Jannah Theme License is not validated, Go to the theme options page to validate the license, You need a single license for each domain name.

Safety of Accounts Damar Hamlin expresses gratitude in first public comments since cardiac arrest

This year’s NFL conference championships have provided a fascinating line-up of potential Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks.

In the AFC Championship Game, Patrick Mahomes hosts Joe Burrow in a repeat of last year’s matchup, with both men having previously been in the big game.

Meanwhile, in the NFC, Jalen Hurts and Brock Purdy have only played two postseason games, green enough to cause excitement and concern in equal measure.

Three of those QBs were confirmed as MVP nominees this week, with Purdy the obvious exception as “Mr. Irrelevant,” enjoying a fairytale story that would outshine just about any other.

So which of the four is best placed for this weekend, and who can expect to play Arizona in two weeks?

Brock Purdy, 49ers @ Eagles

It’s safe to say that Purdy didn’t expect to play this game when he was selected with the final pick of the 2022 draft.

Injuries to Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo catapulted the rookie into the spotlight, and he didn’t disappoint, winning his first seven games as a starter to extend the 49ers’ hitting streak to 12 games—the longest streak by a team entering a conference championship from the undefeated New England Patriots in 2007.

Purdy, at 22, will become the youngest QB to start a game at this stage of the season since Ben Roethlisberger in 2004, while he is only the fourth to do so having started five or fewer regular season games.

But given this inexperience, Purdy is the only QB left who likely won’t be handed complete control of the offense, instead simply being asked to consistently get the ball into the hands of the 49ers’ exceptional skill players.

Christian McCaffrey, like Purdy, has won every start since joining the 49ers in a mid-season trade from the Carolina Panthers, scoring one offensive touchdown in each of his last eight — one short of Ezekiel Elliott’s best streak of nine of 2022.

Since his first start, McCaffrey ranks third in the NFL in offensive touches (234); since Purdy’s first start, he is in first place (136).

Even with McCaffrey and Deebo Samuel both highly effective targets in the air, the 49ers shifted their focus to the running game with Purdy in center.

They have run the ball on 50.1% of plays since Purdy’s first start, the fifth-highest rate in the NFL and the highest of any team to make the playoffs. Prior to week 14, that figure was 43.2%.

The 49ers are unlikely to walk away from that now against an elite defense that leads the league by sizable margins in sacks (75), sack yards (517), and sack rate (10.7%).

Purdy may need McCaffrey and Co. to get through this round, but a Super Bowl appearance would only embolden those comparisons to 2001’s Tom Brady.

Jalen hurts, Eagles vs. 49ers

Hurts’ appearance on this stage is clearly not as striking as Purdy’s, but few could have foreseen the Eagles quarterback as the Goliath to his opponent’s David earlier in the season.

The third-year star unleashed his potential in 2022.

Hurts’ ability to run with the ball has never been in question, and this year his 14 rushing TDs rank third among all players, with Josh Allen his closest rival at QB with a relatively poor eight.

But there were crucial advances in the passing game as Hurts posted career bests in nearly every metric in the regular season: 66.5 completion percentage, 3,701 passing yards, 22 passing TDs, 1.3 passing percentage. interception and a passer rating of 101.5.

Last week, in the Eagles’ playoff opener against the New York Giants, he threw two touchdown passes and zero picks for a 112.2 rating.

After missing two games and two losses with the Eagles, Hurts heads into the NFC Championship Game with a 15-1 record as a starter this year, no doubt confident of further improving on that mark against the 49ers.

In an intriguing battle pitting the best offensive run in the league (47.0% hit rate) against his second best defensive run (32.1%), Hurts can provide the X factor.

The 49ers have shown few signs of weakness this year, but they did against Marcus Mariota, another running QB, whose Atlanta Falcons ran the ball in 69.6% of plays in Week 6 and had hits on 43 .6% of the time.

The Eagles will have watched the tape of that game to give Hurts the best possible chance to find joy against an otherwise fearsome defense.

Joe Burrow, Bengals @ Chiefs

Bengals cornerback Mike Hilton nicknamed the Chiefs’ home stadium, so terrifying to so many visiting teams, “Burrowhead” as Cincinnati prepared for their return to the AFC Championship Game.

Burrow came into Arrowhead last year and got the better of Mahomes to lead the Bengals to their third conference championship win in three attempts all-time.

Even as the Los Angeles Rams then defeated the Bengals in the Super Bowl, Burrow continued to prove himself the man for the big break, defeating the highly anticipated Buffalo Bills last week.

He won five of his first six playoff games, with only Brady (7-0), Russell Wilson (6-1) and Mahomes (6-1) having won six of his first seven since 1995.

So calm and composed, Burrow is an outstanding passer, ranking second in the league with his 68.2 completion percentage this year and third with his 85.9 good throwing percentage.

His problem has long been a lack of protection from the Bengals’ offensive line, with Burrow taking a league-leading 148 sacks since his debut season in 2020, a campaign that has been halted by ACL and MCL tears sustained in one shot.

But Burrow only took one sack against the Bills, and the Bengals are consistently doing a better job of giving their QB time to make the pass, albeit with his help.

The Bengals have allowed a press rate of just 32.4% this year, fourth best in the NFL, as Burrow took just 2.46 seconds to release the ball, fifth fastest average among QBs with 100 attempts .

It’s Burrow’s ability to work so fast while maintaining a league-low pickable passing percentage of 1.53 that edges him out as a star capable of going to Kansas City again and withstanding everything they throw at him.

Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs vs. Bengals

Mahomes is the one man who can’t be planned. If he’s at his game, there’s definitely no stopping the Chiefs superstar.

Luckily for the Bengals, he was a long way from the familiar Mahomes in the second half of last year’s AFC Championship Game, and his hopes of performing at the top level will be limited by his injury this week.

A high ankle sprain would rule out virtually any other QB, but Mahomes, no doubt determined to make up for what went so wrong last year, is ready to play.

Mahomes completed just eight of 18 passes after halftime in the Chiefs’ 2021 loss, throwing two interceptions for a remarkable 12.3 rating.

That was the sixth-lowest score in the second half of a playoff game this century, not the kind of company football’s best quarterback is used to.

But that second-half passer rating against the Jacksonville Jaguars last week, when Mahomes was playing with an injury, jumped to 110.7.

Even as he limped around the field, Mahomes was able to finish a fourth postseason game with an over 70.0 completion percentage (72.3) and multiple TD passes.

Only four players – Brady (six), Drew Brees (six), Troy Aikman (five) and Joe Montana (five) – have had more such performances. Mahomes played in just 12 playoff games in his career.

If this is the kind of form the Bengals can expect to find Mahomes this week, with revenge on his mind, all the attention on that ankle may count for little.

Content Source

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button