NFL playoff picks, schedule, odds

The convention championship spherical (schedule) for the 2022 NFL season has two nice matchups. Our NFL Nation reporters ship the largest keys and daring predictions for every contest.

Moreover, ESPN Stats & Info provides a vital stat and betting nugget, and our Soccer Energy Index (FPI) goes contained in the numbers with a recreation projection. Matt Bowen picks a matchup to observe in each video games and Kevin Seifert tells us what to know in regards to the officiating. Lastly, Seth Walder and Eric Moody predict the ultimate rating and choose winners for every recreation (additionally, see picks). Lots right here for what is predicted to be an thrilling weekend of playoff soccer.

Let’s look at the convention championships, which options Jalen Hurts vs. Brock Purdy and Patrick Mahomes vs. Joe Burrow. Who will advance to Tremendous Bowl LVII?

Word: New for this season’s playoffs, every workforce can be assured a possession if a recreation goes to additional time.

Soar to a matchup:

3 p.m. ET | Fox | Unfold: PHI -2.5 (46)

What to observe for: This matchup options arguably the 2 finest defenses within the NFL. Philadelphia led the league in go protection (179.8 yards allowed per recreation) and sacks (70) throughout the common season, whereas the Niners led the best way in interceptions (20) and have been second in rush protection (79.0 yards allowed per recreation). However enter Niners working again Christian McCaffrey (has scored a landing in eight straight video games) and Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (332.5 passing yards per recreation and 7 touchdowns towards top-10 defenses this season). There are only a few holes on both roster. “That’s what the NFC Championship Game should be,” Philadelphia coach Nick Sirianni stated. “It’s going to be good on good, and it’s going to be tight.” — Tim McManus

Daring prediction: The 49ers’ streak of 27 straight video games with out permitting a rusher to surpass 70 yards on the bottom (together with playoffs) will come to an finish due to Hurts. The Niners have struggled towards cell quarterbacks in previous seasons however did not see many this season, which is why they have been fifth within the NFL in yards allowed per rush to quarterbacks (3.4). Hurts presents a much bigger problem, rating fourth amongst quarterbacks in dashing yards (760) and first in dashing touchdowns (13). He ran for 82 yards and a rating in Week 2 final season towards San Francisco, and with the Niners keying on slowing the deep-ball passing recreation, he might supply an analogous efficiency on the bottom. — Nick Wagoner

Stat to know: San Francisco has closely relied on pre-snap movement to assist rookie quarterback Brock Purdy, utilizing it on 73% of his dropbacks, together with the playoffs. Purdy has excelled there, rating fourth in QBR (80.0) and first in yards per try (9.2) amongst passers with not less than 100 makes an attempt over the common and postseasons. However that components can be examined by the Eagles’ go protection, which has allowed the league’s lowest QBR (33.2) and third-lowest yards per try (6.3) to opposing quarterbacks on performs with pre-snap movement.

Bowen’s game-plan key: Edge rusher Haason Reddick has 17.5 sacks in his first season with the Eagles, together with 1.5 in final week’s divisional-round win over the Giants. With Reddick’s first-step quickness and skill to bend and minimize the nook, Philadelphia can scheme extra one-on-ones whereas additionally utilizing stunts to wrap him inside. His 27.6% go rush win charge ranked second within the NFL to Dallas’ Micah Parsons this season. Learn extra at ESPN+.

Accidents: 49ers | Eagles

What to know for officiating: Referee John Hussey’s regular-season crew threw the third-fewest flags in 2022, together with two for roughing the passer and 24 for offensive holding, each the bottom within the NFL. That’s excellent news for each the 49ers and Eagles, who have been known as for the second- and third-most offensive holding penalties within the league, respectively, throughout the common season. — Seifert

Betting nugget: Purdy is 6-1 towards the unfold as a beginning quarterback, all as a favourite. It ties the fifth-longest favourite streak to start a profession by any quarterback for the reason that 1970 merger (together with playoffs). And San Francisco has lined 5 straight playoff video games, the longest energetic streak by any workforce. Learn extra at ESPN+.

