The NFL Conference Championships went down at the weekend, featuring the four strongest teams left competing for Super Bowl LVII. There was no room for error, with each team understanding how close they were to the coveted prize, and each game provided a thrill of its own.
The Philadelphia Eagles opened the contest against the San Francisco 49ers while the Kansas City Chiefs battled it out with Cincinnati Bengals at Arrowhead Stadium.
The Eagles and Chiefs officially booked a place in the Super Bowl LVII final on Sunday, February 12 at the State Farm Stadium. In the NFC Championship match, the Eagles devoured the 49ers, while the Chiefs emerged out of the AFC after narrowly beating the Cincinnati Bengals.
Let’s take a quick look at the games that saw our finalists make Super Bowl LVII.
San Francisco 49ers 7 @ 31 Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles advanced to Super Bowl LVII with a comfortable win over the 49ers and will aim to win the title they last claimed in the 2017 season, where the Eagles beat Tom Brady’s New England Patriots to lift the Super Bowl LII. Their appearance at Super Bowl LVII will be the fourth time in their history.
Philadelphia dominated the game over the 49ers, who had two of their quarterbacks injured and three turnovers during the game.
The Eagles’ Jalen Hurts was in top form, rushing 39 yards with one touchdown. He has 15 rushing touchdowns in both the regular and postseason, which is the highest for a quarterback in NFL history.
Running back Miles Sanders registered 42 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
Things went from bad to worse for the 49ers, losing Brock Purdy through an elbow injury. Purdy’s replacement, Josh Johnson, had some impact helping his side tie the game at 7-7 after running back Christian McCaffrey’s 23-yard scamper. However, the Eagles bounced back before the half through Miles Sanders’ touchdown run.
McCaffrey had 19 yards and his side’s only touchdown. He also had an incomplete pass, with his team registering a total of 164 yards only.
Eagles fans thronged the streets of Philadelphia after the game, which you could mistake for a Super Bowl LVII win celebration. They climbed street poles, crosswalk lights, and bus stop shelters to celebrate their team’s return to the Super Bowl. They will be up against their former coach Andy Reid who is now heading Kansas City Chiefs on February 12 at the State Farm Stadium.
Cincinnati Bengals 20 @ 23 Kansas City Chiefs
In an evenly-matched game, the Chiefs emerged the winners after Harrison Butker hit a stunning 45-yard field goal with few seconds remaining. Andy Reid avenged the 2022 AFC Championship loss to the Bengals and has his eyes trained against his former side for Super Bowl LVII.
The Chiefs will appear for the third time in the Super Bowl in the last four years.
Patrick Mahomes had not fully recovered from the ankle sprain during the divisional round. However, this did not deter the star quarterback, who had 326 yards and double touchdowns, completing 29 of 43 passes. He led to the penalty that enabled Harrison Butker to try the match-winning kick with three seconds to go.
It calls for a rare skillset like that of Mahomes to play through pain and produce a masterpiece. He scrambled through slight discomfort for a third-on-four picking the first down by turning the corner.
Bengal’s Joseph Ossai shoved Mahomes out of bounds drawing a penalty that gave Harrison Butker a chance to score a 45-yard field-winning goal. He kept the Chiefs’ offence on top in the second half.
“There comes the point where you have to give it all in this game,” said Mahomes after the game. “The defence offered several chances to advance in the field goal range, but somehow we couldn’t get there, but I knew I would get there. The defence held another stop for us.”
Marquez Valdes-Scantling was also in top gear recording 116 yards and a touchdown. Travis Kelce recorded 78 yards and a touchdown setting him up for the Super Bowl game against his brother Jason Kelce who plays for Philadelphia. They will be the first brothers to do so.
It was sweet revenge for the Chiefs after three straight losses in the hands of the Bengals, including last year’s title match, which they lost by three points in overtime.
Super Bowl LVII: Kansas City Chiefs @ Philadelphia Eagles
After the 18-week regular season, where each of the 32 teams played 17 games, 14 teams advanced into playoffs, with two teams directly booking their spot in the divisional round. The conference championship games had two winners – the Chiefs and the Eagles will face off for the coveted Super Bowl LVII title on February 12.
Each team is in high spirits, and just like the Chiefs-Bengals game, this too might be decided by a few acts of genius.
The Chiefs are in familiar territory, having appeared in three Super Bowls in four years, while the Eagles will be making a comeback after the successful appearance in the 2017 season.
As it stands, the Eagles edge out as the favourites at odds of 4/5 but the Chiefs aren’t far behind at 21/20. That said, there is a lot to unpack here ahead of the game. First up, The Eagles will be losing their offensive guard Josh Sills after he was suspended following accusations of rape and kidnapping.
That said, the Chiefs could also be without Mahomes. He has been carrying an ankle injury for weeks, and at times against the Bengals he looked extremely uncomfortable. The longer he plays on it, the more damage he is doing to his own body in the long run. But if it wasn’t for him, the Chiefs arguably wouldn’t even have been in Super Bowl LVII.
If Mahomes does make it somehow and plays through the pain, then the Chiefs stand their best chance at winning Super Bowl LVII. But with the form Hurts is in, and the Eagles in general, we think they could just about edge the game. Either way, it will be a closely fought contest and we certainly aren’t expecting a one-sided affair.
For even more coverage like this, check out our American Football section.