Which teams will punch their ticket? 2022 NFL Conference Championships preview

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Kamryn Jackson, Jaydn James, Contributors

The Conference Championship for the NFL’s 2022 post-season is set for Jan. 30, and if it’s anything like the Divisional round, football fans are in for a treat. 

Match up: #4 Cincinnati Bengals vs. #2 Kansas City Chiefs

The matchup between the Bengals and the Chiefs is intriguing, as we get to see the battle between elite quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes and Joe Borrow for the second time this season. 

The key to success for the Bengals is to prioritize pass protection. Burrow has a cannon of an arm and has proven to successfully pick apart defenses when he has time to throw. Burrow was able to overcome his offensive lines woes last week against the titans but will he be able to do the same versus Kansas City? 

Burrow has help from his offense with running back Joe Mixon, who’s coming off one of his best seasons, averaging around 7.9 yards per carry in the postseason and with a total of 13 rushing touchdowns in 2021. 

Along with the star power of Joe Mixon, Burrow also has the perks of playing with his former teammate at LSU, Ja’marr Chase. Burrow and Chase’s on-field chemistry is out of this world, considering the two won a national championship together in 2019 at LSU. Chase has an astounding rookie campaign reeling in 13 touchdown receptions and totaling 1,455 receiving yards.

As for the Chiefs, they have the upper hand in the upcoming match. 

According to CBS Sports, the Chiefs are a seven-point favorite to beat the Bengals. 

Fortunately for the Chiefs, they happen to have one of the accurate quarterbacks in football right now, along with a couple of solid targets in Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce.

Hill and Kelce combined for almost 10,000 receiving yards and 78 receiving touchdowns, with Mahomes at quarterback. This is the most receiving yards for any wide receiver duo in NFL history over a four-year stretch.

Mahomes is having yet another MVP-level season and according to ESPN , Mahomes has a completion rate of over 66% and a 37/13 touchdown to interception ratio.

Come Sunday we’ll see if the Bengals are capable of knocking off the 2021 AFC champs or if the Chiefs continue their playoff dominance and get the opportunity to win their second superbowl in the last four seasons, and third in total. 

Match up: #6 San Francisco 49ers vs. #4 L.A. Rams

The Los Angeles Rams have made good additions to their roster to get them to where they are right now. On Sunday in the Divisional Round, the Rams just knocked off previous super bowl champs, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

With the acquisition of Matthew Stafford and Odell Beckham Jr., the Rams offense has been doing well this season, with a regular-season record of 12-5. Stafford has a 67.2 completion percentage this year.  However, Stafford has had some turnover woes, ending the 2021 regular season with 17 interceptions, which according to SI, is his highest interception rate since the 2011-2012 season.

Now for their opponent, the San Francisco 49ers have star QB Jimmy Garoppolo, who has a completion percentage of 68.3, with 12 interceptions in the regular season. The 49ers had a regular-season record of 10-7. The Niners defeated the Dallas Cowboys in the wild card round and beat the Greenbay Packers by a field goal in the divisional round last week. 

The Rams and the 49ers have met twice in the regular season. The first time was in week 10, where the 49ers came out on top, 31-10. They met once again in Week 18, in overtime, and beat the Rams, 27-24. This game could be considered a redemption game for the Rams, who are hoping and needing to take down the 49ers for the first time this season. 

The Niners have offensive weapons like Deebo Samuel and George Kittle, who could give Ramsey and the LA Rams secondary a tough time. Regardless, this should be an exciting matchup to watch.

Students here at A&T have predictions for what’s in store for the Conference Championships. Sophomore Liberal studies student Abram Pittman believes that the Cincinnati Bengals and the LA Rams will come out on top this weekend.

“Bengals are upsetting the chiefs in a close one and the Rams blow out the 49ers,” Pittman said. 

Junior International Business student Moriah Terry also believes in the Rams and that LA can win the Super Bowl as well.  

“Rams are winning it all this year. Stafford has what it takes,” Terry said.

 As for the final results of these games, tune in to watch on Sunday at 3:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. on FOX.