LOS ANGELES — The NFL's Championship Weekend Round is here!
The Divisional Round last weekend was all about the underdogs. The Bengals won as a four-point underdog to the Titans, the Rams won as a three-point underdog to the Bucs and the 49ers won as a six-point underdog to the Packers.
It was really looking like the Bills were going to be the fourth underdog to advance on Sunday night before Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs somehow forced overtime despite just 13 seconds on the clock and then went on to win.
Kansas City is trying to win the AFC Championship Game and advance to the Super Bowl for a third-straight year. They host the Bengals, a team that had the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft just two years ago.
The Rams take on the 49ers in the NFC Championship. It will be the third time the two division rivals meet this year. The 49ers got the best of L.A. both times, including in Week 18 in L.A. when they needed to win to advance to the playoffs. Can they defeat the Rams for a third time this year?
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NFL Championship Weekend Predictions
Cincinnati Bengals at Kansas City Chiefs
Time: Sunday, 3:00 p.m. E.T.
Spread: KC -7, O/U 54.5
Who would've thought a year ago that the Cincinnati Bengals would be here? Just about nobody. Yet here they are with the chance to advance to the Super Bowl. They're going to have to go through Kansas City though, a team with plenty of experience in this spot. While the Bengals got the best of the Chiefs in Week 17 thanks to an unbelievable game from Joe Burrow and Ja'Marr Chase, it's hard to see them replicating that performance in this spot.
The Bengals defense will be a big story, though. They didn't allow the Raiders or Titans to get to 20 points on their way here. They also held the Chiefs to just three second half points in their Week 17 win. It will be interesting to see what adjustments Andy Reid will make.
Ross Jackson: Chiefs 35. Bengals 30
Cameron LaFontaine: Chiefs 34, Bengals 27
San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Rams
Time: Sunday, 6:30 p.m. E.T.
Spread: LAR -3.5, O/U 45.5
The Rams looked shaky over the last few weeks of the regular season and with Matthew Stafford's turnover issues, not many expected them to make it all the way here. But, they've come together and looked like the elite team over the past couple weeks that Sean McVay and the organization envisioned when they brought in Stafford, Odell Beckham Jr. and Von Miller.
But this is no simple matchup for the Rams. They haven't defeated the 49ers in their last SIX matchups. That included the overtime loss to the 49ers in Week 18 at home. The Rams are back at home, but we know the 49ers' fanbase travels well. This will almost be like a neutral site game. Both defenses have nearly impossible assignments trying to contain each other's top playmakers in Cooper Kupp for the Rams and Deebo Samuel for the 49ers. It almost feel like whichever team can hold Kupp or Samuel in check the most will come out on top in this game. The run game for both sides will be very important. And of course, the Rams will need to protect the ball. They had four lost fumbles against the Bucs but still came away with the win. Turn the ball over four times again, and you're not getting out alive.
Ross Jackson: Rams 24, 49ers 20
Cameron LaFontaine: Rams 26, 49ers 24