PFT’s 2022 AFC and NFC championship game picks

NFL: JAN 09 49ers at Rams
Getty Images

Last weekend was great. Except when it comes to picking games. MDS and I were a combined 1-7. Which is only slightly better than pointing out that I was 0-4.

For the year, I’m now 181-100-1. MDS is 178-103-1.

Here are our picks for the conference championship round. We agree on the winners, but not on the spreads.

Bengals (+7) at Chiefs

MDS’s take: These teams met four weeks ago in one of the best games of the regular season, a 34-31 Bengals win in Cincinnati. On that day Joe Burrow looked like the better quarterback, putting up 446 yards and four touchdowns to Patrick Mahomes‘ 259 yards and two touchdowns. I expect Burrow to have another big game on Sunday, but I think Mahomes will match him drive for drive, and this time I like the Chiefs to be the ones to pull out the win in the last minute.

MDS’s pick: Chiefs 38, Bengals 34.

Florio’s take: The Bengals are the future. The Chiefs are the present. Drop any team into Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday, and Kansas City wins. ’72 Dolphins, ’85 Bears. Any of them. And look for the Bengals to go down swinging; the last thing they’ll want to do is to change who they are. Because who they are could get them to the Super Bowl, as soon as next year.

Florio’s pick: Chiefs 41, Bengals 24.

49ers (+3.5) at Rams

MDS’s take: The 49ers had the Rams’ number this season, blowing them out in Week 10 and punching their ticket to the playoffs with an overtime thriller in Week 18. But I expect the Rams’ defense to play well against a 49ers offense that escaped Green Bay with a win despite playing poorly. And I expect Matthew Stafford to spread the ball around well, and for Cooper Kupp and Odell Beckham both to top 100 yards. This Rams team looks destined for the Super Bowl.

MDS’s pick: Rams 28, 49ers 24.

Florio’s take: Great teams are made up of great players who are playing great. The Rams have great players who, until recently, hadn’t been playing great. They currently are. It will be more than the 49ers can handle, but not by much.

Florio’s pick: Rams 24, 49ers 21.

69 responses to “PFT’s 2022 AFC and NFC championship game picks

  1. I am a Chiefs’ fan but have a bad feeling about this game – I suspect Cincy will pile it up on the Chiefs – 48-21.

    As for the other really sorry game – I suspect the 49ers will win 10-9. I have no faith in Mathew Stafford.

  2. The Chiefs won the Super Bowl in those 13 seconds blown by McDermott and the imbecilic coaching calls. He choked when it counted the most. Congrats to Andy Reid and Mahomes on their 2nd titles.

  3. Bengals defeated the Chiefs a few weeks ago by shutting down Mahomes in the 2nd half and will do it again. Chiefs don’t have the Titans stout defense. Bengals 38 Chiefs 35

  4. That Green Bay vs. 49ers game should be considered a mulligan by both teams. Neither team’s offense was able to play well. The legendary Lambeau weather made life tough for both teams. Setting that game aside, Stafford is a better QB than Garoppolo. We have more weapons on offense than the Niners. Plus, the Rams are going into this game with something to prove. The massive crowd of 49ers fans will be silenced.

    Rams 31 – Niners 13

    The Chiefs will be too much for the Bengals, but if the Chiefs let them stay in that game they’ll regret it.

  5. lesepi says:
    January 27, 2022 at 12:33 pm

    I am a Chiefs’ fan but have a bad feeling about this game – I suspect Cincy will pile it up on the Chiefs – 48-21.

    You are “reverse psychologizing” yourself to lower your expectations in the extremely unlikely chance they lose! Your team won the Super Bowl in those 13 seconds in the Bills game. No way Cinci or the Rams or the 49ers are gonna beat the Chiefs.

  6. Mike. I agree that KC will win, but let’s not get carried away. I can’t speak to the 72 dolphins but I don’t think they beat the 85 Bears, nor do they beat the 2000 Ravens or some of the NE or Steelers teams of the last two decades, not to mention the SF and Dallas teams from late 80’s and 90’s. They are good and probably will win. But they are not that good.

