AFC and NFC Championship Weekend Preview

Mark Freitas
FiredUp Network Sports Writer


Friday, January 27, 2023

NFL AFC and NFC Championship weekend is almost here, and fans are excited. It'll be a great weekend of games as the San Francisco 49ers take on the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Championship. While in the AFC, we will get a rematch from last year between the Kansas City Chiefs facing the Cincinnati Bengals.


The first game on the schedule is between the Philadelphia Eagles and the San Francisco 49ers. It should be an exciting game, as both teams have a great offence. The 49ers are looking at getting back into the Super Bowl finals since losing to Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs in 2020. Rookie quarterback Brock Purdy was drafted in the seventh round in the NFL draft and will be making his NFC Championship debut. Purdy has been off to a hot start in his NFL career since taking over as starting quarterback following an injury to Jimmy Garoppolo.


49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan gave praise to his rookie quarterback, stating, "He has a natural ability to play the position, and that's why he's fun to coach because when he does make mistakes and do things, he can see it, he can know why we can see it, and we can all understand it." Purdy has 114 completions, 170 attacks, 1374 yards and 13 touchdowns


Turning to the Eagles, Jalen Hurts has been a big reason for Philadelphia's success this season. Hurts had doubters when he joined the Eagles, but he has had a fantastic year by putting up great numbers while also being considered for the MVP. This season Hurts completed 460 passing attacks and 306 pass completions. The 49ers will have to find a way to shut down the Eagles' passing and rushing game, as Hurts is excellent with both.


Looking at both teams' offence, the Eagles will have to find a way to stop the 49ers' rushing plays against Christian McCaffrey. He had 159 carries, 746 yards, and six touchdowns on the rush. As for San Francisco, they will have to handle Miles Sanders. Sanders was a huge part of the Eagles' rushing game, having 259 carries while proceeding with 1269 yards for 11 touchdowns.


Since both teams like the rush, they must remember their receivers. Deebo Samuel carries the 49ers receiving plays having 56 receives, 94 targets, 632 yards and two touchdowns. A.J. Brown has been successful with Jalen Hurts, getting 88 receives, 145 targets, 1496 yards and 11 touchdowns.


San Francisco has an aggressive defence, and it could be beneficial if they can find a way to stop the Eagles' rushing game. Jalen Hurts rushed for 760 yards this season and picked up 13 touchdowns.


In conclusion, both teams have had great success this season and match up well. But in the end, only one of these teams will advance to the Super Bowl, and it should be an exciting game for everyone watching.


 The Cincinnati Bengals have had the Kansas City Chiefs' number. The Bengals are a 3-0 against Mahomes and the Chiefs. Cincinnati stunned the Chiefs in the AFC Championship last year, being down 21-3 and fighting back to win in overtime, shocking the entire NFL world.


Patrick Mahomes is expected to play after spraining his ankle in last week's divisional playoff game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow is the only quarterback to have beaten Patrick Mahomes three times.


The Bengals are looking to make a second straight Super Bowl appearance after losing last year to the LA Rams. In contrast, the Chiefs are looking to make their third Super Bowl appearance in four years (2020 and 2021).


The question remains: What will Patrick Mahomes' limits be due to his ankle sprain? The Chiefs could do the run game more, but after a while, The Bengals could catch on and capitalize. Isiah Pacheco helped with the offence last game having 95 yards and 12 carries. The Chiefs should avoid turning to their backup quarterback Chad Henne in this crucial game if things go sideways for Mahomes, but we will see as the game progresses since Mahomes played through the ankle sprain last week.


The Bengals have a fantastic group of wide receivers led by Ja'Marr Chase, who has the Chiefs' number. This season Chase had 87 receives, 134 targets, 1046 yards and nine touchdowns. At the same time, his counterpart Travis Kelce for the Chiefs had 110 receives, 152 targets, 1338 yards and 12 touchdowns. So it will be an exciting matchup.


Meanwhile, quarterbacks Joe Burrow and Patrick Mahomes again put up good numbers this season. Mahomes had 435 completions and 648 attacks for 5250 yards and 41 touchdowns, and Burrow finished with 414 completions/606 attacks, 4475 yards and 35 touchdowns.


This game will be a battle between the two best quarterbacks in the league, and I look forward to seeing how things unfold on Sunday.


Game time for the Eagles vs. 49ers is at 3:30 PM EST, while the Chiefs and Bengals kick off at 6:30 PM EST on CTV and TSN.


Photo Credits: CBS