What to know about the NFL conference championship games

Two NFL games on Sunday will decide which teams make it to the Super Bowl.

So far, the post-season matchups come as little surprise: The league’s two top-seeded teams — San Francisco and Baltimore — have sailed to their respective conference championship games, and are favored to win on their home turf. Home teams are more than twice as likely to win in conference games, based on past matchups since the 2000 season, according to The Athletic.

In the American Football Conference game, the Baltimore Ravens will play the Kansas City Chiefs. The San Francisco 49ers and the Detroit Lions are playing for the National Football Conference title.

Baltimore Ravens vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, center, and Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, right, embrace after an NFL football game in 2020, in Baltimore. Jackson and Mahomes will face each other in the AFC championship game in Baltimore on Sunday. (Gail Burton/AP)

The Chiefs took home the Super Bowl title last year in a 38-35 win over the Philadelphia Eagles. In this conference championship game, though, the No. 1 Ravens are favored to beat the Chiefs by 4 points, according to the latest SportsLine odds. The defending champions bring experience, having won two Super Bowl titles in their three visits to the big game since 2019.

Patrick Mahomes, a twice NFL and Super Bowl MVP, leads the Chiefs. The quarterback this season has a career-high in interceptions, but his receivers struggle to meet his passes, with 44 dropped, the most in the league.

Still, the Ravens bring a strong defense, and quarterback Lamar Jackson — the 2019 MVP winner and a frontrunner for another MVP award this season — is on a career-high for his passing game. He’s the only MVP to have never made it to a Super Bowl.

The game starts at 3 p.m. ET.

San Francisco 49ers vs. Detroit Lions

San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle, right, is pursued by Detroit Lions defensive back Tracy Walker III during a 2021 meeting in Detroit. (Duane Burleson/AP)

The No. 1-seeded 49ers are the 7.5-favorite against the Lions. It’s Detroit’s first conference championship game since the 1991 season — their first Super Bowl in franchise history is at stake. The underdogs have captured America’s vote, according to an SBNation poll.

On the Lions, quarterback Jared Goff has been key to getting his team to this stage, managing to stay calm under pressure. He’s been turnover-prone in the past, but in the past two weeks has completed close to 75% of his passes without a turnover, the Detroit Free Press reported.

Niners quarterback Brock Purdy, meanwhile, also has a lot to prove. He went from “Mr. Irrelevant” to leading San Francisco in the playoffs in only his second NFL season.

Game starts at 6:30 p.m. ET

When is the Super Bowl?

Super Bowl Sunday is Feb. 11 with a kickoff time of 6:30 p.m. ET, airing on CBS. The game will be played at Allegiant Stadium in Paradise, Nev., the home turf of the Las Vegas Raiders.

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  • January 28, 2024
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