  7. Chiefs would definitely lose to the ’85 Bears. Heck, even Tampa Bay’s (outstanding) defense had Mahomes running for his life in last year’s Super Bowl, and the Bucs’ defense is not even close to the all-time great ’85 Bears defense.

  8. The Bungles Let’s see how they do with expectations and egos. Looking at their history, I’d put it back in my pocket if I were you.

  9. The one factor everyone ignores with the Bengals is their defense. No, they aren’t “great”, but they are good enough to win playoff games, while their offense racks up a lot of points. They are the x factor that beats the Chiefs.

    As for the Rams, it’s hard for any team to beat any other team 3 times in one season. Expect the Rams to get revenge this week.

  10. Ah sorry Mike. Dropping the ’85 bears into Arrowhead on Sunday would be a nightmare the Chiefs might never recover from!

  11. Upset weekend

    Cin 43 KC 38 I’ve become a Burrow Believer

    SF 27 LA 21 9ers just have the better D

  12. The Bears and Dolphins won all but 2 games combined while the chiefs lost 5 games in one season and were weak in other games.
    Hence, they can be beaten by any of the remaining teams.

  13. Losing six straight to the 49ers is an awfully hard trend to ignore. If there was something in the past few weeks to suggest that this time will be different for the Rams, I could see why both guys are picking them to win, but there isn’t so I can’t.
    LA blew a 27-3 third quarter lead and only managed to win because the Bucs screwed up defensively in the closing seconds of the game. Not exactly a positive trend that one should gain confidence…
    As for the Chiefs/Bengals, it’s another coin flip game. Last team with the ball wins. Cincinnati can trade scores with any team in the league, have already beaten the Chiefs, and showed incredible resilience in the face of relentless pressure on Burrow last week. Quite honestly the greatest imbalance between the two teams is offensive line, with the Chiefs line being far better than the Bengals. But everywhere else it’s either incredibly close or the advantage goes to the Bengals. MDS’ pick is the more sensible one, with at minimum Cincinnati covering a ridiculous 7 point spread.

  14. computojon says:
    January 27, 2022 at 12:58 pm
    Chiefs would definitely lose to the ’85 Bears. Heck, even Tampa Bay’s (outstanding) defense had Mahomes running for his life in last year’s Super Bowl, and the Bucs’ defense is not even close to the all-time great ’85 Bears defense

    They were missing their starting LT, starting RT and the backup RT. Geez

  15. The Mahomes era Chiefs lost to the Patriots in his first AFC championship game and lost the Super Bowl to the Bucs last year.
    And for this ‘accomplishment’ this somehow puts them ahead of some of the best teams of all time.
    That’s just nuts.
    Their offence is good, but nowhere near the historic best of all time and their defence is amongst the worst of any Super Bowl team.

  16. I’d like to see both of you put your money where your mouths are when it comes to 49ers vs. Rams.

  17. Bengals and Niners is the ultimate setup for cleaning the slate re four decades of Bengals grief. A win there and the only thing left would have been meeting Ben in the playoffs and being his final loss. Odds are against all this, but there’s still a couple days left to dream it.

  18. Wow, 0-4 …I was disappointed going 2-2. Sad…I’m not picking games this weekend because I’m blinded by pure hatred for KC and, being a Seahawks fan, I’m blinded by pure hatred for the 49’ers and Rams. Ok ok, Cincinnati 38-24 and Rams 24-17.

  19. Seeing both of you pick against the 49ers for the third straight week just warms my heart.

  20. I would love to see the Bengals in the Super Bowl, just for the fact that their fans have suffered for so long.

  21. I’m a Ram fan expecting a victory but it’s damn near impossible to handicap bad juju when it comes to the Niners. They are our main adversaries in the west and it will take everything we have to take them out.

  22. How do you compare them to Dolphins and Bears? I don’t think the old dolphins are really the best team ever as 13 wins to the superbowl has been beat by many teams just in the regular season… I also think the rules are so different that it’s like comparing apples to watermelons. There is no way the bears could be as ruthless as they were on defense with the current rules.

