan's 49ers over Sean McVay's Rams.
Does San Francisco simply own this matchup? Or will L.A. finally exact its revenge? The answer will first be decided by the play of quarterbacks Matthew Stafford and Jimmy Garoppolo, who have won a ton of games this season but are also both prone to making mistakes. Stafford tied for the league lead with 17 interceptions this season (four of them coming against the 49ers), while Garoppolo, a lower volume passer, threw a dozen of his own (including two against the Rams).
The quarterbacks have playmakers—Cooper Kupp and Odell Beckham Jr. for Stafford, Deebo Samuel and George Kittle for Garoppolo—but they must feed them and not the opponents to take advantage.
Each figures to face significant pressure Sunday, too. The Rams boast a trio of dominant pass-rushers in Aaron Donald, Von Miller and Leonard Floyd, while the 49ers counter with Nick Bosa and Arik Armstead. Containing either group is challenging for a full-strength line, but both L.A. (Andrew Whitworth, knee) and San Francisco (Trent Williams, ankle) have injury issues worth monitoring closely.
This figures to be the lower scoring of the two title games, and that could favor the 49ers given their ground-and-pound approach. Their 8-3 record in road games this season puts another feather in their cap.
Prediction: 49ers 24, Rams 21
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