Hope everyone is phenomenal out there. Championship Sunday is one day away, so let’s hear it.
Who do you have winning? Our Go Long predictions are below. Be sure to fire away with yours in the comments.
Share Go Long
This game is why the Rams made the deal for Matthew Stafford. I’d expect the Rams to lean into this identity and try to exploit the 49ers secondary deep. Somehow, however, Kyle Shanahan and DeMeco Ryans will find a way to turn this game into a back-alley brawl and no team in the league can match San Francisco’s old-school physicality. They’re unbelievably well-coached. We tend to make this game a lot more complicated than it is. At the end of the day, it’s blocking and tackling as Deebo Samuel’s third-and-7 run proved last weekend. This is a win for our grandfathers with the 49ers running to glory and Jimmy Garoppolo throwing the ball a dozen times. 49ers 20, Rams 16
You wanna get nuts? Let’s get nuts. Hey, maybe I’ve been listening to Mike Hilton too much but I think he’s on to something. It’s almost like the entire country has forgotten the Bengals beat the Chiefs four weeks ago — this team is not afraid, whatsoever. Look for Chiefs-Bengals to resemble Chiefs-Bills and rev into a high-scoring affair by the fourth quarter. Joe Burrow can keep up with Patrick Mahomes and, the guess here, is Cincy is able to steal a possession or two to win. I don’t think Zac Taylor will punt twice early like Sean McDermott and/or someone like Hilton will be able to force a turnover. And everyone can party like it’s 1989. Bengals 38, Chiefs 35.
I’ve never liked the interior of the Rams’ offensive line under Sean McVay. I also don’t think they have the ballast on their front seven to rebuff the run game and get the 49ers in third-and-long situations so the Rams’ undersized pass rushers can become a game-altering force. Deebo Samuel, Nick Bosa, George Kittle, Fred Warner and Kyle Juszczyk are rare, indomitable players at their positions. The Rams have star power ... but minimal staying power. 49ers 37, Rams 20.
Look for a second straight shootout at Arrowhead. The Bengals’ offensive line was eaten up by the Titans, and with intense noise disrupting that marginal unit look for Joe Burrow to be sacked repeatedly once again. Unfortunately for the Bengals, they won’t have Ryan Tannehill making a load of poor throws. The Chiefs aren’t what they were in the recent past but that’s still good enough to handle Zac Taylor’s upstarts. Chiefs 44, Bengals 30.
Points will be hard earned with two teams familiar with each other. Do not like that 49ers left tackle Trent Williams is questionable with an ankle against a talented Rams pass rush. Garoppolo seems good for one or two picks every game and that’s a tough way to make a living for San Francisco who rank 21st in turnover margin per game. The Rams went all in on Stafford for this type of game now they need the result to prove them right. Rams 24, 49ers 17.
Is it too easy to say Patrick Mahomes plays in the Super Bowl every year or is it a fact? Hard to see either defense slow the other team down right now. The Bengals defense ranks 21st on third down going against the Chiefs who are first in third down offense so how does Cincy get off the field on defense? The Chiefs owe it to the city Buffalo to win this game and not waste the 13-second comeback last weekend. Chiefs 34, Bengals 24.
Miss anything at Go Long this week? A few links are right here…
Mike Hilton assured these Bengals are not afraid and his rise mirrors the Chiefs’ rise: “They wake up and put the pants on the same way we do. We feel like they might have Pat Mahomes but we have Joe Burrow. We know we can play with those guys and we can beat those guys.
Wondering what in the hell happened those final 13 seconds at Arrowhead? On The Isaiah McKenzie Show, the Buffalo Bills wide receiver didn’t hold back. He takes everyone through the emotional highs and lows. We’ve got the audio and video. Also, what’s going through his mind into free agency? He’d like an expanded role.
This loss is on the head coach, Sean McDermott. Here’s a column.
Our Bob McGinn meticulously sifts through the rubble at Lambeau Field to figure out how the 49ers upset the Packers. What did he find? A quarterback unwilling to throw it downfield. A special teams unit that’s been a disaster waiting to happen. And a coach in Kyle Shanahan who knew exactly who to attack on third and 7.
Former Bills director of personnel Jim Monos and myself relived the divisional round on the podcast and imagine a world in which head coaches couldn’t lie at the podium like Fletcher Reede in “Liar, Liar.”
I’m all for a Bengals-Rams Superbowl!
Gotta go with my Chiefs! At arrowhead, looking to prove something after the loss to Cincy a month ago, high on confidence from the win last week but still locked in. But. It could be a bad matchup in that the chiefs secondary, their weakest point, matches up poorly against the bengals’ strength. Hoping the chiefs pressure burrow consistently. And agree with Tyler’s take that a turnover or two would turn this game, so hoping my guys take care of the ball. I’ll go chiefs 38, bengals 28.
NFC… hard to beat a team three times in a season unless you really own them. Do the 49ers own the Rams as much as the last couple years suggest? To the point where it’s inevitable that shanahan and co will find a way to out-scheme the all-star rams cast? Maybe. But I think the difference here is stafford’s talent and will versus garrapolo’s mediocrity. Rams 24, 49ers 20.
Tyler, how did you get Bob to predict actual scores? I almost spat out my coffee (microwaved, of course) when I saw that.