NFC Conference Championship Game

NFC Conference Championship Game

We may have experienced the greatest Divisional Round weekend in the history of the NFL. Three of the four games were decided by a field goal from the visiting team to win in regulation while the other game was decided by a fourth quarter and overtime that racked up 34 combined points. Out of the four games, three were won by teams considered underdogs by Vegas’ standards.  Can the games this weekend possibly match the excitement of last weekend? Here’s our preview for the NFC Conference Championship game.

The San Francisco 49ers are reminiscent of the 2007 New York Giants. A wildcard team that just barely made the playoffs and weren’t considered much of a threat entering the postseason. However, they took down the number one seed Dallas Cowboys in the divisional round and then defeated the number two seed Green Bay Packers in the conference championship. Since the wildcard was created, just seven wild card teams have won the Super Bowl, and the Niners are trying to add themselves as number eight.

The Los Angeles Rams started the season 7-1, but then encountered a three-game losing streak. However, they finished the season strong and have played well in the first two rounds of the postseason to knock off the Arizona Cardinals and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Rams built an impressive 27-3 lead on the Bucs before it came crashing down around them as Tom Brady rallied the Bucs to tie the game at 27. The Rams were able to save themselves with a Matt Stafford heave to Cooper Kupp as the clock ran down to set up a game-winning field goal.

These two teams have played each other enough times to know exactly what they are getting themselves into. They both play in the NFC West and the Niners came away with two victories in 2021. The most recent came in Week 18 which allowed the 49ers to make the playoffs.  San Francisco trailed by 14 at the half but mounted a comeback to score 21 points in the second half, force overtime, and win on a field goal and game ending interception. What the Niners did well in that contest was throw at will and force turnovers. In the first victory back in Week 10, the Niners beat the Rams by 21 and forced Stafford to throw two interceptions while running the ball effectively.

Both Trent Williams and Deebo Samuel were hobbling in the final minutes of the Green Bay win and are arguably the two most important players on the 49ers offense at the moment. This game prediction could hinge on whether those two are available, but the blueprint is clear for the Niners. They’ll be blitzing Matt Stafford and hoping to cause erratic throws. Jimmy G may not be the most stellar QB in the NFL, but he has proven to have a knack for winning close playoff games and managing the offense just well enough for wins.

The Niners limited Odell Beckham Jr. to just 2 catches in that Week 18 win, which took away the second-best target on the team. I don’t see a massive home-field advantage for LA here, although they did say they will be limiting ticket sales to fans in the LA area. Thankfully for Niners fans, they’ll still likely outnumber them. Something about this San Fran team gives me destiny vibes, and a rematch between them and the Chiefs would be fun to watch. I’ll take the Niners with a road upset, 27-25.