Thursday, February 22, 2024
ScoreBig - Get Tickets for Less

What To Look For – Conference Championships

​NEW YORK – Below are among the top storylines in the AFC and NFC Conference Championships:

  • Former MVPs, Top Defenses Meet in Baltimore
  • Chiefs Seeking Historic Super Bowl Run
  • Ravens, Jackson Rushing into Championship Game
  • Lions Look for First Super Bowl Berth
  • 49ers Seek Eighth Super Bowl Appearance

AFC Championship: Kansas City (13-6) at Baltimore (14-4) – 3 p.m. ET (CBS, Paramount+)

NFC Championship: Detroit (14-5) at San Francisco (13-5) – 6:30 p.m. ET (FOX, FOX Deportes)

FORMER MVPS, TOP DEFENSES MEET IN BALTIMORE

Sunday’s AFC Championship in Baltimore between the KANSAS CITY CHIEFS and BALTIMORE RAVENS will feature former MVP quarterbacks PATRICK MAHOMES and LAMAR JACKSON. Mahomes earned the honor in 2018 and 2022, while Jackson won the award in 2019.

It will mark the fifth Conference Championship Game in NFL history featuring two former MVP quarterbacks and the first in which both quarterbacks are under the age of 30.

The Conference Championships to feature two former MVP quarterbacks in NFL history:

GAMETEAMSROAD QB HOME QBRESULT
2023 AFC ChampionshipKansas City at BaltimorePatrick Mahomes Lamar Jackson???
2020 NFC ChampionshipTampa Bay at Green BayTom Brady Aaron RodgersTB 31, GB 26
2015 AFC ChampionshipNew England at DenverTom Brady Peyton ManningHOFDEN 20, NE 18
2013 AFC ChampionshipNew England at DenverTom Brady Peyton ManningHOFDEN 26, NE 16
1997 NFC ChampionshipGreen Bay at San FranciscoBrett FavreHOF Steve YoungHOFGB 23, SF 10


Each quarterback will be facing one of the top defenses in the league this season. Baltimore led the NFL in scoring defense in the regular season, allowing 16.5 points per game, and in sacks, with 60. Kansas City ranked second in each category, allowing 17.3 points per game and totaling 57 sacks.

Sunday will mark the sixth Championship Game in NFL history featuring the top-two scoring defenses from the regular season and the first since the 2004 AFC Championship Game (New England at Pittsburgh on Jan. 23, 2005).

Sunday’s contest will also be the third Championship Game all-time to feature the two teams with the most regular-season sacks, joining the 2015 AFC Championship (New England at Denver on Jan. 24, 2016) and 2004 NFC Championship (Atlanta at Philadelphia on Jan. 23, 2005)

Kansas City Chiefs (2).jpg CHIEFS SEEKING HISTORIC SUPER BOWL RUN

The KANSAS CITY CHIEFS are appearing in their sixth-consecutive Championship Game, the second-longest streak in NFL history. With a victory on Sunday, the Chiefs will become the third team ever to advance to four Super Bowls in a five-year span, joining the BUFFALO BILLS (1990-93) and NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (2014, 2016-18).

Head coach ANDY REID has led the Chiefs to each of their last three Super Bowls and also brought the Eagles to Super Bowl XXXIX following the 2004 season. With a win on Sunday, Reid will become the fourth head coach in NFL history to advance to five-or-more Super Bowls, joining BILL BELICHICK (nine Super Bowl appearances) and Pro Football Hall of Famers DON SHULA (six) and TOM LANDRY (five).

The head coaches to appear in the most Super Bowls in NFL history:

HEAD COACHTEAM(S)SUPER BOWL APPEARANCES
Bill BelichickNew England9
Don ShulaHOFBaltimore Colts, Miami6
Tom LandryHOFDallas5
   
Andy ReidPhiladelphia, Kansas City4


Quarterback PATRICK MAHOMES has compiled a 13-3 record in his first 16 career postseason starts, totaling 38 touchdown passes and 4,561 passing yards with a 106.7 passer rating.

With a victory in Baltimore, Mahomes will tie Pro Football Hall of Famers TERRY BRADSHAW (14 postseason wins), JOHN ELWAY (14) and PEYTON MANNING (14) for the third-most postseason wins by a starting quarterback in NFL history. Only TOM BRADY (35) and Pro Football Hall of Famer JOE MONTANA (16) have more.

The starting quarterbacks with the most playoff wins in NFL history:

PLAYERTEAM(S)PLAYOFF WINS
Tom BradyNew England, Tampa Bay35
Joe MontanaHOFSan Francisco, Kansas City16
Terry BradshawHOFPittsburgh14
John ElwayHOFDenver14
Peyton ManningHOFIndianapolis, Denver14
Brett FavreHOFGreen Bay, Minnesota13
Patrick MahomesKansas City13*
Ben RoethlisbergerPittsburgh13
*entering Sunday  

Three of Mahomes’ 13 postseason wins have come in the AFC Championship. With a win this week, Mahomes – who will be 28 years and 133 days old on Sunday – will become the youngest quarterback ever to win four Championship Games, surpassing TOM BRADY, who was 30 years and 170 days old when he won his fourth Championship Game.

