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Previewing Bengals vs. Chiefs and 49ers vs. Rams on Championship Sunday

Four of the NFL’s top teams fight for a Super Bowl berth.

Syndication: The Enquirer Albert Cesare / The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

It’s Championship Sunday, which means we’ll know shortly who will be heading to Los Angeles for Super Bowl LVI. We’ve got previews and odds as we head into one of the NFL’s best gamedays.

AFC Championship

Championship Sunday kicks off tomorrow at 3:00 pm EST, as the upstart Cincinnati Bengals (regular season 10-7) head to Arrowhead Stadium to take on perennial postseason powerhouse Kansas City Chiefs (regular season 12-5).

The Bengals, led by sophomore quarterback Joe Burrow and his former LSU teammate, rookie wide receiver Jamarr Chase, are seeking to send Cincy to the Super Bowl for the first time since 1988, when Boomer Esiason was under center. Cincinnati fell to the 49ers in Super Bowl XXIII, and following the 1990 NFL season, they would not win another playoff game — until this year.

They have a tall order ahead of them if they are to turn around decades of postseason woes and reach Super Bowl LVI, as they’re tasked with shutting down the AFC’s top offense in the Kansas City Chiefs. Averaging 28.2 points per game in the 2021 regular season, the Chiefs are led by Patrick Mahomes and his wacky bag of quarterbacking wizardry. Mahomes tossed for 4,839 yards and 38 touchdowns in the regular season — 1,239 yards of which went to top receiver Tyreek Hill.

This is going to be a fascinating one, as the ascendant Cincinnati Bengals seek to put the kibosh on their reputation as postseason underperformers, but to do so must take down one of the top AFC’s top squads in recent years. DraftKings Sportsbook currently has the Chiefs as 7-point favorites at home, with the over/under set at 54.5 points.

NFC Championship

Next on the docket is the NFC Championship between NFC West division rivals San Francisco 49ers (regular season 10-7) and Los Angeles Rams (regular season 12-5).

Wide receiver Cooper Kupp has absolutely flourished with quarterback Matt Stafford under center, reeling in 191 passes for an astounding 1,947 yards and 16 touchdowns. Stafford has been rejuvenated in head coach Sean McVay’s offense, putting together an MVP-caliber campaign at quarterback. He threw for 4,886 yards — the most since his 2012 season when he was paired with Hall of Fame wide receiver Calvin Johnson.

The 49ers are no slouch when it comes to offense, either. Eeking into the postseason as a wild card in the season’s final week, they own one of the NFC’s best ground attacks, averaging 127 yards rushing per game in the 2021 regular season.

The 49ers also possess one of the top defenses in the NFC, keeping teams to an average of 310 yards of offense per game. They’ll need every ounce of that defensive oomph to slow down the Rams, who look to make their second Super Bowl in the last five years — this time with a better outcome. DraftKings Sportsbook gives the Rams the homefield nod as 3.5 point favorites, and the over/under has been set at 45.5 points.

There are few Sundays better than Championship Sunday, so get all your weekend chore nonsense out of the way today and prepare to sit on the couch for hours on end as four teams fight to reach the Super Bowl.