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NFC Conference Final - San Francisco 49ers vs Los Angeles Rams
Sunday, January 30th, 15:00 EST, SoFi Stadium
|NFL NFC Divisional Finals|
|San Francisco 49ers||+162||+155||+160|
|Los Angeles Rams||-182||-175||-190|
The NFC Conference finals will have two teams from the NFC West in the final this Sunday when the 49ers take on the Rams.
LA secured the upset of the round when they eliminated Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after almost blowing a huge lead in the final quarter. San Francisco on the other hand needed their special team to deliver on plays to navigate past the Green Bay Packers to make it to this stage.
These two teams have faced each other twice already this season, with the 49ers claiming victory on both occasions. The first time was a bit of a blowout too, with a final score of 31-10. But it was more the failures of the Rams' running plays that gifted the 49ers the win, with Jimmy Garoppolo throwing just two touchdowns on the day, while Matthew Stafford threw two interceptions.
The second game was much closer, with the 49ers claiming an overtime win to secure their place in the playoffs. The same pattern emerged though, as Stafford threw two more interceptions and the Rams couldn't get their running game going against a strong defensive line.
Both of these teams are exciting to watch, but the 49ers have been exciting arguably for the wrong reasons. Their defense has been relatively chaotic and offensively they have a great variation to their game which provides plenty of unpredictable moments.
Deebo Samuel has been excellent while working out of the backfield and George Kittle has provided plenty of problems matching up against him too. But while they have got a more than decent secondary, the form of Cooper Kipp is going to be a huge issue for them to deal with.
The two games they played against each other earlier this season show the brilliance of the two coaches, but it's the Rams who come into this game with serious momentum and superior talent too.
Aaron Donald, Von Miller, and Leonard Floyd have more than enough about them across the line of scrimmage to make Garoppolo uncomfortable and if they can force a turnover or two then this tight game becomes a whole lot more open.
Back the Unders!
High-scoring games in the post-season are a relative anomaly and while these two teams have a record of exciting games, expect them both to prioritize defense more in this one.
The 49ers managed to hold the Rams to just 34 points combined in the two games they had earlier this season, which bodes well for the totals. Considering the Rams are in good form, they'll have to keep the 49ers from scoring a boat-load of points too and that means it'll be a tight and cagey affair.
With the Under set at 45.5 points, expect that to come in with relative ease regardless of who comes out the victor on Sunday!
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AFC Conference Final - Cincinnati Bengals vs Kansas City Chiefs
Sunday, January 30th, 18:30 EST, Arrowhead Stadium
|NFL AFC Divisional Final|
|Kansas City Chiefs||-330||-335||-335|
On paper, this game seems much easier to pick, considering the pre-season expectations of each team. The Chiefs were always expected to be in-and-around the conversation on Championship weekend, but the Chiefs weren't even expected to make it to the post-season never mind this deep into it.
The Chiefs are heavy favorites for this game and it's no surprise, but the Bengals aren't a team to sleep on. The Chiefs have got weapons on both sides of the ball while in the coaching department, Andy Reid has got all the experience of having been there and done it before on several occasions.
The Bengals though are currently 5-1 in their last six games and the only defeat came on the final day of the regular season when they had most of their starters, including Joe Burrow sitting for a rest. As a starter, he has won five-in-a-row.
In that streak, the Bengals actually beat the Chiefs 34-31 where Burrow proved that he could hang with the great Patrick Mahomes in a straight shootout. The likelihood of that happening again though, and so shortly after, seems like a stretch.
The Chiefs have got so much power all over the field and the experience of having been here before cannot be overlooked.
The Bengals are a fierce unit, but this is an achievement in itself for this team. The Chiefs will be ready for everything they have and while the Bengals are capable of pulling out an upset on the night, I wouldn't bet on it.
Take the Chiefs to cover their -7 spread and watch them party their way to a second consecutive SuperBowl final.
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