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NFL playoffs: Chiefs, Bengals, Eagles and 49ers - meet the teams battling it out to reach Super Bowl LVII in Arizona

The playoffs continue on Sky Sports this Sunday as the NFL's final four battle it out for a spot in Super Bowl LVII; the Eagles first host the 49ers in the NFC title game, before the Chiefs face the Bengals in the AFC - watch live on Sky Sports NFL from 7pm, Sunday

NFL playoffs: Meet the final four

We have our final four in the NFL playoffs! The Conference Championship games - effectively semi-finals ahead of Super Bowl LVII - take place this Sunday, live on Sky Sports NFL; here's your guide to the teams left battling for the right to make it to Arizona on February 12...


1) Kansas City Chiefs

AFC West division champions - 14-3 regular-season record

Divisional Round result: 27-20 winners vs Jaguars (4)

Head coach: Andy Reid is into his 10th season with the Chiefs, and this team has known only success since he's been there, missing out on the playoffs just once in 2014 - albeit still securing a winning record at 9-7, the only time his team failed to reach 10 wins. With victory over the Jaguars in the divisional round of the playoffs, Kansas City clinched a fifth-straight appearance in the AFC Championship game under Reid.

Key man: The uber-talented Patrick Mahomes, of course. The 27-year-old is favourite to win a second league MVP title this season in just his fifth year as a starter in the NFL.

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A look at some of the best plays from Patrick Mahomes this season, in his bid to grab a second league MVP award

Mahomes set a new record for the most offensive yds (5,614) in NFL history this season - breaking down as 5,250 passing yards, 358 rush yards and six receiving. He also led the league in passing TDs during the regular season, with 41, six greater than the 35 of both Josh Allen (Bills) and Joe Burrow (Bengals). And he did it all despite the team trading away his best receiver, Tyreek Hill to the Dolphins, in the offseason.

A high ankle sprain picked up in the divisional round win over the Jaguars is, for sure, a concern, though not necessarily to Mahomes himself it seems. The Chiefs QB claimed he'd be "good to go" for the AFC title game against the Bengals when speaking to reporters in the immediate aftermath of the Jags win.

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Despite suffering an ankle injury in the first quarter of their win over Jacksonville, Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes is confident he'll be fit for next weekend's AFC Championship Game.

Form guide: It couldn't be much better. The Chiefs won the AFC West division title for a seventh-straight season, with a 14-3 record - not only the longest active streak in the league, but tied for the second-longest in NFL history behind only the 11-straight years the Patriots won the AFC East from 2009 to 2019.

They then overcame the Jaguars in a testing divisional-round clash after a first-round bye in the playoffs. Though, one of their defeats this season came against Joe Burrow and the Bengals, with the Chiefs having failed to win any of their three meetings against Burrow previously. Bad omens ahead of the AFC title game on Sunday?

NFL playoffs: Championship Sunday live on Sky Sports

Sunday NFC: San Francisco 49ers (2) @ Philadelphia Eagles (1) Sunday, 8pm, Sky Sports NFL
AFC: Cincinnati Bengals (3) @ Kansas City Chiefs (1) Sunday, 11.30pm, Sky Sports NFL & Main Event

Playoff history: Kansas City lifted the Vince Lombardi Trophy on their first visit to the Super Bowl in 50 years when they beat the 49ers to cap the 2018 season, with Mahomes named MVP after engineering a comeback from 20-10 down midway through the fourth quarter.

They have made it all the way to the Super Bowl on four occasions, losing to the Packers in the very first Super Bowl, before triumphing over the Vikings three years later. After their Super Bowl LIV win over the Niners, the Chiefs missed the chance to go back-to-back as they were beaten by Tom Brady and the Bucs in the big game. Last year it was the Bengals who proved their undoing in the AFC Championship game. Will history repeat itself this weekend?

Super Bowl prospects: The Chiefs live for the conference title game. This Sunday will make it five-straight seasons in which they've hosted the AFC title game. Currently they can claim a 50 per cent record across the previous four contests, with a defeat to the Patriots followed by wins over the Titans and Bills, before that loss to the Bengals last season.

