An NFL Conference championship preview

January 28, 2024
Scroll on for everything you need to know ahead of today’s American Football Conference (AFC) and National Football Conference (NFC) championship kickoffs.
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An NFL Conference championship preview
Source: Rob Carr/Getty Images

⏪ How we got here

The GIST: With 17 regular-season games and two weeks of postseason play in the books, it’s been a long and winding road for the NFL’s final four — the top-seeded Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers, the reigning champ Kansas City Chiefs, and the aforementioned upstart Detroit Lions.

AFC: Baltimore cruised to a 13-4 regular-season record, winning the AFC North to secure the coveted No. 1 seed and a first-round bye. And they certainly looked well-rested in their 34–10 Divisional Round trouncing of the No. 4 Houston Texans. The team now standing in their way of conference gridiron glory? No. 3 Kansas City Chiefs.

  • KC finished their regular season at 11-6 (their worst record since 2017) but dominated the Miami Dolphins 26–7 on Super Wild Card Weekend before outlasting the Buffalo Bills 27–24 last Sunday.

NFC: The 49ers amassed a 12-5 record, earning the conference’s No. 1 seed and a first-round bye of their own. But their first postseason game was a nailbiter with SF surviving a third quarter comeback from the emergent No. 7 Green Bay Packers to clinch a 24–21 Divisional Round win.

  • SF will take on the No. 3 Detroit Lions, who own a division title for the first time since 1993 with a matching 12-5 record. The Honolulu Blue eked out a 24–23 Wild Card win over the No. 6 seed LA Rams before topping the No. 4 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31–23 in the Divisional Round.

🔴 AFC Championship: No. 1 Baltimore Ravens vs. No. 3 Kansas City Chiefs — Today at 3 p.m. ET

An NFL Conference championship preview
Source: Perry Knotts/Getty Images

The GIST: With 17 regular-season games and two weeks of postseason play in the books, it’s been a long and winding road for the NFL’s final four — the top-seeded Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers, the reigning champ Kansas City Chiefs, and the aforementioned upstart Detroit Lions.

AFC: Baltimore cruised to a 13-4 regular-season record, winning the AFC North to secure the coveted No. 1 seed and a first-round bye. And they certainly looked well-rested in their 34–10 Divisional Round trouncing of the No. 4 Houston Texans. The team now standing in their way of conference gridiron glory? No. 3 Kansas City Chiefs.

  • KC finished their regular season at 11-6 (their worst record since 2017) but dominated the Miami Dolphins 26–7 on Super Wild Card Weekend before outlasting the Buffalo Bills 27–24 last Sunday.

NFC: The 49ers amassed a 12-5 record, earning the conference’s No. 1 seed and a first-round bye of their own. But their first postseason game was a nailbiter with SF surviving a third quarter comeback from the emergent No. 7 Green Bay Packers to clinch a 24–21 Divisional Round win.

  • SF will take on the No. 3 Detroit Lions, who own a division title for the first time since 1993 with a matching 12-5 record. The Honolulu Blue eked out a 24–23 Wild Card win over the No. 6 seed LA Rams before topping the No. 4 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31–23 in the Divisional Round.

🔵 NFC Championship: No. 1 San Francisco 49ers vs. No. 3 Detroit Lions — Tonight at 6:30 p.m. ET

An NFL Conference championship preview
Source: Ryan Kang/Getty Images

The GIST: With 17 regular-season games and two weeks of postseason play in the books, it’s been a long and winding road for the NFL’s final four — the top-seeded Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers, the reigning champ Kansas City Chiefs, and the aforementioned upstart Detroit Lions.

AFC: Baltimore cruised to a 13-4 regular-season record, winning the AFC North to secure the coveted No. 1 seed and a first-round bye. And they certainly looked well-rested in their 34–10 Divisional Round trouncing of the No. 4 Houston Texans. The team now standing in their way of conference gridiron glory? No. 3 Kansas City Chiefs.

  • KC finished their regular season at 11-6 (their worst record since 2017) but dominated the Miami Dolphins 26–7 on Super Wild Card Weekend before outlasting the Buffalo Bills 27–24 last Sunday.

NFC: The 49ers amassed a 12-5 record, earning the conference’s No. 1 seed and a first-round bye of their own. But their first postseason game was a nailbiter with SF surviving a third quarter comeback from the emergent No. 7 Green Bay Packers to clinch a 24–21 Divisional Round win.

  • SF will take on the No. 3 Detroit Lions, who own a division title for the first time since 1993 with a matching 12-5 record. The Honolulu Blue eked out a 24–23 Wild Card win over the No. 6 seed LA Rams before topping the No. 4 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31–23 in the Divisional Round.

👀 More players to watch

An NFL Conference championship preview
Source: Ryan Kang/Getty Images

The GIST: With 17 regular-season games and two weeks of postseason play in the books, it’s been a long and winding road for the NFL’s final four — the top-seeded Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers, the reigning champ Kansas City Chiefs, and the aforementioned upstart Detroit Lions.

AFC: Baltimore cruised to a 13-4 regular-season record, winning the AFC North to secure the coveted No. 1 seed and a first-round bye. And they certainly looked well-rested in their 34–10 Divisional Round trouncing of the No. 4 Houston Texans. The team now standing in their way of conference gridiron glory? No. 3 Kansas City Chiefs.

  • KC finished their regular season at 11-6 (their worst record since 2017) but dominated the Miami Dolphins 26–7 on Super Wild Card Weekend before outlasting the Buffalo Bills 27–24 last Sunday.

NFC: The 49ers amassed a 12-5 record, earning the conference’s No. 1 seed and a first-round bye of their own. But their first postseason game was a nailbiter with SF surviving a third quarter comeback from the emergent No. 7 Green Bay Packers to clinch a 24–21 Divisional Round win.

  • SF will take on the No. 3 Detroit Lions, who own a division title for the first time since 1993 with a matching 12-5 record. The Honolulu Blue eked out a 24–23 Wild Card win over the No. 6 seed LA Rams before topping the No. 4 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31–23 in the Divisional Round.