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The Road to Super Bowl LVII: The Final Two Teams Are Set

by Valeria Di Meglio | by Joseph

image The Road to Super Bowl LVII: The Final Two Teams Are Set
The NFL Playoffs are set for an explosive finale with the final two teams left standing ready to duke it out at the State Farm Stadium in Arizona. 14 teams began and only the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs remained after three intense rounds of NFL Playoff action. Below we will analyze both team’s chances of lifting the famous Vince Lombardi Trophy in what is sure to be a thrilling conclusion to the United State’s most popular sport.

The NFL Playoff journey so far

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This year’s Super Bowl sees a matchup between the AFC and the NFC’s top teams with both the Chiefs and Eagles finishing with the best regular season record in their respective conference. This gave both teams a bye in the Wild Card Round and allowed them to advance directly to the Divisional Round, invaluable rest for each considering the grueling nature of the NFL regular season. If you need more information, feel free to check out our NFL predictions page.

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The remaining 12 teams would slug it out in the Wild Card round, the results of which can be seen below:

American Conference:

  • Buffalo Bills (34) vs Miami Dolphins (31)
  • Cincinnati Bengals (24) vs Baltimore Ravens (17)
  • Jacksonville Jaguars (31) vs Los Angeles Chargers (30)

National Conference: 

  • San Francisco 49ers (41) vs Seattle Seahawks (23)
  • Minnesota Vikings (24) vs New York Giants (31)
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers (14) vs Dallas Cowboys (31) 

The Wild Card round concluded with high-octane games and a few upsets as well. The Bills and Dolphins played out a shootout with the higher-seeded Buffalo Bills ultimately advancing by a field goal. The Ravens hung in tough with this exciting Bengals team despite being without star quarterback and former MVP Lamar Jackson. The Jaguars staged an incredible comeback after falling behind 27-0 in the first half to miraculously win the game thanks to a second half which saw them outscore the Chargers 24-3.

In the NFC, the impressive 49ers rolled to victory over the Seahawks, continuing rookie quarterback Brock Purdy’s Cinderella story. The New York Giants were able to spring an upset over the favored Vikings on their home turf while the Cowboys put forward a dominant performance as the slight favorites against an uninspired Bucs team to take the win on the road. 

Divisional Round

American Conference:

  • Buffalo Bills (10) vs Cincinnati Bengals (27)
  • Kansas City Chiefs (27) vs Jacksonville Jaguars (20)

National Conference:

  • San Francisco 49ers (19) vs Dallas Cowboys (12)
  • Philadelphia Eagles (38) vs New York Giants (7) 
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The Cincinnati Bengals set the tone in their matchup against a Bills team favored by four points playing on their own turf. Joe Burrow led his Bengals to two consecutive touchdowns on the first two drives of the game to race out to a 14-0 lead and never look back. It was a disappointing result for Buffalo, who entered the Divisional round as co-favorites to win the Super Bowl along with the Kansas City Chiefs. 

The Jaguars would give the heavily favored Chiefs a good run for their money, cutting their deficit to only three points in the fourth quarter when they scored a touchdown to make it 20-17. Kansas City would give themselves an insurance score with about seven minutes left in the ball game however, to ultimately seal themselves the victory and their fifth straight appearance in the AFC Championship game.

In the NFC, Philadelphia stormed to a convincing 31 point victory over their NFC East rivals the New York Giants. There was a clear talent gap between the two sides and the Eagles rarely looked threatened, carrying over their superb regular season form which saw them win 14 of their 17 games. 

The 49ers and Cowboys slugged it out in a gritty, defensive-minded matchup which found points extremely difficult to come by. With the score tied up at 9-9 heading into the fourth quarter, former Carolina Panther Christian McCaffrey would score only the second touchdown of the game to give his team a vital seven point lead which would propel them on to ultimately see off Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys. The win means San Francisco will appear in their third NFC Championship game in the past five seasons.

Conference Championship Round

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American Conference:

  • Kansas City Chiefs (23) vs Cincinnati Bengals (20)

National Conference:

  • Philadelphia Eagles (31) vs San Francisco 49ers (7)

The Chiefs got their revenge over the Cincinnati Bengals after falling to them at this stage in last season’s NFL Playoffs with a 23-20 victory to advance to the Super Bowl for the third time in the past four seasons. It was a tightly contested AFC Championship game which saw Kansas City advancing by way of a last second field goal by kicker Harrison Butker. The Chiefs now have an opportunity to win their third Super Bowl in the team’s history and their second in the last four years after their 2020 championship.  

San Francisco unfortunately lost rookie quarterback sensation Brock Purdy to injury after throwing just four passes in the NFC Championship game. The Niners were effectively down to their fourth-string quarterback Josh Johnson, who signed with the team less than two months prior. It was ultimately too much for the resilient 49ers to overcome, especially coming up against the powerhouse that is the Philadelphia Eagles. Philly rolled to another dominant win, meaning their defense has now allowed just 14 total points in their two playoff games while putting up a total of 69 points.

Super Bowl LVII: How the teams matchup

It’s hard to argue that the Eagles and the Chiefs are the two most deserving teams to be in the Super Bowl with the way that the season has played out. Both teams had the best record in their respective conferences with 14 wins and three losses from their 17 regular season outings.

Philadelphia Eagles vs Kansas City Chiefs:

This should be a fantastic matchup to put a bow on the 2022/23 NFL season. The Chiefs have certainly had the more trying journey to the big game with both of their playoff games being won by a single possession. The Eagles, on the other hand, steamrolled both of their opponents en route to the Super Bowl with an incredible average winning margin of 27.5 points in their two playoff games.

The oddsmakers opened the line with the Chiefs as -2 point favorites on the spread which was almost instantly bet down to Chiefs +1.5, where it lies now at the time of writing. The big news in the Chiefs camp is the health of star quarterback Patrick Mahomes. The Super Bowl winning, former MVP Mahomes injured his ankle in the Chief’s Divisional Round win over the Jaguars but was able to stay in the game. However, the injury clearly has been lingering and it was a point of major focus before their clash with the Bengals. Mahomes would perform admirably in the Conference Championship, putting up 326 yards, two passing touchdowns and no interceptions to lift his side over a tough Bengals team. Kansas City will be hoping the extra week of rest in the buildup to the Super Bowl will have provided Mahomes with enough time for his ankle to fully heal. 

The Eagles have been having a fantastic season and have a strong case to hold the title as the best team in the league. Spurred on by the elevated MVP-caliber play of third-year quarterback Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia put all the pieces to the puzzle together this season and are tantalizingly close to lifting the Lombardi trophy for the first time since their 2018 upset over the Tom Brady led Patriots. It’s difficult to look past the overall talent that this team has with no real weakness on paper.

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