What To Look For – Conference Championships
For the first time in NFL history, each of the four teams playing in the Conference Championships, presented by Intuit TurboTax, enter the weekend with 14-or-more wins, including postseason – the SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (15-4) and PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (15-3) in the NFC and the CINCINNATI BENGALS (14-4) and KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (15-3) in the AFC.
San Francisco led the league in both total defense (300.6 yards allowed per game) and scoring defense (16.3 points allowed per game) this season. The 49ers are looking to become the fourth team in the past 10 seasons to lead the NFL in total defense and make the Super Bowl in the same year, joining Denver in 2015 and Seattle in both 2013 and 2014.
Philadelphia ranked second in the NFL in defense this season, allowing 301.5 yards per game. The Eagles also led the league with 70 sacks, tied for the third-most ever by a team in a single season. They can become the fifth team since 2000 to lead the league in sacks and make the Super Bowl in the same year, joining Denver in 2015, Pittsburgh in 2010, the New York Giants in 2007 and Seattle in 2005.
Kansas City led the league in both total offense (413.6 yards per game) and scoring offense (29.2 points per game) in 2022. The Chiefs can become the fourth team in the past 10 seasons to lead the NFL in total offense and make the Super Bowl in the same year, joining the Chiefs in 2020, the Patriots in 2017 and the Broncos in 2013.
Both Philadelphia and Kansas City earned the No. 1 seed in their respective conferences and with victories by each team on Sunday, it would mark the 14th time since the NFL began seeding teams in 1975 that both top seeds faced off in the Super Bowl, and the first time in five years.
Cincinnati is looking to return to the Super Bowl in consecutive seasons after its victory at Buffalo last week in the Divisional Round. Last year, the Bengals captured road victories at No. 1 seed Tennessee and No. 2 seed Kansas City to earn a trip to Super Bowl LVI.
With a win on Sunday at Kansas City (6:30 PM ET, CBS/Paramount+), Cincinnati can become the first team since the NFL began seeding teams in 1975 to defeat the No. 1 seed in its conference in consecutive postseasons. The Bengals would also become the second team ever to win two road playoff games in consecutive seasons, joining the 2009-10 New York Jets.
— CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS —
CHAMPIONSHIP COACHES: Kansas City head coach ANDY REID is set to make his 10th Conference Championship appearance, tied for the second-most ever by a head coach. After leading Philadelphia to Super Bowl XXXIX and Kansas City to Super Bowls LIV and LV, Reid can become the ninth head coach in NFL history to appear in at least four Super Bowls.
Reid enters Sunday with 20 career postseason victories and can surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer TOM LANDRY (20 postseason wins) for the second-most playoff wins by a head coach in NFL history. Only BILL BELICHICK (31 wins) has more.
The head coaches with the most career postseason wins in NFL history:
|HEAD COACH||TEAM(S)||POSTSEASON WINS|
|Bill Belichick||Cleveland, New England||31|
|Andy Reid||Philadelphia, Kansas City||20|
On the opposite sideline in the AFC Championship game will be Cincinnati’s ZAC TAYLOR, looking to become the third head coach in NFL history to appear in two Super Bowls within his first four seasons, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer JOE GIBBS and MIKE TOMLIN.
Taylor can also tie Gibbs (six postseason wins) for the most playoff wins by a head coach within his first four seasons in NFL history.
— CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS —
MINING FOR GOLD: The SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS are aiming for their second Super Bowl appearance in four years and eighth overall in franchise history.
The 49ers have 36 total playoff wins and with a victory at Philadelphia on Sunday (3:00 PM ET, FOX/FOX Deportes), will tie the NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (37 wins) for the most postseason wins by a franchise in NFL history.
The franchises with the most postseason victories in NFL history:
|TEAM||WINS||SUPER BOWL TITLES|
Rookie quarterback BROCK PURDY has won each of his first seven career starts, including playoffs, and last week became the fifth rookie quarterback ever to start and win in the Divisional round. With a win on Sunday, Purdy will become the first rookie quarterback in NFL history to start and win a Conference Championship game and the first rookie quarterback ever to start and win three postseason games.
Running back CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY has 310 scrimmage yards (103.3 per game) and three touchdowns (two receiving, one rushing) in three career postseason games, with at least 50 scrimmage yards and a touchdown in each contest.
If he reaches those marks again on Sunday, McCaffrey will become the sixth running back in NFL history with at least 50 scrimmage yards and a touchdown in each of his first four career postseason games.
The running backs with at least 50 scrimmage yards and a touchdown in the most consecutive postseason games to begin a career in NFL history:
|Marcus AllenHOF||L.A. Raiders, Kansas City||7|
|Curtis MartinHOF||New England, N.Y. Jets||5|
|Arian Foster||Houston Texans||4|
|Christian McCaffrey||Carolina, San Francisco||3*|
Defensive lineman NICK BOSA led the NFL with a career-high 18.5 sacks this season. With a 49ers victory on Sunday, Bosa will become the sixth player to lead the league in sacks and advance to the Super Bowl in the same season since 1982, when the individual sack became an official statistic.
The players to lead the league in sacks and advance to the Super Bowl in the same season since 1982:
|Aaron Donald||L.A. Rams||2018||20.5|
|Kevin Carter||St. Louis Rams||1999||17|
|Lawrence TaylorHOF||N.Y. Giants||1986||20.5|
— CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS —
FLY, EAGLES, FLY: The PHILADELPHIA EAGLES are aiming for their fourth Super Bowl appearance in franchise history and second in six seasons.
