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Conference championship weekend is here, with four teams looking to cement their place in NFL history. The Ravens, Chiefs, Lions and 49ers have unique storylines heading into the AFC and NFC championships, so Sunday’s games are a thrill for football fans. Who will win and advance to the 2024 Super Bowl? Who will ultimately win Super Bowl LVIII? Here’s your rundown for the last two rounds of the NFL playoffs.
Final Pre-Game Update – 2/9/24
Super Bowl Sunday is only two days away now, and the pressure is on. That pressure is stronger for Patrick Mahomes than anyone, as he leads the Chiefs to their fourth Super Bowl appearance in five years, a feat that’s seldom happened in NFL history. We haven’t seen a back-to-back winner in two decades now, so will this be the year it finally happens?
Andy Reid, former famed coach of the Philadelphia Eagles (who badly needed some direction this season) certainly plans to see it through. It’s also impossible to avoid that the Chiefs have been media favorites for the entirety of the season as Travis Kelce has hit true celebrity status.
Meanwhile, San Francisco’s eyes have been on nothing but the title, plowing through their competition in the regular season to grab the 1 seed. Their fights in the playoffs have been close, but after comebacks against Green Bay and Detroit, it’s hard to not see them as the underdog in this matchup. If they defeat the Chiefs, and we think they can, it’ll be closer than we initially imagined.
Final Prediction: 49ers 27, Chiefs 24
Post-Conference Championship Update – 1/29/24
Well, we can admit when we were wrong! Unfortunately, after struggling an uphill battle Sunday afternoon in the AFC Championship, the Baltimore Ravens ultimately fell short to the Chiefs, 17 – 10. Between their media attention and potential for back-to-back Super Bowl wins, the Chiefs are quickly taking over as the team to beat.
Meanwhile, in the NFC Championship, we were correct that the 49ers overtook the underdog Lions, but in a much closer match than we thought! We predicted a 31 – 21 victory, but after a shocking early 24 – 7 lead, the 49ers came back to score 27 points in the second, locking down their spot in the Superbowl.
Superbowl Sunday is February 11, and with just two weeks to go, tensions are running hot! While it’ll surely be a tough game to predict, we’re going against the odds to say the 49ers halt the back-to-back victories of the favorite Chiefs in Super Bowl LVIII.
New Prediction: 49ers 34, Chiefs 24
The Road to Super Bowl LVIII
Getting to the conference championship games is a feat in itself, but the four teams didn’t make it here without trials and tribulations. Here’s how each squad made the final four.
Kansas City Chiefs
Ric Flair once said you have to beat the man to be the man. The defending Super Bowl champions looked vulnerable for much of the season as quarterback Patrick Mahomes and the offense struggled to put points on the board.
So, how have the Chiefs made it this far? Fans can thank the tremendous defensive play from guys like Chris Jones, who made the AP NFL All-Pro Team for the second time. Can the offense hang with the other three teams?
The Baltimore Ravens have been the best team in football, soundly defeating the NFC contenders by a combined 71-25 margin in the regular season. While quarterback Lamar Jackson is the runaway favorite to win MVP, their excellent play has been a collective effort on offense, defense and special teams. Can the Ravens put it together in Jackson’s first AFC Championship game appearance?
The Detroit Lions may be the best success story in football this year. Before this season, the franchise hadn’t won a playoff game since 1992! They’ve collected two wins and are one away from making Super Bowl LVIII.
However, it has hardly been by accident. The offense has been stellar thanks to Jared Goff, Amon-Ra St. Brown and other All-Pro guys on the roster. Detroit’s played in two close games at home, so how will they fare on the road?
San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers had the luxury of avoiding the wild card round, but their injury woes badly necessitated the rest. Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel, Brock Purdy and Trent Williams have all suffered injuries late in the season, making Niner fans sweat when the injury report comes out. This team has the talent to win it all, but will they stay healthy enough to make the 2024 Super Bowl in Las Vegas?
2024 Conference Championship Predictions
Before booking your trip to Sin City, you must get through conference championship weekend. Who will win and advance to Super Bowl LVIII? Here’s a breakdown and predictions for each game.
The Ravens and Chiefs will meet this Sunday for the first time since September 2021. A lot has changed on these rosters, but the head coaches and quarterbacks remain the same. What should you expect in the first conference championship game?
The big matchup will be the Chiefs’ defense against the Ravens’ offense. Both units have been superb this season, so it’ll be a chess match between Coaches Reid and Harbaugh. Baltimore has the probable MVP at quarterback with a tremendous offensive line and an emerging star in Zay Flowers. One area the Chiefs could exploit is the Ravens’ run game, considering Keaton Mitchell’s injury has sidelined him for the rest of the season.
Conversely, Mahomes and crew will only have to play their second road playoff game. Last week, the Buffalo crowd didn’t bother the Chiefs as they tore through the Bills’ depleted defense. Now, they face an even more challenging test against a stout Ravens defense. Kansas City must be creative to get the most out of Travis Kelce, Rashee Rice and the other playmakers.
Prediction: Ravens 24, Chiefs 20
The nightcap will be the NFC Championship, featuring the storied 49ers against the kneecap-biting Lions. San Francisco is a touchdown favorite in this game because of their loaded talent on both sides and their home-field advantage.
The key for the 49ers is health, considering Deebo Samuel is uncertain to play on Sunday. Everyone else seems good to go, which is a good sign for Head Coach Kyle Shanahan. His offense will need maximum help, considering the Lions’ excellent defensive personnel like Aiden Hutchinson and Ifeatu Melifonwu.
The Lions’ biggest hurdle may simply be playing on the road. Ford Field is nice and cozy with blue shirts in the stands, but how will they fare with loud Niners fans? They also needs to plan a terrific defensive scheme to combat McCaffrey, Brandon Aiyuk and Jauan Jennings, who had an excellent game against the Packers. Detroit’s secondary took a beating against the Rams and Buccaneers, so they’ll need to tighten up.
Prediction: 49ers 31, Lions 21
2024 Super Bowl Predictions
If the Ravens and 49ers win this weekend, the 2024 Super Bowl will see a rematch from the regular season. On Christmas Day, Baltimore beat San Francisco 33-19 — a decisive blowout for the AFC’s top seed. Set up the nacho bar and fill up the coolers because this matchup will be fun regardless of which teams are playing.
Beating an opponent for the second time in the same season is difficult because the other team’s head coach will make many adjustments. What can Shanahan cook up for this potential rematch? How much will a neutral field change the outcome? Will injuries change each team’s preparation? Ultimately, Baltimore will be too much for Kansas City and either NFC team despite having the second-best odds to win the Super Bowl.
Prediction: Ravens 27, 49ers 19
Prepping for the 2024 Super Bowl
This NFL season is shaping up for a spectacular ending. Fans could see the first repeat champions in two decades or a new set of players will cement their NFL legacies with a ring. All four teams have what it takes to hoist the trophy in February. What’s your 2024 Super Bowl prediction?
Jack Shaw is a senior writer at Modded. Jack is an avid enthusiast for keeping up with personal health and enjoying nature. He has over five years of experience writing in the men's lifestyle niche, and has written extensively on topics of fitness, exploring the outdoors and men's interests. His writings have been featured in SportsEd TV, Love Inc., and Offroad Xtreme among many more publications.