With two touchdown passes on Sunday, Mahomes will tie Pro Football Hall of Famer PEYTON MANNING (40 touchdown passes) for the fifth-most postseason touchdown passes in NFL history. Only TOM BRADY (88 touchdown passes), AARON RODGERS (45) and Pro Football Hall of Famers JOE MONTANA (45) and BRETT FAVRE (44) have more.

The players with the most postseason touchdown passes in NFL history:

PLAYERTEAM(S)TOUCHDOWN PASSES
Tom BradyNew England, Tampa Bay88
Joe MontanaHOFSan Francisco, Kansas City45
Aaron RodgersGreen Bay45
Brett FavreHOFGreen Bay, Minnesota44
Peyton ManningHOFIndianapolis, Denver40
Patrick MahomesKansas City38*
*entering Sunday  

Since the beginning of last year’s postseason, Mahomes has totaled 10 touchdown passes with no interceptions in his past five playoff games. He can become the first quarterback in NFL history without an interception in six consecutive postseason games (minimum 20 attempts in each game).

Tight end TRAVIS KELCE enters Sunday with 145 receptions, 1,694 receiving yards and 18 touchdown receptions in his postseason career, trailing only Pro Football Hall of Famer JERRY RICE all-time in each category. With seven receptions at Baltimore, Kelce will surpass Rice (151 receptions) for the most postseason receptions in NFL history.

The players with the most postseason receptions in NFL history:

PLAYERTEAM(S)RECEPTIONS
Jerry RiceHOFSan Francisco, Oakland Raiders151
Travis KelceKansas City145*
Julian EdelmanNew England118
*entering Sunday  

Last week in the Divisional round, Kelce totaled five receptions for 75 yards and two touchdowns, his 12th consecutive postseason game with at least five receptions. With five catches at Baltimore, he will tie JULIAN EDELMAN (13 consecutive games) for the longest streak of postseason games with at least five receptions in NFL history.

Last week also marked Kelce’s fourth career playoff game with multiple touchdown receptions. If he accomplishes the feat again on Sunday, he will join Pro Football Hall of Famer JERRY RICE (five games) as the only players ever with multiple touchdown receptions in five postseason games.

The players with the most postseason games with multiple touchdown receptions in NFL history:

PLAYERTEAM(S)GAMES
Jerry RiceHOFSan Francisco, Oakland Raiders5
Rob GronkowskiNew England, Tampa Bay4
Travis KelceKansas City4*
*entering Sunday  

Baltimore Ravens (2).jpg RAVENS, JACKSON RUSHING INTO CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

The BALTIMORE RAVENS are seeking their third Super Bowl appearance in franchise history and first since winning Super Bowl XLVII following the 2012 season.

In the regular season, Baltimore had the league’s top rushing attack, averaging 156.5 yards per game on the ground. With a victory against Kansas City on Sunday, the Ravens will become the fourth team since 1990 and first since SEATTLE in 2014 to lead the league in rushing and make the Super Bowl in the same season.

The teams to appear in the Super Bowl after leading the league in rushing in the regular season since 1990:

SEASONTEAMSUPER BOWLRUSHING YARDS PER GAME
2014SeattleXLIX172.6
1992BuffaloXXVII152.3
1991BuffaloXXVI148.8


In the Divisional playoffs, quarterback LAMAR JACKSON became the first player ever with two touchdown passes, two rushing touchdowns, 100 rushing yards and a passer rating of 100-or-higher in a game. He also has recorded at least 100 rushing yards in three of his five career postseason games.

On Sunday, Jackson can become the fifth player in NFL history with at least 100 rushing yards in four of his first six career postseason contests, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers TERRELL DAVIS (five games), JOHN RIGGINS (five) and EMMITT SMITH (four) as well as MARSHAWN LYNCH (four).

Jackson has 467 career postseason rushing yards and can become the fifth quarterback in NFL history with 500 career postseason rushing yards, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer STEVE YOUNG (594 rushing yards), JOSH ALLEN (563), RUSSELL WILSON (527) and COLIN KAEPERNICK (507).

The quarterbacks with the most postseason rushing yards in NFL history:

PLAYERTEAMGAMESRUSHING YARDS
Steve YoungHOFSan Francisco22594
Josh AllenBuffalo10563
Russell WilsonSeattle16527
Colin KaepernickSan Francisco6507
Lamar JacksonBaltimore5467*
*entering Sunday   

 LIONS LOOK FOR FIRST SUPER BOWL BERTH

The DETROIT LIONS are playing in their second Championship Game in franchise history (1991) and look to make to their first Super Bowl appearance.

Quarterback JARED GOFF is looking to become the fifth starting quarterback to advance to the Super Bowl with multiple franchises, joining TOM BRADY (New England and Tampa Bay), Pro Football Hall of Famer PEYTON MANNING (Indianapolis and Denver), CRAIG MORTON (Dallas and Denver) and Pro Football Hall of Famer KURT WARNER (St. Louis Rams and Arizona). Goff previously led the Los Angeles Rams to a Super Bowl LIII appearance following the 2018 season.

