Cincinnati Bengals (12-7) at Kansas City Chiefs (14-5)
After breaking the curse of a 31-year playoff drought against the Raiders, the Bengals followed up that performance in style last weekend. They brought down the #1 seeded Titans on the road, which was incredibly the Bengals first road playoff victory as well. So the decision to draft Joe Burrow a few years ago has already proven to be a masterstroke. Despite a total of 9(!) sacks, Burrow finished with 348 passing yards and continued his strong combination with rookie Ja’Marr Chase (5 catches, 109 yards). In the recent Week 17 win over the Chiefs, Chase hauled in 3 touchdowns from 11 catches and Burrow tossed 4 touchdowns / 446 yards. In what should be another high scoring shootout, the Burrow / Chase combination will be a key factor. Especially after Josh Allen and Gabriel Davis dominated this Chiefs secondary last week. Meanwhile, the Bengals defence is coming off 3 interceptions against Ryan Tannehill but they will face a much tougher challenge against the in-form Patrick Mahomes. So they’ll need to take all opportunities for turnovers if they arise.
The Chiefs played in a wild Overtime thriller against the Bills at Arrowhead Stadium last week in the 42-36 result. After blowing a 23-14 lead, the Chiefs rallied to force OT after a last-second field goal in regular time. They won the OT coin toss and Mahomes drove them down the field and hit Travis Kelce in the endzone for the walk-off touchdown. While the Chiefs have scored 42 points in back to back playoff games, their defence always seems to keep their opposition in the game, mainly because of the Chiefs high paced scoring offence. So the chances of another high scoring game this Monday is a high possibility. There’s also extra motivation for the Chiefs to avenge a recent 34-31 loss against the Bengals in Cincinnati in Week 17 after they led 21-7 in the 2nd quarter.
Betting the Over with the Chiefs involved is a sound strategy at the moment, especially considering a few trends. They are now 5-0 against the Over and their last 2 playoff wins have reached 60+ total points. Meanwhile, the Bengals scored 34 pts (65 total pts) against KC a few weeks ago and this should be a similar high scoring affair with Burrow/Mahomes in peak form.
The Chiefs are 9-2 in their last 11 games at Arrowhead Stadium. Cincinnati has a poor record in KC with just 3 wins in their last 10 games.
Head to Head Record
The Bengals won the earlier season meeting 34-31. But since 2003, the Chiefs are 7-3 against them.
San Francisco 49ers (12-7) at Los Angeles Rams (14-5)
The underdog in the NFC is the San Franciso 49ers after two impressive road wins in the playoffs and they’ll aim to take down a divisional rival to reach the Super Bowl. Firstly, they beat the Cowboys in Dallas 23-17 and last weekend, they travelled to Green Bay and knocked off the #1 seeded Packers 13-10. Their stout defence is one of their major strengths and conceding just 10 points against Aaron Rodgers should give them a lot of confidence in this matchup with Matt Stafford. However, the same concerns surround their passing game with Jimmy Garoppolo struggling with injury. So the 49ers must continue to play elite defence and focus on their running game. Otherwise, they will likely struggle to pass the ball agianst this Rams defence that comes off a great performance against Tom Brady.
Meanwhile, the Rams are the top seed remaining in the NFC after a huge road win over the Bucs last week, 30-27. The Matt Stafford and Cooper Kupp combination continued as they dominated the Bucs secondary. Stafford finished with 366 passing yards, 2 touchdowns and his turnover battles are seemingly behind him. Kupp has been awesome to watch this season and he was unstoppable with 9 catches, 183 yards and a touchdown. Which included 2 key catches on the game winning drive. However, with a 27-3 lead at one stage, the Rams did their best to give the Bucs plenty of chances to cause an upset with numerous fumbles and miscommunications. It almost cost them as the Bucs rallied to tie the game at 27-27 but Stafford led one last drive to end the contest. So the Rams will be looking to learn from their mistakes in this divisional rivalry matchup to reach another Super Bowl.
There is some merit in another 49ers upset but winning 3 road playoff games in a row is a tough ask. So we prefer to look at the Under between two divisional rivals that own elite defences. The 49ers come off allowing just 10 pts against Green Bay and the Under has also saluted in 6 of their last 7 games. The Rams also have a nice Unders record at home (5-1) and their defence shouldn’t have much trouble limiting Jimmy G in the passing game.
The Rams are 14-5 in their last 19 home games. The 49ers have won 5 of their last 6 road games against LA.
Head to Head Record
San Franciso won both meetings this season and hold a 7-3 record since 2017.
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