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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Our information to Chiefs-Ravens, Lions-49ers: Picks, predictions and stats to know Categorical Instances

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The NFL playoffs’ convention championship spherical schedule for the 2024 season has two nice matchups, and we have you coated with what you want to know heading into the weekend. Our NFL Nation reporters deliver us the largest keys and a daring prediction for every matchup.

Moreover, ESPN Stats & Data supplies an enormous stat to know and a betting nugget for every contest, and our Soccer Energy Index (FPI) goes contained in the numbers with a recreation projection. Analytics author Seth Walder picks out every matchup’s greatest X issue, Matt Bowen identifies a key game-planning matchup to observe in each video games, and Kevin Seifert tells us what to know concerning the officiating. Lastly, Walder and Eric Moody give us remaining rating picks for each video games. All the pieces you wish to know is right here in a single spot that can assist you prepare for an thrilling weekend of NFL playoff soccer.

Let’s get into the total convention championship slate, together with Patrick Mahomes vs. Lamar Jackson and Brock Purdy vs. Jared Goff.

Bounce to a matchup:


3 p.m. ET | CBS | Unfold: BAL -3.5 (44.5)

What to observe for: This recreation marks the primary playoff assembly between Mahomes and Jackson. Within the common season, Mahomes is 3-1 in opposition to Jackson, which is probably the most wins of any beginning quarterback in opposition to Jackson (common season and playoffs). Of their final assembly in 2021, Jackson beat Mahomes and the Chiefs by dashing for 107 yards and scoring three touchdowns, together with flipping into the top zone for the profitable rating. — Jamison Hensley

Daring prediction: The Ravens and Chiefs will mix for at the very least 45 factors. These had been the highest two groups within the common season in scoring protection, with Baltimore main the way in which at 16.5 factors allowed per recreation and Kansas Metropolis proper behind at 17.3. However Jackson and Mahomes can be too good to cease, and every group will high 20 factors. — Adam Teicher

Stat to know: Steve Spagnuolo has been the Chiefs’ defensive coordinator since 2019. In that point no group has allowed extra dashing touchdowns to quarterbacks (26) within the common season than the Chiefs.

Matchup X issue: Mahomes’ scrambling potential. The Chiefs have had a tough time within the passing recreation all season lengthy, and it is solely going to get more durable in opposition to Baltimore, which allowed the second-lowest open rating to opposing receivers (ESPN’s receiver monitoring metrics) and recorded probably the most sacks within the league (60). Mahomes is a really efficient scrambler and must generate manufacturing together with his legs on Sunday. — Walder

Recreation-plan key: Kansas Metropolis’s protection loves to make use of man protection within the crimson zone, particularly inside its personal 10-yard line. Baltimore offensive coordinator Todd Monken ought to have some solutions there, with Jackson’s receivers operating crossers and delaying their releases. The Ravens had been eighth in crimson zone effectivity this season, scoring a TD on 61.8% of their journeys contained in the 20. Learn extra at ESPN+. — Bowen

Accidents: Chiefs | Ravens

Officiating word: Referee Shawn Smith’s regular-season crew threw the third-most flags within the NFL this season, a mean of 14.8 per recreation. Smith has additionally made an above-average variety of roughness calls. He threw the third-most flags for roughing the passer (eight), and total his crew ranked No. 1 with 25 pointless roughness calls. — Seifert

Betting nugget: Mahomes is 3-1 outright and 2-2 in opposition to the unfold in opposition to Jackson. Three of the 4 conferences went over the whole, with every matchup combining for at the very least 51 factors. The typical for the earlier 4 over/unders was 52.4 with none decrease than 49.

Moody’s choose: Ravens 25, Chiefs, 21
Walder’s choose: Ravens 26, Chiefs 20
FPI prediction: BAL, 63.6% (by a mean of 4.6 factors)

Matchup must-reads: Chiefs are headed to the AFC title recreation with a brand new identification … Ravens’ run to AFC title recreation vs. Chiefs fueled by surprises … Thuney unlikely to play vs. Ravens … Jackson expects ‘heavyweight battle’ vs. Mahomes



How J.J. Watt would attempt to cease Lamar Jackson

J.J. Watt tells “The Pat McAfee Present” how the Chiefs’ protection ought to attempt to decelerate Lamar Jackson.


6:30 p.m. ET | Fox | Unfold: SF -7 (50.5)

What to observe for: This can be a matchup of the established playoff favourite (the 49ers) in opposition to the upstart postseason underdog (the Lions). San Francisco can be making its NFL-record nineteenth convention championship recreation look. Detroit is in simply its second convention title recreation of the Tremendous Bowl period and first because the 1991 season.

However this recreation additionally has all of the makings of a heavyweight battle between two of the league’s most bodily groups. How the Niners’ run protection — which ranks twenty fifth in dashing yards allowed (128.6) and twenty eighth in yards per carry allowed (4.8) since Week 15 — holds up in opposition to the Lions’ two-headed dashing assault of Jahmyr Gibbs and David Montgomery will go a good distance in figuring out whether or not Detroit can spring the upset. — Nick Wagoner

Daring prediction: Gibbs will rush for a landing in his third consecutive playoff recreation. Sony Michel, Tim Hightower, Jamal Lewis, William Floyd and Tony Dorsett are the one NFL rookies with touchdowns in three playoff video games, however Gibbs will turn into the sixth to perform the uncommon feat. — Eric Woodyard

Stat to know: The 49ers have been the hardest group to deal with within the NFL this season, main the league in yards after contact (95.3 per recreation). Within the NFC Championship Recreation, the Lions’ protection will look to place a cease to that, because it leads the league in yards after contact allowed per recreation (63.5).

Matchup X issue: Lions edge rusher Aidan Hutchinson. The Lions’ cross protection is the weakest unit left within the playoffs, rating thirtieth in EPA per dropback over the course of the season. Hutchinson is one one that can change that in a flash, and he has been a special participant within the postseason with a 29% cross rush win price — greater than double his regular-season quantity. He additionally has 8.0 sacks in his previous 4 video games. Detroit, the underdog, wants one thing particular — a strip sack, maybe? — from Hutchinson to place this recreation again on degree phrases. — Walder

Recreation-plan key: Detroit has to get Purdy off-schedule with stress. Together with the playoffs, Detroit has registered a blitz price of 28.3% on first and second down, which ranks within the high 10. The Lions merely cannot let Purdy throw in rhythm or enable coach Kyle Shanahan to manage the tempo. Learn extra at ESPN+. — Bowen

Accidents: Lions | 49ers

Officiating word: Referee Clete Blakeman’s regular-season crew took to coronary heart the NFL’s midseason emphasis on offensive offside penalties, throwing a league-high 5 such flags. It was ranked second within the NFL in flags (53) associated to defensive cross protection: unlawful contact, defensive cross interference and defensive holding. — Seifert

Betting nugget: The Lions are 13-6 in opposition to the unfold this season, the second-best mark behind the Raiders (12-5). Overs are 12-7 in Lions video games. The 49ers are 9-9 in opposition to the unfold this season with overs going 10-8.

Moody’s choose: Lions 31, 49ers 28
Walder’s choose: 49ers 34, Lions 24
FPI prediction: SF, 74.1% (by a mean of 8.5 factors)

Matchup must-reads: Lions flip consideration to 49ers after ousting Bucs in playoffs … Purdy on playoff struggles: ‘It is a new recreation’ … Campbell hyperlinks winless 2008 Lions to success of 2023 group … Samuel, Williams present 49ers with management

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