The Rubek Report: Conference Championship

In-depth look at this weekends Conference Championship games.


Anthony Rubek, Sports Editor

Junior Colby Wallace remains in the lead with a 9-1 record this postseason. Seniors Chris Lopez, Kade Stover, Alex Zimmerer and I all have a record of 8-2. But it isn’t too late to make a run! Fill out the form above for a chance at getting a gift card to Chick-fil-A!

After a humbling 2-2 record in last weekend’s Divisional Round, I am back to predict this week’s Conference Championship games. After some of the best games in recent memory, we are down to four teams competing for a chance to win the Lombardi Trophy. Here is a look at the two matchups.

Cincinnati Bengals (10-7) at Kansas City Chiefs (12-5) (Sunday, CBS, 2:00 PM CT)

The first game of the day is for the AFC Championship as the fourth seeded Bengals take on the second seeded Chiefs. The Bengals won a wild game against the first seeded Tennessee Titans 19-16. Hope was starting to be lost for Cincinnati but an interception by linebacker Logan Wilson with 20 seconds gave them the ball and momentum. They were able to get in range for kicker Evan McPherson to kick a 52-yard field goal as time expired to complete the upset. The rookie had a phenomenal day, making all four of his kicks. Running back Joe Mixon scored the Bengals only touchdown while also having 54 yards rushing. The Bengals offensive line has to have a better game after quarterback Joe Burrow got sacked a whopping nine times Saturday. The Chiefs won an instant classic in overtime against the third seeded Buffalo Bills 42-36. Both offenses were electric, but it was quarterback Patrick Mahomes who prevailed with 378 yards and 3 touchdowns. Of course, receiver Tyreek Hill and tight end Travis Kelce also had great games combining for over 240 yards and two touchdowns. While the Chiefs defense held Bills star receiver Stefon Diggs in check, other receiver Gabriel Davis had an all-time playoff performance totaling 201 yards on eight catches and four touchdowns. This is scary for Kansas City as the Bengals have three receivers capable of putting those stats up with Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd. Chiefs corners L’Jarius Snead, Charvarius Ward, and Mike Hughes have to step up and take these guys on. With the Bengals offensive line struggling, I expect the Chiefs front seven consisting of All Pro Chris Jones and former Pro Bowler Frank Clark to have a field day. While I would want to see Joe Burrow lead the underdog Bengals to the Super Bowl in just his second year, I think the Chiefs have the experience and if there was any team that could’ve beaten them that would’ve been the Bills. Therefore, I see the Chiefs beating the Bengals by two scores and advancing to their third consecutive Super Bowl.

My Pick: Chiefs 35 Bengals 21

Bold Prediction: Frank Clark gets two sacks and Chris Jones gets one sack.

San Francisco 49ers (10-7) at Los Angeles Rams (12-5) (Sunday, FOX, 5:30 PM CT)

The NFC Championship game is a divisional rival matchup between the sixth seeded 49ers and the fourth seeded Rams. Both teams won their divisional round games by game winning field goals as time expired. While the 49ers couldn’t do nearly anything on offense, their defense and special teams played fantastic in their 13-10 win over the first seeded Green Bay Packers. The 49ers sacked MVP favorite Aaron Rodgers five times with defensive tackle Arik Armstead and defensive end Nick Bosa each having two. Kicker Robbie Gould’s 45 yard field goal improved him to 20 for 20 on career playoff field goals. While Jimmy Garoppolo as well as most of the 49ers offense didn’t have good games, I’m not that worried about them as they were playing zero degree weather. The Rams also beat a future hall of fame quarterback in Tom Brady and the second seeded Bucanneers after kicker Matt Gay’s 30 yard field goal gave them a 30-27 win. To get them into field goal range, quarterback Matthew Stafford hit All Pro receiver Cooper Kupp for a 44 yard gain. The chemistry between Stafford and Kupp was also relevant earlier in the game when they connected on a 70 yard touchdown. Los Angeles had a 27-3 lead midway through the third quarter but the Bucs were able to come back only to fall short. In the two regular season games between the two, San Francisco won both of them including a overtime comeback victory in week 18 to clinch their spot in the playoffs. In fact, the 49ers have won the last six games against the Rams. Deebo Samuel tends to have productive games against his rival, but the 49ers wide back is questionable for this weekend’s game. Even if he does play, him not being 100 percent hurts the 49ers receiving and running game. Speaking of the running game, Rams running back Cam Akers has to have a better game as he had only 48 yards on 24 carries and two fumbles against Tampa Bay. I could see 49ers like receiver Brandon Aiyuk and running back Elijah Mitchell filling the void of Samuel but I like the Rams defense winning this matchup. As for the offense, I trust Stafford and company putting enough points on the board to give themselves a much needed rivalry win and more importantly a trip to their second Super Bowl in four years.

My Pick: Rams 27 49ers 20

Bold Prediction: Cam Akers bounces back with over 100 yards and a touchdown.

With the NFL season coming to an end, make sure you don’t forget to submit your picks for the final three games!