|Date: Sunday, 29 January Kick-off occasions: 20:00 and 23:30 GMT
|BBC protection: Take heed to commentary on San Francisco 49ers v Philadelphia Eagles on Radio 5 Sports activities Further Stay (19:30-00:00) and observe reside textual content on the BBC Sport web site and app (19:30-04:00)
After 21 weeks and 281 video games of the NFL season, we have reached the ultimate hurdle on the highway to Tremendous Bowl 57.
4 groups stay within the play-offs and the winners of this weekend’s Convention Championships will meet within the massive sport in Arizona on 12 February.
The standard suspects are right here, with the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs, the Cincinnati Bengals, the Philadelphia Eagles and the San Francisco 49ers having all reached a Tremendous Bowl previously 5 years.
The person anticipated to be named this season’s Most Invaluable Participant has made it too, with quarterback Patrick Mahomes having led the Chiefs to the AFC Championship Sport for a fifth straight yr.
Nonetheless, there have been considerations over how match the 2018 MVP will likely be for Sunday’s rematch with the Bengals.
And may 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy full a exceptional journey from being ‘Mr Irrelevant’ to a Tremendous Bowl starter?
How match will Mahomes be?
The Chiefs had an harm scare throughout last week’s divisional round as Mahomes was pressured off in opposition to the Jacksonville Jaguars, solely to return for the second half.
The 27-year-old suffered a high-ankle sprain and stated after the 27-20 win that he’ll “be good to go” this Sunday and can do “no matter I can to be as near 100%”.
Mahomes had a toe harm in the course of the Chiefs’ play-off run two years in the past, once they lost Super Bowl 55 to Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
After that sport he stated “should you’re enjoying soccer, it’s a must to battle by means of accidents”. He is had to do this in observe this week and has even acquired some recommendation from report seven-time Tremendous Bowl winner Brady.
“I’ve a very good relationship with him now,” stated Mahomes. “Why would you to not need to hear from the ‘GOAT’, man? It is cool to see the fellows you watched rising up speak to you on that kind of platform.”
Mahomes, who led the NFL with 41 landing passes and a career-high 5,250 passing yards this season, stated remedy and rehab has been “a full-day factor” all week.
The Chiefs’ offensive line has been primed to supply Mahomes larger safety, so he would not must scramble out of the pocket, however right-handed quarterbacks additionally use their proper foot as the bottom to make their throws.
And though Mahomes has not absolutely examined his harm this week, he has proven since coming into the league in 2017 that he has the arm to make unorthodox passes when flat-footed or off-balance.
“Once we get within the sport, you realize adrenaline goes to take over and you can also make these throws when it is advisable to,” he stated.
Bengals again at ‘Burrowhead’
In 5 seasons as a starter, Mahomes has reached the AFC Championship Sport every time and Kansas Metropolis are aiming to achieve a 3rd Tremendous Bowl in 4 years.
But the Chiefs had been upset at house final yr by the Bengals, whose shock run to the Tremendous Bowl resulted in a 23-20 loss to the Los Angeles Rams.
Simply two years earlier, Cincinnati had the worst report within the league, which ensures they’ve the primary choose within the following season’s draft.
With that, they chose Joe Burrow and the quarterback has helped rework the Bengals right into a threatening, no-nonsense outfit.
Cincinnati have gained all three video games in opposition to Kansas Metropolis over the previous two seasons and return to Arrowhead Stadium, internet hosting the AFC title sport for a fifth straight yr, for the primary repeat of the earlier yr’s match-up since 1988.
“We all know them, they know us. It should be enjoyable,” stated Burrow, who has adopted the ‘Joe Cool’ nickname from legendary 49ers quarterback Joe Montana. “To me, they’re nonetheless the group to beat and we’re coming for them.”
Regardless of enjoying at a snowy Buffalo final week, the Bengals beat the Bills to dump out the pre-season Tremendous Bowl favourites and declare a tenth straight win.
Realizing a visit to Kansas Metropolis was subsequent, Bengals cornerback Mike Hilton stated to a TV digital camera late within the sport “we’ll see y’all in Burrowhead”. He added this week: “It may need stirred just a few pots.”
It positive has, and it has been used to provide additional motivation to Kansas Metropolis, whose solely loss of their previous 12 video games was at Cincinnati on 4 December.
“They’re throwing a number of bulletin board materials on the market,” stated Chiefs tight finish Travis Kelce.
Can the Eagles cease ‘Mr Irrelevant’?
The NFC title sport sees the San Francisco 49ers go to the Philadelphia Eagles, who just like the Chiefs secured the highest seed of their Convention having completed the common season with a 14-3 report.
That additionally earned them a bye for week one of many play-offs and gave Jalen Hurts extra time to relaxation the shoulder harm which noticed Philly’s third-year quarterback miss two video games late within the season and drop behind Mahomes in MVP competition.
The Eagles misplaced each these video games however, regardless of that laboured finish to the season, they and Hurts had been again to their dominant greatest as they brushed apart the New York Giants final week.
A commerce for receiver AJ Brown was the choose of some astute low season signings which have allowed Philly, who beat the New England Patriots in Tremendous Bowl 52, to construct a well-balanced offence and a stable defence.
Nonetheless, they now face a San Francisco group with the NFL’s greatest offence and greatest defence – and they’re on a 12-game profitable streak.
A mid-season commerce for dual-threat working again Christian McCaffrey helped propel the 49ers to a 13-4 end.
However their previous seven wins have been with Purdy as beginning quarterback after accidents to Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo, who took San Francisco to Tremendous Bowl 54 earlier than dropping to the Chiefs.
Not solely is Purdy their third selection however he was additionally this season’s ‘Mr Irrelevant’, the nickname given to the final man chosen within the draft.
The benefit with which Purdy has tailored to the NFL has seen the 23-year-old set all kinds of data. Now he goals to prime them by changing into the primary rookie quarterback to achieve a Tremendous Bowl.