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A Closer Look at the NFL Conference Championship Matchups: Key Players and Predictions

TheDyspatch A Closer Look at the NFL Conference Championship Matchups: Key Players and Predictions article thumbnail

Kansas City Chiefs @ Baltimore Ravens

AFC title game showdown between two of the best QBs in the league and the two best defenses in the league. The Chiefs are heading to another AFC championship game they haven’t missed an AFC game since the 2019 season, they will also be looking to win back to back super bowls this hasn’t been done since Brady Patriots won 03/04 - 04/05. An extremely tall task for any team in this league however the Chiefs look great as they took down the Bills 27-24 Mahomes finish with 215 yards 2 touchdowns completing 17 of 23 passes, Defense of the Chiefs started slow due to the run game of the Bills, through 3 quarters Bills had averaged 3.9 yards before contact per rush and 3 of the 31 attempts Bills had been hit at or hit behind the line of scrimmage (per nextgen stats) Ravens had a dominant performance vs Texans Lamar handled the blitz well completing 16 of 22 passes, finishing with 2 touchdowns and 152 yards. He also ran for 100 yards and had 2 touchdowns, Ravens defense silenced and completely dismantled the hot Texans offense limiting them to 0 rushing or passing touchdowns, 10 first downs and 213 total yards.

Stats to know - Chiefs are heading to their sixth straight AFC title game in that time they are 3-2. This is the first playoff meeting between these 2 QBs in the regular season Mahomes leads 3-1, last meeting was 2021 where Lamar and the Ravens won 36-35. Per ESPN - Steve Spagnuolo has been the DC since 2019 and since then no team has allowed more rushing touchdowns to quarterbacks in the regular season (29)

How do the Chiefs win? - Defense and playmakers being ready to ball. The Chiefs defense was really exposed in the run game against Bills, Giving up 182 rushing yards, as mentioned in the first 3 quarters Bills had 31 attempts only 3 of those attempts the ball carrier was hit at or hit behind the line of scrimmage. On the other side of things Lamar and the Ravens are an incredible rushing team, Justice Hill and Gus Edwards combined for 100 rushing yards and Lamar had 100 rushing yards himself. The defense will really need to step it up if they want to win, Texans were a heavy blitz team which Lamar managed to overcome, Spagnuolo has great defensive schemes especially in passing plays with the elite DBs they’ll make it hard for Lamar to dot his receivers. We know Mahomes himself can be a game changer but there is only so much he can do, Kelce being Mahomes top target is no surprise he finished with 75 yards and 2 touchdowns Pacheco has also been a star playmaker, rushing for 97 yards vs Bills. MVS, Rice, and Gray will need to play their against these Ravens DBs especially since Humphrey is expected to return

How do the Ravens win? Run, run and more running mixed with strong defense. Setting the tone and running down the Chiefs will be a start to taking down the Chiefs. As we know Chiefs struggled early vs the run against Bills, they didn’t have a huge chunk of play time due to the Bills running the ball. Lamar, Gus and Hill combined for 200 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns. Copying the Bills flow and shoving the run game down the throats of the Chiefs defense is a recipe for success, we know Todd Monken has got the most out of Lamar offensive capabilities, Ravens offense has been on fire thanks to Monken if anyone is capable of breaking the Chiefs defense its Monken and Lamar Jackson. Ravens defense has been out of this world, hard hitters, secure tacklers and shutdown players. They are nasty and tough allowing the fewest points in the league and being a high scoring defensive side, they’ll really need to focus on Kelce and Pacheco who are clear game changers along with Mahomes. Shutting down these 2 will be no easy task.

Winner? - Baltimore Ravens. I think this is it, the only time I’d bet against the Chiefs is NOW against the Ravens. This team has been insanely good and I mean REALLY good the defense as we know statistically one of the best and the film and eye test back it up, the offense has changed drastically since Monken came in during the offseason, utilizing Lamar Jackson getting the most out of it playmakers have been game changers, Zay Flowers has had a strong rookie year, Odell and Bateman are able to put pressure on defense and be solid playmakers. The run game has been fantastic from Gus and Lamar. There aren’t really many holes to exploit here this has been an all time high for Lamar and Ravens and I think they’ve got enough to send the defending champs home. 

