NFL conference championship round preview

by Seth Udinski

Seth Udinski, FISM News


The final round before Super Bowl LVI is at hand, as the conference championship games will commence on Sunday. After a historically thrilling divisional round weekend, four teams remain.

The Cincinnati Bengals will battle the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City at 3:00 EST in the AFC Championship, and the San Francisco 49ers will travel to Los Angeles to take on their division rival, the Los Angeles Rams, in SoFi Stadium at 6:40 EST for the NFC title.

The Bengals are coming in on a hot streak after a thrilling playoff run thus far that saw the franchise winning its first postseason contest in 31 years and subsequently shocking the top-seed Tennessee Titans. The game will pit two top young quarterbacks against one another, as Joe Burrow looks to out-duel Patrick Mahomes to bring the Bengals back to their first Super Bowl since 1988.

Mahomes and the Chiefs, meanwhile, are coming off one of the most thrilling playoff wins in NFL history, as they defeated the Buffalo Bills in overtime after a 13-second game tying drive last week. Kansas City is playing in its fourth AFC title game in a row and looks to return to its third Super Bowl in a row.

In the NFC, two West division foes rekindle an old rivalry on the biggest stage. Both teams are coming off thrilling upsets against all-time great quarterbacks.

The 49ers enter the semifinal round as the clear underdog of the weekend. They have relied on a stingy defense and special teams, as well as an impressive playoff performance from utility wide receiver Deebo Samuel, to guide them to two road playoff wins thus far.

Meanwhile, the Rams have put everything into this season with several big free agent signings paying off. But despite the big-name signings, reliable receiver Cooper Kupp has outdone them all, putting together an MVP-caliber performance. The Rams host their first conference title game since returning to Los Angeles in 2016.

The Rams are vying to return to the Super Bowl for the first time since the 2018 season. The Niners, meanwhile, look to go back and finish the job after a shocking loss to the Chiefs two years ago in Super Bowl LIV. Though any matchup would be exciting, a rematch between Kansas City and San Francisco would be especially intriguing two years later, considering the core of both franchises remains the same.