Championship Weekend Preview – Sporting Intelligence

Concise & Impartial Matchup Analysis Visualized

The Conference Championships kick off tomorrow and the 4 best rosters in football remain. Before we preview the AFC and NFC Championships, it’s important to look back and remember that with their season on the line and 75 yards to go, the Cowboys lined Ezekiel Elliot up at center, split their linemen wide outside of the numbers and then threw the ball to the only player inside the hashes for a 5-yard gain after the pass protection immediately broke down.

Jerry Jones was very sad after the game which tugs at your heartstrings because he is a very high character individual.

  • Three of the top four teams by Net YPP are still standing. Four of the top 7 offenses and three of the top 6 defenses by our efficiency ratings will play for a bid to go to the Super Bowl.

  • By the underlying metrics, the Eagles and 49ers are the two most dynamic and complete rosters in the NFC and as we expected, will face off in the NFC Championship in Philly.

  • The two top offenses in the AFC will be on the field at Arrowhead on Sunday.

  • The Cincinnati mayor declaring Joe Burrow as Patrick Mahomes’ father this week was not funny and also out of pocket for an elected official. His staff should be ashamed for being yes men and women and allowing him to embarrass himself so publicly.

PHI (-2.5) vs. SF (O/U 46.5)

  • It’s difficult to find holes in either of these rosters, evidenced by the slew of green above on either side’s league rankings on both sides of the ball. Both teams rank in the top 6 in the league in offensive and defensive efficiency. San Fran’s defense is widely regarded by many as the best in the league, but it is actually the Eagles who top the league by our efficiency ratings.

  • Brock Purdy has been very good filling in for Jimmy G since Week 11. The 49ers offense became arguably more potent under Purdy, who tends to push the ball down the field more aggressively than Garoppolo. San Fran ranks 3rd in yards per play, 5th in 3rd down conversion rate, 2nd in YPA, 8th in both explosive passing and rushing plays, 7th in sacks allowed and 7th in turnovers per game.

  • That said, Purdy has only faced one defense that finished this season in the top 10 of our defensive efficiency ratings, which was Dallas in the Divisional Round. Purdy was under pressure often and was not particularly spectacular. He’ll be facing a pass rush this week that led the league in sacks and now has 75 on the season.

  • If there is one weakness on the Eagles’ defensive side of the ball, it is in the run game, where the rank 24th on the season in yards per carry allowed. The 49ers’ offense is predicated on running the football, and they’ll likely try to establish it early to get play action going.

  • Mobile quarterbacks have fared well against SF’s defense this season, in part due to injuries to Jason Verrett and Emmanuel Moseley that have impacted their depth. Mobile quarterbacks that can escape SF’s pass rush leave SF’s corners exposed for longer periods of time. In consecutive weeks in the middle of the season, Marcus Mariota finished 13-14 for 129 yds and 2 passing TD’s through the air to go with 6 rushes for 50 yards and 1 TD in a 28-14 win, while Patrick Mahomes threw for 423 yards on just 25-34 passing for 3 TD’s and 1 INT a week later.

  • San Fran ranks 6th in the league in sacks in 2022 with 46 in total. Nick Bosa has racked up 18.5, but no other pass rusher on the defensive line has accumulated more than 5 sacks. The Eagles on the other hand have four pass rushers with over 10 sacks: Hasson Reddick (16.0 sacks), Josh Sweat (11.0 sacks), Javon Hargrave (11.0 sacks), Brandon Graham (11.0 sacks).

  • Deommodore Lenoir has been a weak link in SF’s secondary, Since Week 13, Lenoir has allowed the sixth most yards in coverage among all cornerbacks and was the third-most targeted corner. In Week 17, Jarrett Stidham completed five of 8 attempts over 20 yards for 177 yards and 2 TD’s. Lenoir allowed a passer rating of 113.7, and Davante Adams caught 7 balls for 153 yards and 2 TD’s. Expect the Eagles, who rank 3rd in yards per attempt and just outside the top 10 in explosive passing plays created to target Lenoir and try to take some shots over the top early in this game to AJ Brown and/or Devonta Smith.

  • Elijah Mitchell did not practice this week and is listed as questionable, though Kyle Shanahan has indicated that he expects Mitchell to play. That said, this could mean more touches for Christian McCaffrey who has now scored a TD in 8 straight games. On the anytime TD scorer front, McCaffrey is a good option at -130.

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KC (-1.5) vs. CIN (O/U 48.5)

  • The rematch of last season’s AFC Championship game is on at Arrowhead Stadium. The mayor of Cincinnati and several players on the Bengals are being very arrogant this week, making false claims about Joe Burrow being the father of Patrick Mahomes and calling Arrowhead Stadium Burrowhead Stadium.

  • This line has bounced all over the place based on updates on Patrick Mahomes’ high ankle sprain throughout the week. He looks like he will have some mobility on Sunday based on reports out of practice his week (full participant on Friday), and the line moved from Bengals -2.5 back to Chiefs -1.5 a few days ago as a result.

  • There are going to be two high-powered offenses on the field on Sunday. The Chiefs rank 1st in offensive efficiency, while Cincy ranks 4th. The Chiefs lead the league in explosive passing plays created, while the Bengals rank 5th. The Chiefs lead the league in RZ trips and rank 2nd in RZ TD %. Bengals rank 5th in % of drives to reach the RZ and 6th in RZ TD%, facing a Chiefs defense that ranks 31st in the league in RZ TD %.

  • The Bengals rank 6th in the league in passing YPG and will face an opposing Chiefs’ secondary that ranks 26th in defensive efficiency and 24th in passing YPG allowed. In the calendar year 2022, Burrow is 3-0 against the Chiefs and has turned in the below stat lines:

    • Jan-22: 30-39, 446 yards, 4 TD’s, 0 INT’s. Jamar Chase caught 11 balls for 266 yards and 3 TD’s.

    • Jan-22 (AFC Championship Game): 23-38, 250 yards, 2 TD’s, 1 INT; 5 rushes for 25 yards. Jamar Chase caught 6 balls for 54 yards and 1 TD.

    • Dec-22: 25-31, 286 yards, 2 TD’s, 0 INT’s; 11 rushes, 46 yards, 1 TD. Jamar Chase caught 7 balls for 97 yards.

  • KC has some advantages on both sides of the offensive and defensive line against Cincy:

    • KC’s OL ranks 3rd in sacks allowed, while Cincy ranks 29th in sacks created.

    • KC’s DL ranks 3rd in sacks created, while Cincy’s OL ranks 25th in sacks allowed

  • The Bengals’ OL held up well last week against Buffalo’s pass rush but will face another tough test against a KC pass rush that ranks 3rd in the league in sacks with 57 in total this season. It’s important to remember that the Bengals are down 3 starting offensive linemen heading into this game, which could force Burrow to escape the pocket and make some plays with his legs.

  • The Chiefs rank 28th in the league in QB rushing yards allowed in 2022. We like Burrow to go over both his passing yardage prop at 277.5 and rushing yardage prop at 17.5.

  • We also like the OVER 48 in this one due to the efficiency on both sides of the matchup on the offensive side and deficiencies in KC’s secondary and Cincy’s pass rush. Each of the L3 matchups of these teams have gone over this total, finishing at 51 twice and 64 once. Ron Torbert and his crew are officiating this game and have called the 2nd most defensive pass interference calls in the league this season. The Chiefs lead the league in defensive pass interference penalties with 14.

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