Quarterback JALEN HURTS totaled three touchdowns (two passing, one rushing) in last week’s Divisional tound victory, after leading all quarterbacks with 13 rushing touchdowns in the regular season. With another rushing touchdown against San Francisco on Sunday (3:00 PM ET, FOX/FOX Deportes), Hurts will become the first quarterback in NFL history with 15 rushing touchdowns in a single season, including playoffs.
As a team, Philadelphia led the league with 32 rushing touchdowns in the regular season, tied for the second-most by a team in a season in the Super Bowl era. Last week, the Eagles totaled 268 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns.
With two rushing touchdowns on Sunday, the Eagles will tie the 1962 GREEN BAY PACKERS (37 rushing touchdowns) for the most rushing touchdowns ever by a team in a single season, including playoffs.
After leading the league with 70 sacks this season, Philadelphia totaled five sacks in the Divisional playoffs. With five sacks in the Conference Championship, the Eagles will tie the 1985 CHICAGO BEARS (80 sacks) for the second-most sacks ever by a team in a single season, including playoffs.
The teams with the most sacks in a season in NFL history, including playoffs:
Philadelphia can also become the first team in NFL history to record at least five sacks in nine games within a single season, including playoffs.
— CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS —
JOE & JA’MARR: The CINCINNATI BENGALS are aiming for their fourth Super Bowl appearance in franchise history and can become the fourth different franchise since 2000 to appear in consecutive Super Bowls, joining Kansas City (2019-20), New England (2003-04 and 2016-18) and Seattle (2013-14).
Quarterback JOE BURROW is 5-1 in six career postseason starts and with a win at Kansas City on Sunday (6:30 PM ET, CBS/Paramount+) would tie RUSSELL WILSON (six wins) for the most postseason wins by a starting quarterback in his first three seasons in NFL history.
The starting quarterbacks with the most postseason wins in their first three seasons in NFL history:
|*In third season|
Burrow, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft, can also become the fourth quarterback selected No. 1 overall to win consecutive Conference Championships, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers TROY AIKMAN (1992-93), TERRY BRADSHAW (1974-75 and 1978-79) and JOHN ELWAY (1986-87 and 1997-98).
Wide receiver JA’MARR CHASE has 513 receiving yards in six career postseason games (85.5 per game), the second-most ever by a player in his first two seasons. Only CHARLIE BROWN (643 receiving yards) has more. In each of his first six playoff games, Chase has recorded at least five receptions and 50 receiving yards.
With five catches on Sunday, Chase will become the second player in NFL history with at least five receptions in each of his first seven career playoff games, joining WES WELKER.
Additionally, Chase can become the fifth player ever with at least 50 receiving yards in each of his first seven career playoff games, joining Brown, ERNIE MILLS, JULIO JONES and Welker.
— CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS —
KANSAS CITY OF CHAMPIONS: The KANSAS CITY CHIEFS will be making their fifth consecutive AFC Championship game appearance and are aiming for their third Super Bowl appearance in four years and fifth in franchise history.
Quarterback PATRICK MAHOMES led the NFL with 5,520 passing yards and 41 touchdown passes this season and with a win against Cincinnati on Sunday (6:30 PM ET, CBS/Paramount+) can become the fifth player ever to lead the league in passing yards and touchdown passes and make the Super Bowl in the same season, joining TOM BRADY in 2007 and Pro Football Hall of Famers PEYTON MANNING in 2013, DAN MARINO in 1984 and KURT WARNER in 2001.
The players to lead the league in passing yards and touchdown passes and advance to the Super Bowl in the same season in NFL history:
|PLAYER||TEAM||SEASON||PASSING YARDS||TD PASSES|
|Tom Brady||New England||2007||4,806||50|
|Kurt WarnerHOF||St. Louis Rams||2001||4,830||36|
Tight end TRAVIS KELCE totaled 14 catches for 98 yards and two touchdowns in last week’s Divisional round victory, his seventh consecutive postseason game with at least 95 receiving yards, the longest streak in NFL history. He enters Sunday with 1,389 career postseason receiving yards, tied with ROB GRONKOWSKI for the third-most in NFL history.
The players with the most postseason receiving yards in NFL history:
|Jerry RiceHOF||San Francisco, Oakland Raiders||2,245|
|Julian Edelman||New England||1,442|
|Rob Gronkowski||New England, Tampa Bay||1,389|
|Travis Kelce||Kansas City||1,389|
Last week also marked Kelce’s fourth consecutive playoff game with a touchdown reception and he can join Gronkowski (six consecutive games from 2014-17) as the only tight ends ever with a touchdown reception in at least five straight playoff games. He can also tie Gronkowski (15 touchdown receptions) for the second-most career postseason touchdown receptions in NFL history. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer JERRY RICE (22) has more.
The players with the most postseason touchdown receptions in NFL history:
|Jerry RiceHOF||San Francisco, Oakland Raiders||22|
|Rob Gronkowski||New England, Tampa Bay||15|
|Travis Kelce||Kansas City||14|
Defensive end FRANK CLARK recorded his 12th-career postseason sack last week, tied for the fourth-most since 1982, when the individual sack became an official statistic. With a sack on Sunday, Clark will surpass TERRELL SUGGS (12.5 sacks) for the third-most NFL postseason sacks since 1982. Only WILLIE MCGINEST (16) and Pro Football Hall of Famer BRUCE SMITH (14.5) have more.
The players with the most NFL postseason sacks since 1982:
|Willie McGinest||New England||16|
|Terrell Suggs||Baltimore Ravens||12.5|
|Frank Clark||Seattle, Kansas City||12|
|Reggie WhiteHOF||Philadelphia, Green Bay||12|
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