Wild Card Weekend was predictable and one-sided, and the Divisional Round was one upset after the next. So where does that leave us for the Super Bowl? Most analysts thought the perennial favorites were a lock this year, but the underdogs showed up strong. Can they do it again during the AFC & NFC Championship Weekend?
A Case for the Underdogs in Super Bowl 2022
When the NFL season started, the Chiefs were a favorite to win this year’s Super Bowl and the Packers, Buccaneers and Ravens were high on the list. With all but the Chiefs out of the picture, the 2022 NFL Playoffs may be the perfect time to cheer for the underdog.
Check out these facts from years past:
- During the 2022 season, the 49ers defeated the Rams twice & the Bengals are the only team to have defeated the Chiefs in their last 12 games.
- The 49ers & the Bengals played their last playoff games on Saturday, giving each team an extra day to prepare than their opponents the Rams & the Chiefs.
- In 14 of the last 16 years, a team that won on Saturday during the divisional round has gone on to play in the Super Bowl.
- The Bengals & the 49ers will both be on the road for the championship game. Although traditionally seen as a disadvantage, both teams won on the road in the divisional round.
However, even with these facts in mind, the oddsmakers in Vegas still seem to think Super Bowl LVI will come down to the Los Angeles Rams and the Kansas City Chiefs.
NFL Championship Weekend 2022
The road to the Super Bowl leads through the NFC & AFC Championship games. Let’s take a closer look at who is playing in these games and what you can expect.
2022 AFC Championship Game
Sunday, January 30, 2022 | 3:05 PM EST
In the AFC Championship, the two time and defending AFC Champion Kansas City Chiefs are matched against the Cinncinnati Begals who won their first playoff game in more than thirty years just this season.
Before you assume you know how this one will end, meet Joe Burrow. Joe Burrow is the quarterback for the Bengals and much of the reason the team will be returning to the AFC Championships for the first time since 1988. This is Burrow’s second season in the NFL. He was drafted first overall by the Bengals in 2020, but missed almost half of his rookie season due to a torn ACL. Now he is healthy and reunited with LSU teammate and stand out wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase and they are taking the league by storm.
The Bengals will no doubt be facing an uphill battle against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. Mahomes is considered by most to be the best young quarterback in the NFL. He has already won a Super Bowl, been named league MVP and been voted to four Pro Bowls in his short NFL career. He isn’t the only star on his team either. The Chiefs have spectacular weapons like tight end Travis Kelce, wide receiver Tyreek Hill and running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire. They also have a strong defense that will make it a rough game for the Bengals.
Vegas has the Chiefs winning this one by a touchdown, but since no one really knows what Burrow and Chase can do in this kind of situation, anything really could happen.
2022 NFC Championship Game
Sunday, January 30, 2022 | 6:30 PM EST
In the NFC Championship, the Los Angeles Rams will host the San Francisco 49ers. Both teams seem to have finally found their winning formula, with the Rams defeating the defending champs, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the divisional round and the 49ers knocking off Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.
The 49ers last appeared in the Super Bowl in 2020 but lost out to the Kansas City Chiefs. Many people think this year’s Super Bowl could be a rematch, however what makes this 49ers team different, and what will make them hard for the Rams to beat is experience. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and head coach Kyle Shanahan aren’t fresh faces anymore and the team has significantly more depth at almost every position after facing two years of repeated injuries and the coronavirus pandemic.
When the Rams played in the Super Bowl back in 2019, they were led by Jared Goff who has since been replaced by Matt Stafford. Stafford is a seasoned vet who spent 12 years playing well on a not-good team with few to no weapons around him. He’s had a spectacular season with the Rams surrounded by great talent like the statistically best receiver in the NFL, Cooper Cupp and new addition OBJ. They also have a tough as nails defense, led by Aaron Donald and Von Miller, that can really keep them in games.
49ers coach Shanahan and Rams head coach Sean McVay are long time friends and this is sure to be a great chess match. Vegas is giving this one to the Rams by a little more than a field goal, but it wouldn’t surprise anyone to see the 49ers pull an upset here.
Watch the NFL Playoffs at Hibernia Bar
Come out and watch the NFL Playoffs at Hibernia Bar, Hell’s Kitchen’s best sports bar. You will find plenty of large screens, a fantastic game time atmosphere and the best food and drinks in NYC.