  23. Platinum Pick of the Week: Chiefs(-7) over the Bengals. After escaping the Bills in one of the most egregious coaching blunders in playoff history, the Chiefs are breathing more deeply and primed for a rout. Arrowhead will be rockin’. Chiefs 38, Bengals 21.

  24. The Bengals didn’t shut PM15 down in the second half during the season. Our play calling did bc the coaching staff thought it was time to tighten up with a lead. That won’t happen this time around. Big lead early, and pile it on late for KC

  25. Wow – the Hate for the Chiefs is pretty intense! This is awesome that this small market fly-over states KC Football Club has this much hate being thrown this way….must mean the Chiefs have been consistently great over the past four year and are looking to be great for a few more years. This must be what the Patriots felt like all those year…..sweet sweet nectar!

  26. The Bengals are going down big time, the Raiders and Titans are no good and they barely beat them.

    Not as sure about the other game. The Rams running game is finally getting going. And the only reason the Tampa game was so close is because of some flukey plays. So I’ll go Rams by a FG.

  27. Chiefs 38 Bengals 21 Mahomes and company overpower the Bengals.

    Rams 21 49ers 17 A rough physical game with Stafford to Obj being the difference although I’d like to see the 49ers win.

  28. “That’s how you’re going to beat them, Butch… they keep underestimating you.

  29. probably the most boring:
    49ers vs Same ole same ole repeat Chiefs

    Most exciting would be:
    Bengals (decades with no playoff)
    Rams (a qb who suffered a decade with the Lions)

  30. As long as Jimmy G doesn’t turn the ball over, the Niners win it. Bad feeling ‘bad’ Stafford will show up. Niners and Both pkayoff games should be great. Chiefs advance.

  31. The Rams very nearly choked that game away against the Bucs last week, until “someone” decided that zero coverage was the way to go with the game tied. The Chiefs were 13 seconds from defeat until the Bills major screw-up on the kick-off. I don’t see an easy call for a winner in either of these games. I just hope there’s no blowout.

  32. I agree with florios take on how good the chiefs are but when it comes to the 85 bears ?? No way the chiefs survive that one. Dolphins maybe, da bears NO !!!

  33. It’d be great to see the Niners vs. the Bengals just to see TWO 10-7 teams in the SB.

  34. Chiefs 38 Bengals 34 – Wouldent shock me to see similar score with Bengals wining but I have to take the Chiefs here

    Rams 24 49ers 17 – Rams should take this but struggle putting Niners away. Rams need to jump out with a lead to avoid a 13-10 type upset. Niners D is capable of controlling the game if Rams dont strike early.

  35. I love how the Rams only won at Tampa because of one fluke play is an argument but the Bucs even being back in the game because of a series of fluke plays is overlooked.

    Rams roll.

  36. tqaztec says:
    Matthew Stafford is gonna Matthew Stafford eventually.
    I assume you mean he’s going to lead the Rams in a come-from-behind win. That is who he is and what he does more than any other QB.

  37. Rams by a million. One of the NFC finalists has a great quarterback and the other is quarterbacked by a modern-day trent dilfer. Rams defense will clamp down after the obligatory Deebo Samuel gimmick rushing touchdown and Jimmy will struggle, badly. he may even get benched before garbage time

  38. Rams will be a tough out. Niners can’t fall behind again. However the matchup is favorable. Rams DL is built to pass rush but they’ll struggle to stop the run. On the other side, Niners can stop the run and get after the passer. I think Bosa, Armstead, et al will get to Stafford. However it’s tough to predict.

  39. Settle down with any of the great teams losing to KC in Arrowhead. It was like 2 months ago that KC’s offense was “solved.” Remember?? A great defense would shut them down easy. They got no running game.

    The 07 Pats. Greatest offense ever. Shut down.
    The 90 Bills K-Gun. Shut down.
    The 00 Vikings top scoring offense in 20 years with Culpepper, Moss, Cris Carter, Robert Smith. Got shut out.