3) Cincinnati Bengals

AFC North division champions - 12-4 regular-season record

Divisional Round result: 27-10 winners @ Bills (2)
Super Wild Card Weekend result: 24-17 winners vs Ravens (6)

Head coach: Despite the astronomical success the Bengals have enjoyed over the past two years, Zac Taylor hasn't always convinced the masses, with many believing last year's run to the Super Bowl and their success this season is owed more to the brilliance of Joe Burrow at quarterback. But, book back-back Super Bowl appearances on Sunday, and those doubters will well and truly be silenced.

Key man: Joe Burrow joined Bills QB Allen tied for second with 35 passing TDs in the regular season (a new career high), trailing only Mahomes' 41.

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A look at some of this season's best plays from Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow this season

The three exceptional young quarterbacks leading the way in the AFC are often hard to separate in terms of pure stats, but Burrow has certainly had the better of the pair in on-field, head-to-head battles. Not only did he and the Bengals knock out Allen's Bills in the divisional round, but Burrow is the only QB in the league to face Mahomes multiple times and be undefeated, winning all three of their previous matchups - including when knocking the Chiefs out in last year's AFC Championship game.

Form guide: The Bengals were second only to the 49ers' 10-straight wins in terms of form heading into the playoffs, themselves riding an eight-game win streak into Super Wild Card Weekend, where they then dispatched the Ravens for a second week in a row after having also beaten their great AFC North rivals on the final weekend of the regular season.

They then followed that up with a sensational showing to dispatch the Bills 27-10 in Buffalo in the divisional round. This Cincinnati side simply loves to play spoiler.

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Highlights of the Cincinnati Bengals against the Buffalo Bills in the NFL Divisional Round.

Playoff history: The Bengals are one of the 12 teams in the NFL to have never won the Super Bowl, while their three defeats without having tasted victory in the big game is second only to the Bills and Vikings' unwanted record of four.

After falling foul of the 49ers twice in the 1980s, Cincinnati sensationally made it all the way back to the Super Bowl last season, following a barren run of 31 years without so much as even a playoff win, but Burrow and co ultimately came unstuck against the Rams, despite having held a 10-point lead at one point midway through the third quarter.

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) leaves the field after the NFL Super Bowl 56 football game against the Los Angeles Rams, Sunday, Feb. 13, 2022, in Inglewood, Calif. The Rams defeated the Bengals 23-30. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Image: Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow leaves the field dejected after losing Super Bowl LVI to the Rams

Super Bowl prospects: The Bengals have proven themselves to be a Super Bowl contender yet again this year, though the road to Arizona again runs through Kansas City - no easy task, even given Cincinnati's stellar record against Mahomes and KC.


1) Philadelphia Eagles

NFC East division champions - 14-3 regular-season record

Divisional Round result: 38-7 winners vs Giants (6)

Head coach: Nick Sirianni is one of the favourites to win NFL coach of the year honours, having led the Eagles to the No 1 seed in the NFC in just his second season in charge in Philadelphia.

Key man: League MVP candidate Jalen Hurts has enjoyed a career year in Philly, finishing the regular season with 3,701 passing yards and 22 touchdowns to only six interceptions, and adding a further 760 yards and a staggering 13 scores on the ground. The dual-threat QB is the first player in the Super Bowl era to rank in the top five in both passer rating (101.5) and rushing TDs in the same season.

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Check out the best plays of the 2022 NFL season so far from MVP hopeful Jalen Hurts

Form guide: The Eagles held the NFL's best record for the majority of the season, having served as the league's last remaining undefeated team until they were taken down by the Commanders in Week 10. A further five-game winning run followed before back-to-back defeats - to the Cowboys and the Saints - during an injury absence to their star quarterback that threatened to undo all of their hard work prior. No fear, as Hurts returned to put things right with a season-ending win over the Giants, before they easily overcame the very same opposition 38-7 in the divisional round of the playoffs after their first-round bye.

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Highlights of the New York Giants' trip to the Philadelphia Eagles in the Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs.

