Throughout the 2022 season, NFL Network analysts will provide one bold prediction heading into each week's slate of games (see the full Championship Sunday schedule).
DeMeco Ryans' No. 1 defense has propelled the San Francisco 49ers all season long, and it will have to show up again Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles, the NFC's top seed. In a back-and-forth contest, 49ers' defensive captain Fred Warner leaves his mark with a game-winning pick-six of Jalen Hurts to help get the 49ers back to the Super Bowl.
I'll almost never bet against the uber-talented Patrick Mahomes, but his ankle injury is a big concern heading into Sunday's heavyweight matchup with the red-hot Cincinnati Bengals. With Joe Burrow vaulting up the QB ranks this postseason and the Bengals having the better team overall, I believe Cincinnati goes into Arrowhead Stadium and wins the AFC title game for the second consecutive year. The biggest deciding factor in this one is superstar wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase, for whom the Chiefs' defense has no answer. He goes for over 150 receiving yards and two scores in the victory.
Neither the San Francisco 49ers nor Philadelphia Eagles have many weaknesses on defense, but if there's one place where Kyle Shanahan's group can take advantage, it's in the run game. Against the Eagles' 16th-ranked run defense, the 49ers get rushing scores from Christian McCaffrey, Elijah Mitchell and Deebo Samuel on Sunday.
After racking up 105 rushing yards, including a goal-line TD plunge, in last week's Divisional Round win, Bengals running back Joe Mixon gets back to work on Sunday with 120 yards and two TDs on the ground against the Kansas City Chiefs. The performance marks the first time that he's had back-to-back 100-yard rushing performances since Weeks 11-12 of the 2021 season.
Full Championship Sunday schedule
Sunday, January 29
- No. 2 San Francisco 49ers at No. 1 Philadelphia Eagles (3 p.m. ET on FOX/FOX Sports/FOX Deportes)
- No. 3 Cincinnati Bengals at No. 1 Kansas City Chiefs (6:30 p.m. ET on CBS/Paramount+)