The starting quarterbacks to advance to the Super Bowl with two franchises:

QUARTERBACKFIRST TEAMSECOND TEAM 
Tom BradyNew EnglandTampa Bay
Peyton ManningHOFIndianapolisDenver
Craig MortonDallasDenver
Kurt WarnerHOFSt. Louis RamsArizona


Rookie running back JAHMYR GIBBS recorded 68 scrimmage yards with a rushing touchdown on Super Wild Card Weekend and 114 scrimmage yards and a rushing touchdown in the Divisional playoffs. On Sunday, he can become the fourth rookie in NFL history to record a rushing touchdown in three playoff games, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer TONY DORSETT (1977), JAMAL LEWIS (2000) and SONY MICHEL (2018).

Wide receiver AMON-RA ST. BROWN, who recorded seven receptions on Super Wild Card Weekend and eight receptions in the Divisional playoffs, can become the third player in NFL history with at least seven receptions in each of his first three career playoff games, joining MICHAEL THOMAS and WES WELKER.

Rookie tight end SAM LAPORTA had nine receptions in the Divisional round, the most receptions by a rookie tight end in a playoff game in NFL history, and has the most receptions by a rookie tight end (12) in postseason history.

With six receptions in the NFC Championship Game, LaPorta can surpass AUSTIN COLLIE (17 in 2009) for the fourth-most postseason receptions by a rookie in NFL history.

The rookies with the most postseason receptions in NFL history:

PLAYERTEAMSEASONRECEPTIONS
Ja’Marr ChaseCincinnati202125
Joseph AddaiIndianapolis200622
Torry HoltSt. Louis Rams199920
Austin CollieIndianapolis200917
    
Sam LaPortaDetroit202312*
*entering Sunday

Including the postseason, LaPorta has totaled 98 receptions for 968 yards and 11 touchdowns this season. On Sunday, he can join JA’MARR CHASE (2021) as the only rookies all-time with at least 100 receptions, 1,000 receiving yards and 10 touchdown receptions, including the postseason.

Defensive end AIDAN HUTCHINSON recorded one sack in the Divisional playoffs and two sacks on Super Wild Card Weekend, his first two career playoff games. With two sacks against San Francisco, he would become the third player since 1982, when the individual sack became an official statistic, to record at least five sacks in his first three career playoff games, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer RICHARD DENT (6.5 sacks) and LAMARR WOODLEY (six).

49ERS SEEK 8TH SUPER BOWL APPEARANCE

The SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS have appeared in four of the past five NFC Championship Games (2019, 2021-23) and, including Sunday, have 19 Championship Game appearances, the most among all NFL clubs.

The 49ers are seeking to become the fifth franchise with eight Super Bowl appearances, joining NEW ENGLAND (11 Super Bowls), DALLAS (eight), DENVER (eight) and PITTSBURGH (eight).

Quarterback BROCK PURDY, who started and won in the Divisional playoffs last week and recorded two wins as a rookie starting quarterback during the 2022 postseason, can become the fourth starting quarterback to win four playoff games in his first two career seasons in NFL history, joining BEN ROETHLISBERGER (five wins), MARK SANCHEZ (four) and RUSSELL WILSON (four).

The starting quarterbacks with the most playoff wins in their first two seasons in NFL history:

PLAYERTEAMPLAYOFF WINS
Ben RoethlisbergerPittsburgh5
Mark SanchezN.Y. Jets4
Russell WilsonSeattle4
   
Brock PurdySan Francisco3*
*entering Sunday 

Running back CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY totaled 128 scrimmage yards (98 rushing, 30 receiving) and two rushing touchdowns in the Divisional playoffs and has recorded at least 50 scrimmage yards and a touchdown in each of his first five career playoff games.

On Sunday against Detroit, McCaffrey can become the third player in NFL history with at least 50 scrimmage yards and a touchdown in each of his first six career playoff games, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers MARCUS ALLEN (first seven playoff games) and TERRELL DAVIS (seven).

The players with at least 50 scrimmage yards and a touchdown in the most consecutive games to begin a postseason career in NFL history:

PLAYERTEAM(S)GAMES
Marcus AllenHOFL.A. Raiders7 (Jan. 8, 1983 – Jan. 5, 1986)
Terrell DavisHOFDenver7 (Jan. 4, 1997 – Jan. 17, 1999)
Larry FitzgeraldArizona5 (Jan. 3, 2009 – Jan. 10, 2010)
Curtis MartinHOFNew England, N.Y. Jets5 (Jan. 5, 1997 – Jan. 17, 1999)
Christian McCaffreyCarolina, San Francisco5* (Jan. 7, 2018 – Jan. 20, 2024)
Randy MossHOFMinnesota5 (Jan. 10, 1999 – Jan. 6, 2001)
*active streak
Sports Gaming Monitor

Related Articles

Leather Head Sports

Latest Articles