Playoff history: The Eagles, up until their lone Super Bowl win in 2017, had been a long-suffering franchise and fan base. They made the Super Bowl only once prior, in 1980 - losing to the Raiders - and otherwise endured 29 postseason-less years from 1960 until the turn of the millennium.

Since then, the franchise's fortunes have changed, with the Eagles consistently competing with the upper class of the NFL, reaching four-straight NFC Championship games under now-Chiefs coach Andy Reid in the early 2000s, the last of which secured them a second trip to the Super Bowl where they were beaten by Brady and the Patriots. Thirteen years later, they'd eventually get their revenge against the very same team and QB, triumphing 41-33 in a truly epic encounter at Super Bowl LII.

Nick Foles celebrates with the Lombardi Trophy after defeating the New England Patriots 41-33
Image: Nick Foles led the Eagles to a sensational Super Bowl win over the Patriots in 2017

Super Bowl prospects: The Eagles are the No 1 seed for a reason, so they could very well find themselves representing the NFC in Super Bowl LVII in Arizona come February 12. That said, is it all coming a little early in this new Sirianni-led era? San Francisco are precisely the team they were probably most keen to avoid come Sunday's conference championship final, but that is no way to say this Philadelphia team aren't capable of taking them down.

2) San Francisco 49ers

NFC West division champions - 13-4 regular-season record

Divisional Round result: 19-12 winners vs Cowboys (5)
Super Wild Card Weekend result: 41-23 winners vs Seahawks (7)

Head coach: Kyle Shanahan is considered one of the best head coaches in the league, and perhaps the game's greatest offensive mind. The 2022 season has been a real testament to that, with San Francisco down to their third-string quarterback - rookie seventh-round draft pick Brock Purdy - and yet they posted 13 wins during the regular season, riding 10 in a row into the playoffs where that has soon become 12 with a 41-23 beating of the Seahawks and a tense, nervy 19-12 triumph over the Cowboys.

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Highlights of the Dallas Cowboys against the San Francisco 49ers in the Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs.

Key man: One of the reasons the 49ers have been so good this year is their depth as a squad, possessing talent at every position - thus making the job of picking out just one star player extremely difficult. There's Christian McCaffrey at running back - a sensational mid-season addition via trade from Carolina - as well as Deebo Samuel at receiver and star tight end George Kittle, in addition to the aforementioned, unflappable Purdy at QB.

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Check out the best plays from 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey from the 2022 season

On defense, Fred Warner at linebacker, Talanoa Hufanga at safety and Charvarius Ward at cornerback are all worthy of mention, but it's pass rusher extraordinaire Nick Bosa who ultimately gets the nod. Bosa is a one-man quarterback wrecking crew on the defensive line and his league-leading 18.5 sacks in the regular season - on the NFL's No 1 ranked defense - has likely secured him defensive player of the year honours.

San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa (97) looks on during an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, Oct. 9, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)
Image: Niners defensive end Nick Bosa looks set to be named defensive player of the year after a stellar season

Form guide: The Niners are the hottest team in the NFL right now, winning their last 12 straight. Their last loss came all the way back in Week Seven, a 44-23 drubbing by the Chiefs.

Since, the defense has stepped up massively, allowing over 20 points just twice in that 12-game streak. Meanwhile, over the same stretch the San Francisco offense has surpassed 30 points on eight separate occasions.

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Neil Reynolds and Jeff Reinebold discuss the streaking San Francisco 49ers as they head into the playoffs as the form team in the NFL.

Playoff history: The 49ers are one of the most successful franchises in Super Bowl history, with their five wins level with the Cowboys and bettered only by the Steelers and Patriots (both six) - and Brady's seven.

That said, San Francisco last tasted success nearly three decades ago in the 1994 season, and have lost their two trips since - in 2012 and to Mahomes' Chiefs in 2019. They very nearly made it back to the big dance again last year, only to lose out to the Rams in a super-tight NFC Championship battle.

Super Bowl prospects: One of the favourites. The Eagles may well hold the No 1 seed in the conference, but many view San Francisco - in their third NFC Championship game in the last four years - as capable of pulling off the win on the road to clinch their Super Bowl spot.

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