AFC/NFC Championship Picks
Folks, we finally did it. It took until the Divisional round of the playoffs, but we finally had a perfect slate of picks for the weekend. Now, as we head into conference championship weekend, it’s time to make the AFC and NFC Championship picks. Before that, though, here’s a quick look back at last weekend’s picks.
- Jaguars +9 (W)
- Eagles -7.5 (W)
- Bengals +5.5 (W)
- 49ers -4 (W)
Season Record: 67-65-5
San Francisco 49ers @ Philadelphia Eagles
- Spread: Eagles -2.5
- 49ers ML: +125
- Eagles ML: -145
- O/U: 46.5 points
Frey’s Pick: Eagles -2.5
Perhaps the Brock Purdy magic is real, but this is by far his biggest test yet. The Philadelphia Eagles have an historically great defensive front after recording a ridiculous 70 sacks during the regular season. They once again proved to be dominant last weekend against the New York Giants, crushing their division rivals by a score of 38-7.
Meanwhile, the San Francisco 49ers are a star-studded roster that, along with some terrific coaching from Coach of the Year finalist Kyle Shanahan, has made the transition to Purdy at quarterback. The quartet of Brandon Aiyuk, George Kittle, Christian McCaffrey, and Deebo Samuel are as dynamic as any group of skill positions in the NFL.
Even still, I lean towards Philadelphia in this matchup. Philly’s combination of ferocious defensive front and lockdown secondary is a puzzle that Purdy won’t be able to solve, and Jalen Hurts’ ability to create plays with his legs won’t be contained by San Francisco’s own defense.
Cincinnati Bengals @ Kansas City Chiefs
- Spread: Chiefs -1
- Bengals ML: +103
- Chiefs ML: -123
- O/U: 47.5 points
Frey’s Pick: Chiefs -1
If the Bengals win this game, at some point Arrowhead might need to be renamed Burrowhead. The Cincinnati Bengals third year QB has played against the Chiefs three times now, with this fourth game being his second game against them in the playoffs. Burrow’s Bengals are 3-0 against Patrick Mahomes’ Chiefs, including an AFC Championship win last season in this same stadium.
That being said, it won’t be easy this time around. Many folks jumped the gun by assuming that the Bengals offensive line injuries would be a factor against the Buffalo Bills. Well, especially without Von Miller in the lineup, those Bills have not had a very good pass rush throughout the entire season, ranking T-14th in sacks and 15th in pressure rate.
This Chiefs defense is a different beast altogether. During the regular season, Kansas City ranked 2nd in sacks, 1st in total pressures, and 5th in pressure rate. This came into play last weekend against the Jacksonville Jaguars as they consistently put Trevor Lawrence under pressure. They should be able to do the same against Burrow.
Finally, Patrick Mahomes looks like he is on track to play in this game after suffering a high ankle sprain against Jacksonville. If Mahomes is able to use his legs to extend plays this weekend, combined with the aggressive and ferocious Kansas City pass rush, I’m taking the Chiefs to return to the Super Bowl.
Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing. He also earned minors in History, Human Biology, and Journalism. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys marathon training, playing video games, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. For more of his opinions, check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.