And so, it all comes down to the Chiefs and Eagles who, after NFL Conference Championship wins, will meet in Super Bowl LVII in a fortnight.
49ers Futures Finally Put To Rest
The San Francisco 49ers opened the NFL season at $17 to win Super Bowl LVII. It has been a wild, wild ride for those invested in 49ers futures.
– Trey Lance injured early
– Jimmy Garoppolo returns
– Garoppolo goes down
– Enter: Brock Purdy
– Purdy leads the 49ers to the NFC Championship
– Purdy goes down in the NFC Championship
– Josh Johnson enters the championship game
– Johnson goes down in the championship game
– Purdy returns
– Niners finally lose 31-7
This San Francisco 49ers defense deserves better.
They held up their end of the bargain today
— Ben Fawkes (@BFawkes22) January 29, 2023
The 49ers season has had it all, and while it ended in horrible fashion, there is a lot to be excited about for the next one. Remarkably, there is a genuine quarterback battle to keep an eye on by the time training camp rolls around again.
Eagles Fly Into Super Bowl LVII
The Philadelphia Eagles have been blessed with a favourable run to Super Bowl LVII, but nobody will remember that in ten years. They will be there in a fortnight and made it look easy at times on their way.
You can’t ignore the issues the 49ers were forced to deal with in this one. The game would have been totally different of not for Purdy’s injury and the fact his backup couldn’t stay in the game long enough to provide service in the air to an elite offence.
I still can’t believe Christian McCaffrey was taking snaps at quarterback in the NFC Championship for the #49ers.
If you told me that before the season I would’ve laughed in your face.
— Akash Anavarathan (@akashanav) January 30, 2023
However, the Eagles still managed to dominate on the ground – an area the 49ers remained strong regardless of their in-game injuries.
“San Francisco allows the opposition to run for only 77 yards per game – the second-lowest number in the league. Their 3.4 yards per attempt is the lowest mark in the NFL alongside the Tennesee Titans.” – Five Players To Watch In The Conference Championship
Philly quite literally ran right through San Francisco for four touchdowns. Miles Sanders bagged two (his first since Week 14) and Boston Scott added one shortly before halftime. With an opportunity to start putting the game beyond doubt, Jalen Hurts rushed in his 15th touchdown of the season – the most by a quarterback in NFL history. The Eagles didn’t shy away from an elite rushing defence to find 149 yards on the ground. Hurts, as usual, played a big part in all of that for 39 yards of his own.
The Eagles have now won 16 of the 17 games Hurts has started this season.
Kenneth Gainwell over 9.5 receiving yards. ✅
ALL other players OVER receiving yards prop. ❌
— John Ewing 🦁 (@johnewing) January 29, 2023
Chiefs Back In The Super Bowl
It wasn’t quite as bad as the last time these two met in the Conference Championship, but a slow Cincinnati Bengals start allowed the Kansas City Chiefs to get out strong and build an early lead. However, Kansas City couldn’t make the most of the momentum. While they led 13-6 at the break, it should have been 24-6 or more. Kadarius Toney dropped a touchdown while a holding penalty negated Isiah Pacheco’s touchdown run.
The Bengals kepts coming, though. Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase often had the answer whenever the Chiefs crept too far in front.
Unlike so many other teams in the NFL, the Bengals took an aggressive approach. They opened the 4th quarter with a bomb from 4th and 6 to enter the red zone and level things up at 20-20 with 13:30 to play.
Joe Burrow & Ja'Marr Chase (35-yd reception)
🔹 4th Down Decision: GO by 1.9%
🔹 Air Distance: 39.6 yds
🔹 Comp Probability: 13.4%*
*Most improbable 4th down conversion on a pass over the last three seasons#CINvsKC | Powered by @awscloud pic.twitter.com/It4aGJGQix
— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) January 30, 2023
The Chiefs, on the other hand, took few risks. Their decision to punt from the Bengals 37 on 4th and eight with the scores tied and just over two minutes remaining didn’t go down well…
KC decided to punt to CIN from the CIN 37 on 4th & 8 with 2:36 remaining in the 4th while tied 20 to 20.
With a Surrender Index of 120.85, this punt ranks at the 99.9th percentile of cowardly punts of the 2022 season, and the 99.9th percentile of all punts since 1999.
— Surrender Index (@surrender_index) January 30, 2023
But it all worked out in the end. The Bengals, forced to punt the ball on the next drive themselves, couldn’t stop Mahomes and the Chiefs from working their way into field goal territory. Although, they didn’t do themselves any favours.
Calls were missed throughout the game. They always are. But when the game is on the line and you clearly push the quarterback outside the field of play in front of an official, you’re going to see a flag fly every time. It is an avoidable action that effectively cost the Bengals a chance at pushing the game to overtime. Joseph Ossai played a great game, but one poor decision cost his team dearly as Harrison Butger took the 15 free yards up the field and knocked over the winner with three seconds left to play.
Super Bowl LVII
Otherwise known as, The Kelce Bowl.
Brothers Travis and Jason will go head-to-head in Super Bowl LVII as the Kansas City Chiefs prepare to play the Philadelphia Eagles in what is already shaping up as a firecracker.
Eagles vs. Chiefs.
Big Red vs. Nick.
Mahomes vs. Hurts.
Kelce vs. Kelce.
This will be amazing.
— Reuben Frank (@RoobNBCS) January 30, 2023
The key is for the two quarterbacks to spend the extra time they have in the buildup getting healthy. Both Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts are nursing injuries. Mahomes was quite clearly not at 100% against the Bengals and will need to be much better against an Eagles defence that is flying at the moment.
It’s early days and a lot of news will need to break on injuries before really digging into the numbers, but the Eagles have opened as $1.74 and -2.5 favourites with the points total set at 49.5.
Super Bowl LVII is set and excitement is already starting to build. With some many stories and angles to break down in the lead-up, State Farm Stadium in Arizona will reach fever pitch by kickoff.