The 2022 NFC and AFC Championship Games are not the matchups that most predicted at the start of the NFL playoffs. Three upsets in the divisional round have set the stage for a pair of rematches with trips to Super Bowl LVI on the line.

The Kansas City Chiefs are significant favorites over the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Championship Game. Kansas City outlasted the Buffalo Bills 42-36 in a thriller. Cincinnati defeated the Tennessee Titans 19-16, knocking off the conference’s top seed.

The Los Angeles Rams are favored by more than a field goal over the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game. Los Angeles blew a 27-3 lead over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the divisional round, only to eliminate Tom Brady and the defending champs with a last-second field goal. San Francisco has pulled off back-to-back upsets, defeating the Dallas Cowboys and then knocking off MVP favorite Aaron Rodgers and the No. 1 seed Green Bay Packers.

The NFL’s Conference Championship Weekend starts at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday in Kansas City where the AFC winner will be decided. The NFC champion will be determined at 6:30 p.m. ET in Los Angeles. CBS will broadcast the first game with FOX getting the second contest. 

Here are picks against the spread for both conference championship games. Betting odds come from DraftKings Sportsbook.

Cincinnati Bengals (+7) at Kansas City Chiefs

It was only a few weeks ago that the Bengals upset the Chiefs, preventing Kansas City from earning the AFC’s No. 1 seed. Cincinnati beat Kansas City 34-31 at home in Week 17, winning one of the regular season’s most exciting matchups. Joe Burrow threw for 446 yards, four touchdowns and a 148.0 passer rating, leading the Bengals back from a 14-point deficit in the second half.

The win over Kansas City should've removed any doubt that Cincinnati could make a Super Bowl run. Burrow went toe-to-toe with Patrick Mahomes. He’s won his last five starts, completing 75.3% of his passes for an average of 344 yards per game. Burrow has 11 touchdowns and one interception in that span.

Burrow has also been sacked 21 times over the last five games, including nine sacks in Tennessee. The Bengals outlasted the Titans because of three Ryan Tannehill interceptions, one of which set up the game-winning field goal. The Chiefs sacked Burrow four times in their Week 17 defeat.

Mahomes won’t bail out Cincinnati’s offensive line the way Tannehill and Tennessee’s offense did. After his masterful performance against the Bills, Mahomes has totaled 27 touchdowns and just one turnover in eight career home playoff games. The Chiefs are 7-1, averaging 36.5 points in those games at Arrowhead Stadium.

Burrow should keep the Bengals competitive, but Sunday’s meeting between Kansas City and Buffalo felt like the real AFC Championship Game.

Prediction: Kansas City over Cincinnati, 30-26

San Francisco 49ers (+3.5) at Los Angeles Rams 

The Rams will be at home with the best quarterback in this game. Los Angeles owns the better record and has been more dominant this postseason. Yet, the reasons why the 49ers might win are hard to ignore.

The 49ers defeated the Rams twice in the regular season. Los Angeles never had a chance in its 31-10 Week 10 loss, giving up 156 rushing yards while Matthew Stafford threw two interceptions. San Francisco overcame a 17-0 deficit in Week 18 to beat Los Angeles 27-24 in overtime, and the 49ers outgained the Rams by 184 yards.

None of Aaron Donald’s 12.5 sacks and four forced fumbles this season came against Los Angeles. Deebo Samuel had 273 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns in the 49ers’ two wins. Kyle Shanahan has won six straight games against Sean McVay’s Rams. 

Shanahan will have a hard time extending that streak to seven games if Jimmy Garoppolo doesn’t play better than he has in the last two playoff games. Garoppolo’s pedestrian numbers of 27-44 for 303 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions could be even worse if opposing defenses took advantage of a few throws that could have easily been picked off.  

The 49ers’ defense turned Rodgers and Dak Prescott into average quarterbacks this postseason. Garoppolo completed 74.5% of his passes against the Rams in the regular season. If San Francisco’s quarterback plays a halfway-decent game, the team’s rushing attack and defense can lead it to a second Super Bowl in three years.

Prediction: San Francisco over Los Angeles, 20-17

Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers looks to throw the ball during the first half against the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field Photo: Getty Images | Julio Aguilar