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2023 NFL playoffs picks: Eagles, Bengals meet in Super Bowl 57 after thrilling wins on Championship Sunday

2023 NFL playoffs picks: Eagles, Bengals meet in Super Bowl 57 after thrilling wins on Championship Sunday


Click here to Breech’s original article published by CBSSports. 

Maybe it was just me, but did anyone else experience deja vu over the weekend?

The 49ers, Chiefs and Bengals all won during a divisional round that ended with the Cowboys running the dumbest play possible. That’s exactly what happened last year, too? Right? OK. Just wanted to make sure it wasn’t just me.

Last year, we got a QB draw from the Cowboys with 14 seconds left when they had no timeouts. This year, they ran a play that was 700 times worse.

Next year, I won’t be surprised if they let a cat line up at quarterback for the final play.

I’m going to stop talking about the Cowboys now though, because I’m doing picks for the conference title games and they’re not playing.

If you read my picks regularly, then you may know that my family consists of all Bengals fans. My dad (Jim Breech) is the all-time leader scorer for the Bengals, so if you ever notice any homerism on my part, it’s his fault.

The downside of everyone in my family being a Bengals fan is that they text me every week telling me to pick the Bengals and then when I don’t, they send me poop emojis. I hate poop emojis.

Since they clearly want me to pick the Bengals this week, I decided to do some research to see if it makes sense to pick them in this spot, and I have to say, my family is not going to like this research at all.

The Chiefs and Eagles both opened as favorites this week and one reason to like them is because they both played on Saturday in the divisional round. Teams that play on Saturday — which means they get one extra day of rest — have gone 17-9 in the conference title round over the past 13 years. To add to that, at least one team that played on Saturday in the divisional round has won at least one of the conference title games in 15 of the past 17 years, which means it’s highly unlikely that the Bengals and 49ers both win.

The one day advantage doesn’t sound like much, but just think about it like this: While the 49ers were busy fighting for their lives in a one-score win over the Cowboys on Sunday night, the Eagles were sitting around tweeting out adorable videos of Jason Kelce’s kid, who is clearly the biggest Eagles fan alive.

Not only are the Eagles and Chiefs more rested, but they’ll both be playing at home this week, which is definitely a huge advantage in the conference title round.

In seven of the past nine years, the home team has won the NFC Championship Game, and in what can only be described as a perfect coincidence, the home team has also won seven of the past nine conference title games in the AFC (Advantage: Eagles and Chiefs). That being said, this might not actually be an advantage for the Chiefs though, since they were on the losing end of both of those AFC losses with one of them coming last year against this same Bengals team.

Those were fun stats, but am I actually going to take them into account or am I going to go rogue?

Let’s get to the picks and find out.

Click here to read more NFL coverage from Godzilla Wins.

Conference title game picks

(2) San Francisco (15-4) at (1) Philadelphia (15-3)

3 p.m. ET (Fox)

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I have no idea how it happened, but the 49ers have somehow made it to the NFC title game with a rookie quarterback. Getting to a conference title game is hard enough, but getting to one with a rookie quarterback is almost impossible. It’s like asking a 16-year-old to go out and win the Indy 500 three hours after they get their driver’s license.

When Brock Purdy takes the field on Sunday, he’ll become just the fifth rookie QB in NFL history to start in a conference title game (Shaun King, Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Flacco and Mark Sanchez are the others). If history is any indication, things could get ugly for Purdy against the Eagles. Not only did those four other rookies go 0-4 in their starts, but they also combined to throw nine interceptions compared to just four touchdowns.

I picked against the 49ers last week because I thought Purdy would struggle, and he did. If Dak Prescott doesn’t choke by throwing two interceptions and if George Kittle doesn’t bail Purdy out with one of the best playoff catches of the year, then the 49ers might have lost.

Purdy struggled against a good Cowboys defense last week and this week, he’ll be facing an Eagles defense that’s even better. The Eagles have already racked up the THIRD-MOST sacks in NFL history for a single-season (75) and they could pass the 1985 Bears for the second-most if they pick up six more sacks on Sunday. If your defense does anything better than the 1985 Bears, that automatically makes your defense awesome.

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