    Sure. These were all Giants defenses but that’s all I could think off the top of my head because I’m a Giants fan. Im sure there are a dozen more that would walk into KC this weekend and slap em around.

  40. These Chiefs beat the ‘85 Bears?!? Heck, these guys couldn’t even beat the 2018 Patriots.

  41. :: Drop any team into Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday, and Kansas City wins. ’72 Dolphins, ’85 Bears. Any of them. ”

    Now That’s funny. How many Hall of Fame players from the Dolphins and Bears on both sides of the ball. Larry Csonka , Paul Warfield , Nick Buonoconti Walter Payton , Mike Singletary, Wilber Marshall among others . C’mon man !!

  42. Hard to beat Mahomes when he or his team doesn’tt make mistakes like on Sunday. You need turnovers and even then it’s gonna be tough. You have to be perfect and hope they’re not and that’s hard to do especially if your coaching messes up.

  43. I can’t understand why people are so sure that the Rams are going to the Super Bowl. The 49ers have beaten them in 6 straight, at home and away. There’s going to be a lot of SF fans in LA’s stadium. They are definitely in LA’s heads.

  44. The Chiefs would easily beat the 72 Dolphins about 500-0. Those guys were all tiny and had 2 jobs. Griese and Czonka would be hospitalized. They’d crush the 85 Bears by at least 150 points with practice team players. Tyreek Hill would be like an alien to Gary Fencik and Duerson. Even the 2000 Ravens would be easily outclassed.

  45. The Rams should win as it’s almost impossible to beat a team 3 times in the same season. The Saints found that out in the last playoffs against the Bucs.

  46. As a life long Dallas fan and living and dying with a team with no Quarterback Mahomes is my homeboy.

  47. I can’t see three of these teams making it to a Super Bowl! KC, sure. The Rams, Niners, and Bungles???? No way. All three are mediocre. How they made it this far is a mystery

  48. If the Chiefs make it to the Super Bowl, I’m betting they score more than 9 points, last year was embarrassing!!

  49. I don’t think Brady will get the Bengals to teh Super Bowl this season.

    I’ll pencil them in for the next 3 though, especially if they shore up that O-line.

  50. I agree with the pics, but last week I was 0-4 on my picks as well. So what do I know. I feel like I already watched the Super Bowl with the Bills and Chiefs.

  51. Its funny, the notion that the Chiefs are so good they would defeat anyone, even the greatest teams of all time yet they needed to win the coin toss to escape in Arrowhead last week. They are good, Id say the favorite of the final 4 but come on, they are still beatable and not close to the greatest thing ever.

  52. Eventually Stafford gonna Stafford. I’d love to see them get trounced at home by the sea of gold and red.
    The other game is so intriguing. Both young QBs are fantastic in their own ways. Burrow needs to keep that head on a swivel. If it’s close at the end the Chiefs are in trouble. this may be a better game than the SB.

  53. One HUGE factor you bengals fans forget or better yet haven’t got a clue about is HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE and if you’ve never been in arrowhead in game game with as much emotions as gonna be rolling around in there then you’ll NEVER understand!!!! This is a whole different monster that oh joey boy ain’t NEVER had to play in ever before this isn’t the days of growing up playing in the sec, thats childs play this is BIG BOY FOOTBALL. Maybe he dont know it yet but Sunday he’ll be shown why Arrowhead is the LOUDEST EVER OF ALL TIME!!!!! PLus its Mahomie Baby!!!!!

  54. Going with 21st century rules that neuters defenses, it’s easy for the Chiefs to put up points.

    Going with Pre-2003 rules (you know, when Peyton Manning whined that defenses were playing rough), 72 Dolphins,76 Steelers, 85 Bears,and 2000 Ravens would crush the Chiefs. At Arrowhead!

  55. This sucks for the Chiefs. you couldve dropped any team in Arrowhead today and the Chiefs win, the 72 Dolphins, 85 Bears you name it, well other than the 2021 Bengals, but aside from them the Chiefs would beat any other team if they could have played them today.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.