NFL Championship Weekend Preview: Who Will Play in Superbowl 56?

The NFL has whittled down to their final four teams. This means it is time for NFL Championship Weekend!

Breaking Down the Two Matchups…

In the AFC, you have the battle of the young guns, as Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs take on the man, the myth, and the legend, Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals.

While in the NFC, we have a division battle out of the NFC West, as Matt Stafford makes his first appearance in a Championship game as he leads the Los Angeles Rams against a tough rival in Jimmy GQ and the San Francisco 49ers.

So, who advances? Well, before we go out giving predictions, let us break down each game!

NFL Championship Weekend, Game 1

AFC Championship: Cincinnati Bengals @ Kansas City Chiefs- Sunday, January 30th, 3 pm on CBS.

The first game of NFL Championship Weekend will pin two of the best young QB’s in the league against each other. Patrick Mahomes and Joe Burrow.

Key for the Kansas City Chiefs to Advance…

Mahomes coming off an absolute shootout with Josh Allen and the Bills look to keep their torrid hot streak alive against a banged-up Bengals defense that was able to shut down the Tennessee Titans in the divisional round.

The Key for Mahomes and Company to move on is easy, keep your foot on the pedal. A pure offensive team like Kansas City has to hope their offense can put up big numbers again.

Of course, KC’s defense will play a big part in the game, a week after letting up 36 points they will look to shut down a potent Bengals offense. An offense that was torched by Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase earlier this season.

Key for the Cincinnati Bengals to Advance…

The legend of Joe Burrow continues to grow. The second-year QB has helped lead the Bengals to their first AFC Championship game since 1988.

The key for the Bengals to advance is also a simple one, PROTECT JOE BURROW. Last week we saw the signal-caller get sacked NINE times against the Tennessee Titans. Luckily, the defense was able to step up big and earn them a win. That may not be as easy this weekend as they face a tough defensive front of Kansas City.

In Week 17 when the Bengals came back from a 14 point deficit to capture a win over the Chiefs. That was behind a stellar 446 yard passing performance by Joe Burrow, and a 266 receiving yard performance from rookie WR, Ja’Marr Chase

If the Bengals want any shot at a Super Bowl this year, they are going to have tightened up the O-Line big time, because NINE sacks will not pass against the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Deafening Sound that is Arrowhead Stadium…

One last thing, this will be Joe Burrow’s first trip to Arrowhead Stadium. As we all know, it is THE loudest stadium in the United States with over 100 decibels.

Joe Shiesty will have to become accustomed to that because as much as he can say he is used to it being loud and has been in louder stadiums, he has yet to witness Arrowhead in the Playoffs

This game has the potential to be an absolute offense free for all and should be one of the more exciting of the two-weekend games.

In the end, I think the cinderella run for the Bengals continues on to Los Angeles, but, who will they face out of the NFC?

Prediction: Cincinnati 37 Kansas City 30

NFL Championship Weekend, Game 2

NFC Championship: San Francisco 49ers @ Los Angeles Rams- Sunday, January 30th, 6:30 pm on FOX.

A third-round between the San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Rams is on the docket for the NFC Championship Game.

The first two games went to the San Francisco 49ers, the most recent being in Week 18 to effectively clinch a playoff spot.

Key for the San Francisco 49ers to Advance…

Nothing has come easy for the 49ers, after a near loss in the Wild Card to the Dallas Cowboys, the Niners were able to climb back from the dead against the top-seeded Packers to advance to the Championship.

Now, their wins have not been the prettiest, but they do not ask you to paint a picture, just get a win. That is exactly what the Niners have done, have found different ways to win.

The defense was key in the Wild Card round, while Special Teams reigned supreme in the Divisional Round.

That defense will once again be key here for the 49ers to advance. The offense just needs to be able to put up points, I will give them the benefit of the doubt that they had to go to frigid Lambeau. This week though should look different. as statistically Jimmy G is 6-0 against the LA Rams in his career and has dominated on the road against them in the past.

With a healthy offensive line, and hopefully a fully healthy Deebo Samuel, the offense will look to once again tear up what has been a top-notch defense this season.

Key for the Los Angeles Rams to Advance…

The Rams survived an almost disastrous collapse against the reigning champion, Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday. The Rams who led 27-3, allowed Tampa Bay to tie it up late in the game, because, you know, Tom Brady…

Luckily though, Mathew Stafford put on what was his most impressive drive of the season that included a 60 plus yard bomb to Cooper Kupp to set up the game-winning field goal.

What has been a good defense this year, absolutely crumbled under pressure, and almost lost the game? That simply cannot happen this week.

The Key for the Rams to advance is to play a full 60 minutes, against a rival, you cannot afford to lose leads. The defense that had been one of the best all season, needs to step up Sunday if they want any chance to advance.

As for the offense, they need to take care of the ball. Too many times last weekend did we see this offense turn the ball over, whether it was on a fumble or an errant snap. The biggest thing for Mathew Stafford is to protect the ball. If they can do that, with a lead, they will be just fine.

In the end, three times is not the charm for the Rams, as once again this game will come down to a field goal.

Prediction: San Francisco 49ers- 23 — Los Angeles Rams- 20

-Jeff Hoak (@jeffhoak1)

Photo Credit: SN Illustration/Getty Images

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