Moody’s choose: Eagles 27, 49ers 24
Walder’s choose: Eagles 24, 49ers 16
FPI prediction: PHI, 65.3% (by a mean of 4.5 factors)

Matchup must-reads: Contained in the commerce that despatched McCaffrey to the 49ers … How Johnson discovered his happiness after practically quitting the sport … Niners prepared to let authorized course of play out with Omenihu … Brown says he is not a ‘diva,’ however he needs the ball … Has Purdy recalibrated the 49ers’ future quarterback plans? … Are the Eagles all the best way again to their finest?

6:30 p.m. ET | CBS | Unfold: KC -1.5 (47)

What to observe for: In the course of the common season, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes led the NFL in QBR (73.0) on throws from contained in the pocket. And that is the place he’ll probably should do most of his work towards the Bengals contemplating a excessive ankle sprain he suffered within the divisional spherical and his efficiency towards the Bengals in Week 13. In that the majority current matchup between these groups, Mahomes had one among his finest QBR outings (79.6) from contained in the pocket and one among his worst QBR showings (14.0) from outdoors the pocket. The Bengals are on a 10-game win streak, and each groups are 11-0 when scoring first this season. — Adam Teicher

Daring prediction: The Bengals will rating extra purple zone touchdowns than the Chiefs. The Bengals ranked fifth in purple zone effectivity on offense and tied for ninth on protection throughout the common season. Whereas the Kansas Metropolis offense scores loads of touchdowns from contained in the 20-yard line (second), its purple zone protection was one of many worst within the league (thirty first) throughout the common season. The workforce that may finish drives with touchdowns can have the within observe to profitable the Lamar Hunt Trophy and advancing to the Tremendous Bowl. — Ben Child

Stat to know: Every protection might have its arms full containing the fast passing recreation. Cincinnati quarterback Joe Burrow (19) and Mahomes (18) rank first and second, respectively, in landing passes on throws underneath 2.5 seconds, together with the playoffs. And the Chiefs’ after-the-catch capacity has stood out, too, particularly on Mahomes’ fast throws. Kansas Metropolis has generated extra yards after the catch than any workforce this season (2,908) and has the third-highest per-catch common of any offense (6.3). Total, yards after the catch have accounted for 53% of the Chiefs’ receiving yards, the second-highest charge within the league. However Cincinnati’s protection ranks sixth in limiting after-the-catch manufacturing, retaining pass-catchers to simply 4.7 yards after the catch per reception.

Bowen’s game-plan key: Cincinnati wants a devoted plan for Chiefs tight finish Travis Kelce. Cornerback Tre Flowers is its typical tight finish matchup defender in dime seems, however he is working by means of a hamstring damage. We might see safeties Dax Hill or Vonn Bell in man protection, however defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo may additionally have a defender jam and reroute Kelce on the line of scrimmage in zone seems after which sink to depth. Learn extra at ESPN+.

Accidents: Bengals | Chiefs

What to know for officiating: Referee Ron Torbert’s regular-season crew averaged 12 flags per recreation, fifth-fewest within the league. It threw 33 flags for defensive go interference, unlawful contact and defensive holding, the NFL’s third-lowest whole. That needs to be of notice to the respective defenses as they attempt to sluggish Mahomes and Burrow. — Seifert

Betting nugget: Kansas Metropolis is 7-11 towards the unfold this season, and people 11 ATS losses are probably the most by any workforce getting into the convention championship spherical within the Tremendous Bowl period. The Chiefs have been additionally 2-11 towards the unfold in AFC video games this season and 0-4 ATS with greater than six days of relaxation. Cincinnati, in the meantime, is 21-5 towards the unfold in its previous 26 video games, together with playoffs, and its 13-5 ATS file this season was second-best within the NFL. Learn extra at ESPN+.

Moody’s choose: Bengals 27, Chiefs 20
Walder’s choose: Chiefs 31, Bengals 30
FPI prediction: Ok.C., 65.5% (by a mean of 4.6 factors)

Matchup must-reads: Bengals assured for title recreation at ‘Burrowhead’ … Mahomes says he is ‘able to go’ for AFC title recreation … Injured Bengals OLs Cappa, Williams do not follow … Kelce has cemented his legacy as one of many best TEs of all time … The QB battle that unlocked Mahomes