Super Bowl 2022: AFC, NFC Conference Championship Predictions and Vegas Odds

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IIJanuary 26, 2022

Super Bowl 2022: AFC, NFC Conference Championship Predictions and Vegas Odds

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    Ed Zurga/Associated Press

    The AFC Championship Game will feature a Week 17 rematch between a pair of division champions. The NFC Championship Game will be a matchup between NFC West rivals playing for a third time this season. Both games have the potential to deliver more memorable moments this postseason.

    The Kansas City Chiefs and Cincinnati Bengals will face off for the AFC title on Sunday, then the Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers will go head-to-head for the NFC title. The winners will advance to Super Bowl LVI, which is scheduled for Feb. 13 at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles.

    The Chiefs are looking to win their second Super Bowl title in three years, while the Rams (1999 season) and 49ers (1994) are aiming to end championship droughts. The Bengals have never won the Super Bowl.

    Here's everything else you need to know heading into conference championship week.

Conference Championships Schedule, Odds

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    Justin Rex/Associated Press

    Sunday, Jan. 30

    No. 4 Cincinnati Bengals at No. 2 Kansas City Chiefs (-7), 3 p.m. ET, CBS

    No. 6 San Francisco 49ers at No. 4 Los Angeles Rams (-3.5), 6:30 p.m. ET, Fox

    Odds via NFL" target="_blank">DraftKings Sportsbook

AFC Championship Game Predictions

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    Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

    The Chiefs and Bengals are at two different ends of the spectrum when it comes to recent playoff experience. While Kansas City has made it to the Super Bowl each of the past two years, Cincinnati hasn't been there since the 1988 season.

    Both teams have impressed while getting to this point this year. The Chiefs have defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers and Buffalo Bills in the playoffs, while the Bengals have taken down the Las Vegas Raiders and Tennessee Titans.

    Now, Kansas City and Cincinnati will face off in a Week 17 rematch. In that previous meeting, the Bengals outlasted the Chiefs for a 34-31 win at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, with Evan McPherson kicking a game-winning 20-yard field goal as time expired.

    Although Cincinnati has already notched a victory in Kansas City this season, don't expect it to happen again.

    The Chiefs' postseason experience proved valuable when they came away with a 42-36 overtime win over the Bills in the divisional round. Even though they were down three points with 13 seconds to go in regulation, they forced OT and kept the momentum on their side for a game-winning drive.

    Kansas City's offense is rolling right now, as it has scored 42 points in each of its first two postseason wins. Cincinnati will need to try to keep up in what should be a high-scoring matchup, but that will be difficult to do.

    Patrick Mahomes takes his game to another level in the postseason, and he's passed for 782 yards, eight touchdowns and only one interception through the Chiefs' first two playoff wins. He should have another big game against the Bengals, and his leadership will again prove valuable.

    It'll be a close back-and-forth game, but in the end, Kansas City will punch its ticket to a third consecutive Super Bowl. And if the Chiefs keep playing the way they have been, they'll be tough to beat there, too.

    Prediction: Chiefs 36, Bengals 30

NFC Championship Game Predictions

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    Alex Menendez/Associated Press

    The Rams have lost only five games this season, but two of those defeats came against division rivals the 49ers. So Los Angeles is coming for revenge in the NFC Championship Game.

    In Week 10, the 49ers rolled to a 31-10 victory over the Rams in San Francisco. It was a much more competitive matchup the second time they faced off, as the 49ers outlasted the Rams for a 27-24 overtime win in Week 18 in Los Angeles.

    It's tough to beat the same team three times in a season, though. And the Rams will have home-field advantage for the NFC Championship Game, something that seemed unlikely to happen when they fell to the No. 4 seed in the conference.

    The 49ers have had an impressive playoff run, notching road wins over the Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers. However, it's going to come to an end in Los Angeles.

    After never winning a playoff game over his first 12 NFL seasons, Matthew Stafford is leading the Rams to success this postseason. And the 33-year-old quarterback should be motivated to get to the Super Bowl for the first time in his career.

    Los Angeles already took down one division rival when it beat the Arizona Cardinals, and then it knocked off the defending Super Bowl champions, beating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the divisional round. Now, it's going to fare much better this time against San Francisco.

    Expect the Rams to pull ahead early and to rely on their playmakers on both sides of the ball to do enough to keep the 49ers from getting back into the game. With that, the Rams will head to the Super Bowl for the second time in four seasons.

    Prediction: Rams 27, 49ers 17


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