NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
San Francisco 49ers (15-4) at Philadelphia Eagles (15-3)
Time, TV: 2 p.m. Sunday, Ch. 9
Line: Eagles by 2½
Last meeting: The 49ers won 17-11 in Week 2 of the 2021 season.
Trending: The second-seeded 49ers have won 12 consecutive games. The top-seeded Eagles have won two in a row since quarterback Jalen Hurts returned from a shoulder injury.
Key stat: 3 Turnovers 23-year-old rookie quarterback Brock Purdy has had in eight games for the 49ers since replacing the injured Jimmy Garoppolo on Dec. 4. The last player selected in the 2022 draft has yet to fumble. In two playoff games, he has completed 62.7% of his passes for 546 yards, three touchdowns and no turnovers for a 109.9 passer rating.
Did you know? Purdy and the 24-year-old Hurts will become the first starting quarterbacks under age 25 to face off in a conference title game. Throw in Kansas City's Patrick Mahomes, 27, and Cincinnati's Joe Burrow, 26, and the average age of the four starting quarterbacks — 25 years, 98 days — is the youngest ever in the history of the conference title games.
Prediction: In a battle between the league's top defenses, the league-leading Philly pass rush and home-field advantage are enough to best the great 49ers offensive line. The top-seeded Eagles will create at least two key turnovers as Purdy finally shows signs that he is indeed still a rookie seventh-round draft pick. Eagles 21, 49ers 14
AFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Cincinnati Bengals (14-4) at Kansas City Chiefs (15-3)
Time, TV: 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Ch. 4
Line: Chiefs by 1½
2022 meeting: The Bengals won 27-24 at Cincinnati on Dec. 4. They also won by that score in last year's AFC title game at Kansas City.
Trending: Cincinnati has won its past 10 games, including two in the playoffs. The Chiefs have won six in a row, including one in the playoffs.
Key stat: 3-0 Burrow's record against Mahomes and the Chiefs. Burrow is the only No. 1 overall pick to reach the conference title game multiple times in his first three seasons. He's also 3-0 in road playoff games.
Did you know? Twelve current NFL teams have not won a Super Bowl (you probably know one of them). They are: Vikings (0-4), Bills (0-4), Bengals (0-3), Falcons (0-2), Panthers (0-2), Chargers (0-1), Titans (0-1), Cardinals (0-1), Texans (0-0), Lions (0-0), Jaguars (0-0) and Browns (0-0).
Prediction: The Bengals offensive line, which was down three starters when it gave up only one sack while rushing for 172 yards in last week's 27-10 victory at Buffalo, steps up again as two starters — left tackle Jonah Williams and right guard Alex Cappa — are expected to return. Meanwhile, Mahomes' high ankle sprain will be a factor as the Chiefs come up short one more time against the Bengals. Bengals 30, Chiefs 27
Record straight up/against the spread: 8-2/6-4