NFL Conference Championship Games Preview And Injury Reports

This weekend we see the two NFL Conference Championship games being played on Sunday night.

First up, we have the AFC title game as the Cincinnati Bengals and Kansas City Chiefs renew their rivalry just a few weeks after they played in Ohio, with the Bengals edging the Chiefs in what proved to be a high-quality encounter.

This will be followed by the NFC Conference Championship clash between two NFC West rivals as the Los Angeles Rams host the San Francisco 49ers just three weeks after the 49ers clinched a key overtime win between the two teams that ensured they would be in the playoffs this season.

My colleague Collin Hulbert is going to give you his tips for both games this week so here we are going to focus on a little more of the historical aspect of the two games, as well as giving you the latest news from this week’s practises for all four teams.

All betting odds quote in this article come courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook and were correct at the time of writing, but may have changed in the run up to both Sunday’s games.

Also note that data shown for Divisional, Conference and Super Bowl wins also include results from before the AFL-NFL Merger in 1970.

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AFC – Cincinnati Bengals @ Kansas City Chiefs

After the incredible Bills @ Chiefs game last week, the prospect of another high-octane offense coming into Arrowhead to take on the Chiefs is mouth-watering,

Especially as when the teams played in Ohio just a couple of weeks ago, the Bengals edged an exciting encounter 34-31.

The Bengals have beaten the Las Vegas Raiders (5) and the Tennessee Titans (1) to reach the AFC Conference Championship game.

The Chiefs have bettered the Pittsburgh Steelers (7) and the Buffalo Bills (3) in order to earn a shot at their third Super Bowl appearance in three years.

Bengals @ Chiefs Factfile

Venue – Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City
Head Coaches – Zac Taylor (Bengals), Andy Reid (Chiefs)
All Time Record (Bengals first) – 16-14-0
Last Game (Date) –1/2/2022 – Chiefs 31-34 Bengals
Win/Losing Streaks – The Bengals have won five of the last six games between the teams and seven of the last ten. Those games stretch from just a couple of weeks back through to January 1989.
Divisional Title Wins – Bengals – 10, Chiefs – 14
Conference Title Wins – Bengals – 2, Chiefs – 5
Super Bowl Wins – Bengals – 0, Chiefs – 2

Cincinnati Bengals Team News

The Bengals listed quarterback Joe Burrow and WR Tee Higgins on their injury report this week, but they, along with LB Keandre Jones, all participate fully in practise and will play this weekend.

More worrying is WR Stanley Morgan’s hamstring injury and DT Josh. Tupou’s knee issue which saw them both limited in practise, while DE Cam Sample has not participated in practise as yet this week and must be a doubt for the big game.

Kansas City Chiefs Team News

There were several Chiefs players on their injury report, including WR Tyreek Hill,RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire, OT Chris Jones and CB Charvarius Ward, but all participated in practice fully this week.

S Tyrann Mathieu’s participation remains unclear as he recovers from concussion, although he has practised as per normal this week and the odds of him playing have improved markedly as a result.

More of a worry is RB Darrell Williams, which saw him limited in practise this week and means he may not be fit enough to feature in the game.

Bengals @ Chiefs Betting News

The odds on the two teams have remained relatively steady this week with the Chiefs still the heavy -7.5 favorites. The Chiefs are -355 on the moneyline, with the Bengals +285. I think there will be plenty of takers for that price for the Bengals as we head towards game day.

NFC – San Francisco 49ers @ Los Angeles Rams

These two divisional foes will be no stranger to each other especially as they met on the — from the Washington Football Team vs. Los Angeles Rams at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland. October 11, 2020 (All-Pro Reels Photography)

final week of regular season action, a game which the 49ers won in overtime to clinch their spot in the playoffs at the expense of the New Orleans Saints.

Rams fans will be well aware that the 49ers have won all the last six meetings between the two teams, including both games in the NFC West this season.

The 49ers have come through two tough games against the Dallas Cowboys (3) and the Green Bay Packers (1) in order to reach this stage of the competition.

While the Rams have beaten another divisional rival in the Arizona Cardinals (5) and the Super Bowl holders Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2) to reach this stage.

49ers @ Rams Factfile

Venue – SoFi Stadium, Inglewood, Los Angeles
Head Coaches – Kyle Shanahan (49ers), Sean McVay (Rams)
All Time Record (49ers first) – 75-67-3
Last Game (Date) – 1/9/2022 – 49ers 27-24 Rams (OT)
Win/Losing Streaks – The 49ers have won all the last six between the teams and 10 of the last 13 games stretching back to January 2016. The 49ers have won five of the last six times they have played as the away team against the Rams.
Divisional Title Wins – 49ers – 20, Rams – 18
Conference Title Wins – 49ers – 7, Rams – 7
Super Bowl Wins – 49ers – 5, Rams – 3

San Francisco 49ers Team News

Most worrying for 49ers fans is the condition of T Trent Williams, who has not practiced this week and though Kyle Shanahan feels he will play, he will clearly not be 100% for the game. RB Jeffrey Wilson is another yet to practice this week with an ankle injury.

Another RB Elijah Mitchell has returned to limited practice, while C Alex Mack, DL Nick Bosa, CB Ambry Thomas, and QB Jimmy Garoppolo all participate fully on Thursday after being on the original Wednesday injury report.

Los Angeles Rams Team News

Offensive Lineman Jeff Noteboom has missed Wednesday and Thursday’s practice with a chest injury, but WR Van Jerfferson, RB Buddy Howell,  STaylor Rapp and OL Andrew Whitworth have all returned to practice in some capacity this week.

QB John Wolford has picked up an illness and did not participate on Thursday but it is Noteboom that remains the biggest injury doubt for the Rams.

49ers @ Rams Betting News

Despite their appalling recent record against the 49ers, the Rams remain the -3.5 favorites to win this game. They are -176 on the money line while the 49ers are +148. My gut feeling is that this price on the 49ers will shorten as we head towards the game, so it may be best to take that price now, if you fancy San Francisco to land the win.

Author: Paula Dunn