We’re lucky as football fans because the two conference championship games on Sunday are great. The league’s best four teams remain (as I said last week, the Bills have always been kind of an imposter after Von Miller went down). We don’t need media-driven arguments like “Joe Burrow is better than Patrick Mahomes.”
Burrow and the Bengals are ball beauties, thanks in part to Mahomes’ ankle injury. The Bengals went from a 2.5-point underdog to a 1.5-point favorite before Mahomes fully practiced Wednesday. It still seems like an overcorrection, given that it’s an underdog in .
All four quarterbacks are compelling stories, but these games have a good chance of being won on defense and running games.
We picked the Chiefs and 49ers to go to the Super Bowl when the playoffs started, so there’s no reason to change now.
last week: 2-2 on the spread, 1-1 on the best bet. The Jaguars got Backdoor his cover on a late field goal and Duck his Prescott was terrible. Otherwise it is 4-0.
play off: 6-4 on the spread, 3-2 on the best bet.
Regular season: 127-139-5 ATS; 26-27-3 at best.
All odds are from BetMGM and are locked once a pick is made. click here for live odds.
Both of these teams are great in the trenches. The Eagles should be able to slow down Nick Bosa and his pals, and when they can’t, Jalen Hurts can run in. The 49ers aren’t doing well against quarterback runs . He ranks 19th in completion percentage for all his QB runs (50%), including the playoffs. Breaking it down even further, he has the 26th highest success rate (32.3%) against engineered scrambles.
On the other side of the ball, the Eagles showed they can get to the quarterback without blitzing on the final push from “Playoff Fletch.” They produced his second-highest pressure percentage without a blitz during the regular season (36.3%), but if pressured without a blitz, Brock Purdy said in his EPA/DB that he It ranks 7th.
Purdy didn’t look like a rookie in the pocket and didn’t necessarily play all that well against the Cowboys, but unlike Prescott, he didn’t turn the ball over. And as long as he plays in a tough environment, Purdy passed that test with flying colors in Seattle.
The Eagles’ receiver has the upper hand over the 49ers’ defensive backs, but Christian McCaffrey and the 49ers’ RB should have a big day. The Eagles defense gave him 4.6 yards per carry (by comparison, the 49ers defense allowed him 3.4 yards). Also, I don’t think Philadelphia has any answers for tight end George Kittle.
The Eagles are 7-3 at home against the Spread this season, but they’ve never faced an attacking quartet as talented as McCaffrey, Kittle, Devo Samuel and Brandon Ayuk. Or Kyle, the third quarterback of the season, who plays as good as Shanahan is his caller. As a road underdog under Shanahan, the 49ers have him 19-10 ATS.
Finally, playing for the Cowboys seemed like great preparation for the 49ers as Dallas is similar to Philadelphia except for receiver depth.
Pick: 49ers +2.5
Now I understand why the public is betting on the Bengals. Burrow is 3-0 against the Chiefs. The Chiefs like the blitz and Burrow smokes like a cigar. Overall, Burrow and the Bengals have won his ATS 5-1 in the last two years in the playoffs.
Oh, and in three games with the Chiefs, Ja’Marr Chase has 25 catches (29 targets) for 417 yards and four touchdowns. And his use of the Bengals against the Bills was a masterclass.
The Bengals are also hot on defense, and coordinator Lou Anarmo has done a great job in the past against Mahomes. After dropping 8 to Mahomes’ 18 dropbacks in last year’s AFC Championship Game, the Bengals dropped just five times in the 2022 regular season against Kansas City. On four, there was a sack in the drop back.
Will Anarumo do it again with Mahomes playing with a bad ankle? Mahomes may be easier to get now. Only 11.4% of Mahomes’ pressure to his dropbacks this season led to sacks, which is the lowest pressure to his sacks among his 34 eligible QBs. rate.
One thing people don’t consider is that the Chiefs’ offensive line is much better than it used to be. Even after Mahomes returned to the game last week with an injury, he has never been sacked. And Andy Reed has been planning well this season without Tyreek Hill, and he’s making plans for Sunday night.
Meanwhile, the Bengals’ offense is missing a lot of players, and while the Bills weren’t able to capitalize on that last week, I believe Chris Jones and Frank Clark will do the damage. He has proven himself to be a big-game playmaker in back-to-back AFC title games, and many times over the past two years have meant setting up Clarke to sack.
Finally, back to the Bengals’ win over the Chiefs. Kansas City led by 18, 14 and 7 points in his last three games and was undefeated going into the fourth quarter. This time they are trapped until the end. Part of the reason is that each player knows he has more to do to help Mahomes who is holding him back, while Mahomes decides to rely on his stronger arms than his legs. It will be. Mahomes said he’s Michael his Jordan in the NFL and I’m not interested in going up against him.
In fact, the home underdog the Chiefs have been on Monday through Thursday is 8-3-2 over the last 10 postseason spreads, according to Bet Labs. I don’t think that logic changes just because they’re one-point favourites. So if you don’t want to listen to me, don’t turn your back on history.
Pick: Chiefs -1
— TruMedia’s research is courtesy of NFL Editor Aaron Reiss.
(Graphics: John Bradford / athleticChris Jones photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)