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NFL Football Conference Championships Preview 2024

NFL Football Conference Championships Preview 2024. Sports betting is always big during the NFL playoffs, but it has considerably grown in popularity this year. That will continue as we get closer to the big game. The only real surprise is the Detroit Lions, who haven’t made it to the NFC Championship since the early 1990s.

Will the reigning champions, the Kansas City Chiefs, make it back to the Super Bowl this year, or will the Ravens continue their dominant season and surpass them?

The Last Round Before the Super Bowl

NFL Football Conference Championships Preview 2024

Sunday, January 28

            AFC Championship Game

  • Kansas City Chiefs at Baltimore Ravens (-3.5)

NFC Championship Game

  • Detroit Lions at San Francisco 49ers (-7)

Kansas City Chiefs Visit the Baltimore Ravens

Patrick Mahomes is a veteran of AFC Championship games, playing in his sixth consecutive one. Lamar Jackson will be playing in his first championship. These two have not met on the field since 2021, when Baltimore won a thriller 36-35. Can we expect another close one?

The combination of KC’s offensive line protecting their quarterback and Mahomes’ ability to avoid sacks has kept them down to 3.9% and sack-to-pressure rate at 13.8%. That is second in the NFL behind Josh Allen. The Ravens will be testing that rate as they led the league in sacks during the regular season.

Lamar Jackson might be even more elusive on his feet as he can rush and avoid sacks. The props bet for total rushing yards by Jackson sits at 59.5. Josh Allen got 72 yards and two touchdowns against the Chiefs in the Divisional round, so Jackson has a shot at going Over.

While the Ravens didn’t allow any touchdowns from the Texans during the Divisional Round game, this will be a step up in talent and experience that the defense will have to deal with.

Defense is the Key for Both Teams

The Chiefs didn’t look as good as expected this season, finishing 11-6, their worst outcome in six years, but they probably have the best defense in the Mahomes era. They were second in scoring defense and yards allowed this season. But they did incur some injuries against the Bills. Most notably, linebacker Willie Gay Jr. left the game with a neck injury, while safety Mike Edwards and cornerback Trent McDuffie may miss the game against the Ravens.

Baltimore’s defense might be even better than Kansas City’s. They kept C.J. Stroud to only 175 passing yards and 38 rushing yards.

Detroit Lions at San Francisco 49ers

If you’re a San Francisco fan, you’re probably thinking that Detroit is the best team out of the three to be playing against at this time. The Chiefs are experienced in going all the way, while Baltimore looks unstoppable this year. Detroit is at the bottom of the list regarding Super Bowl odds.

Super Bowl Futures

  • San Francisco 49ers +140
  • Baltimore Ravens +200
  • Kansas City Chiefs +325
  • Detroit Lions +750

Detroit has had a good run, but their biggest weakness is defending the pass, which is one of San Francisco’s strengths.

The 49ers have the most efficient passing offense in football, with an abundance of playmakers to overwhelm the Detroit secondary. Detroit’s offense is just as impressive, but they don’t have as many elite targets.

What could tip the balance further is wide receiver Deebo Samuel. He sustained a shoulder injury in the first half of last week’s win over Green Bay and has a 50/50 chance of returning for the championship game. In the three regular-season games he missed, the 49ers lost each time.

Can the Quarterbacks Handle the Pressure?

San Francisco’s Brock Purdy looked less comfortable with Samuel out of the game against Green Bay, so he can be rattled. The Lions will attempt to do that throughout the game.

On defense, the 49ers have pass rusher Nick Bossa. Detroit’s left tackle, Penei Sewell, will line up against Bossa, which could be the key matchup defining whether Jared Goff will have enough time to target his receivers. If Sewell doesn’t do his job, Goff may be the one getting rattled.

Goff will be searching for wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown and tight end Sam LaPorta but can fall back on Jahmyr Gibbs to run or catch a pass.

The 49ers are the clear favorite, but head coach Dan Campbell has instilled a never-say-die attitude in his team. Expect an exciting, close, last-minute win for one of these teams.

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