Predictions from The Dyspatch Team?

Lock - Ravens 

Kia - Ravens 

DawgProcess - Ravens 

Lorenzo - Ravens 

Hush - Chiefs 

Kevin - Chiefs

Shaney - Chiefs 

Wen'S - Ravens 

Jad - Ravens

Overall: 7 Ravens - 3 Chiefs 

Detroit Lions DBs tackle San Francisco 49ers Wide Receiver

Detriot Lions @ San Francisco 49ers

NFC title game who would’ve thought Dan Campbell Detroit Lions would be here vs the Niners?? Not me, that's for sure… Lions are at an all time high right now they just took down the Baker led Buccaneers, Goff finishing with 287 yards and 2 touchdowns completing 30 of 43 passes. The entire offense had a game, Gibbs finished with 74 rushing yards and 1 touchdown. The offense has been electric and been the main selling point of this team. Niners on the other hand are strong but haven’t looked merely as dominant since the Eagles game, Niners took on Packers and won 24-21 in a very close game Niners won with a game sealing pick from a horrible throw from Love. Purdy and Kittle doing most of the damage from passing and Mccaffrey running like an MVP finished with 98 yards and 2 touchdowns. How does the electric offense compare to an extremely good defense?

Stats to know - Detroit and San Francisco are both tied (with Miami) for most rushing touchdowns being 27. Niners are 18-1 when Purdy, Deebo and Mccaffery all play since Purdy first career start, in the same time the team is 2-4 when any one of those 3 do not play. 

How do the Lions win? - All out offense and stopping the run. Run defense is critical stuffing the gaps making sure no cutbacks are available for CMC it’ll be down to the inside DL to stop this on the edge guys like Aidan will need to shut down and turn those outside zones into inside ones but they’ll also need to throw Purdy off his game and pressure him. A really tough task when Shanahan is a genius and Mccaffrey is playing like an MVP back. Offense will need to score and score A LOT. The passing defense is suspect as evidence vs Baker and Stafford. Gibbs is a monster running back with sharp cuts, toughened and elusiveness he ran down Buccaneers and will be needed again vs Niners. Amon Ra and LaPorta, two of the main targets for Goff combined for 140 yards and 1 touchdown, Lions have the playmakers but will they be able to produce vs Niners?

How do the Niners win? - Control the blitz, set the tone with defense, let Purdy cook. Tempo and control is what Purdy needs here to let him find his rhythm, incredible OLine vs a tough DLine they’ll need to avoid letting pressure get to Purdy. Defense will need to come up big. They went sackless vs Green Bay but maybe things will change this time. The DLine will need to pressure Goff. We know Goff isn’t the best vs the blitz and pressure. While he’s shown improvement he is still pretty average and can get really bad at times. They’ll need to pressure and look out for the short passes to Amon Ra and LaPorta as well as Gibbs who is versatile, Niners will need to be the typical secure tacklers they are if they want to win.

Winner? - San Francisco 49ers. I mean it’s a tough pick. While I want the Lions and this Cinderella story to continue with a great upset, my gut feeling is telling me the Niners win. Niners just have too much on paper an overwhelming amount of powers they have a superbowl roster but can they make it work? The Niners haven’t seemed dominant since the Eagles game, against Green Bay it’s pretty dead even in a close game that was won by a poor throw from Love. Whatever the Niners did against the Eagles they need to bring that energy back against the Lions.

Predictions from The Dyspatch Team?

Hush - 49ers 

DawgProcess - 49ers

Shaney - 49ers

Wen'S - 49ers

Lorenzo - 49ers

Lock - Lions 

Kevin - Lions 

Kia - Lions

Jad - 49ers

Overall: 7 Niners - 3 Lions 

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