Championship Weekend preview & picks
Tom Stewart went 6/6 across Wildcard Weekend and yours truly went 4/4 on Divisional Weekend - so, you can say The Field podcast is perfect on playoff picks.
Let's see how we go on Conference Championship Weekend - or Monday for us Aussies.
SAN FRANCISCO at PHILADELPHIA (Monday 7am)
One of the predictors has Philly a 64% favourite. Incredible against a team who cannot remember their last loss.
Unlike many match-ups across the playoffs, we’re yet to see these two clash. It’s a battle between quarterbacks no one really wanted.
Jalen Hurts lost his place at Alabama, so he went to Oklahoma and became a Heisman Finalist and NFL draft pick.
He’s had his knockers in Philly but he’s been the real deal this season and looks somewhere close to healthy after a shoulder issue in recent weeks.
On the other side, Brock Purdy was Mr Irrelevant - but now - he could not be more relevant if he tried.
He’s perfect as the starter in The Bay, leading San Fran to a 6-0 record as the starter, with 13 TD and just 4 picks.
The weapons in this one are amazing and diverse.
Hurts is arguably the No. 1 dual-threat QB in the NFL.
AJ Brown immediately morphed into a No. 1 wideout when he arrived in Pennsylvania.
Dallas Goedert is an underrated receiving TE.
Miles Sanders and Ken Gainwell are both complimentary but effective and efficient backs and DeVonta Smith can turn any play into a 40-yard gain.
Then, there are the Niners guns.
CMC is an elite rushing/receiving weapon.
Deebo Samuel may be the most versatile playmaker in the game.
George Kittle is a stud blocker and stud playmaker in his own right.
And Brandon Aiyuk is turning into a WR1.
These are two phenomenal squads from top to bottom.
Excellently coached, brimming with confidence. This is the match up we deserve.
I've been in love with what San Francisco has achieved. They've been 'next man up' at the only position where that slogan should not succeed. Yet, here they are, unbeaten in yonks, rolling into The City of Brotherly Love with a whole swag of confidence!
PICK - Niners 26, Eagles 24
CINCINNATI at KANSAS CITY (Monday 10:30am)
In the NFL, beating a team three times within a calendar year equals a mismatch.
But are we really brave enough to say Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce and Andy Reid are out-gunned?? Only a brave person, maybe even a fool would go that far but the facts are this… the last three times we’ve seen these two clash…
Bengals 27, 24 in CIN, Mahomes held to 223 and 1. Burrow 286 and 2 + rush TD.
AFC Champ game, Bengals 27, 24 (the same scoreline but we need OT to split them)
Bengals 34, 31 in CIN, Burrow exploded 30/39, 446 yards, 4 TD. Chase 11, 266, 3 TD. My god.
Now… the question is this… how healthy is Mahomes ?
80% plus and the Chiefs can and might well win.
Below that - or worse - unable to play or unable to finish the game and forget about it, the Bengals will be returning to the big dance.
Kelce can hurt the Bengals and his ability to get open quickly may allow Mahomes to ping the ball out quick to avoid adding any extra pressure to that high ankle sprain.
Having said that, Kelce’s been well held by a crafty and opportunistic Cincy defence, bobbing up for just 225 yards and 1 score in 4 career games against the boys from Ohio.
Joe Mixon got going last week and we know the KC run D is far from elite, allowing 120 rush yards per game in their past 3.
IF Mixon establishes a run game early, this thing looks trended toward the Bengals.
Burrow, Chase, Higgins, Mixon and a defence playing above its reputation… against a banged up Mahomes, even @ Arrowhead we got to keep rolling with these Bengals.
PICK - BENGALS 27, CHIEFS 23