The NFC Championship Game matchup is set, and it will be an all NFC West affair. On Sunday, the Los Angeles Rams host the San Francisco 49ers with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line.
To achieve the conference title tilt and set up their third game of the season, the 49ers and Rams went on the road and knocked out the two NFC title favorites with last-second field goals.
Three of the seven NFC playoff teams came from the NFC West. Based on that achievement and the division’s cumulative record, the NFC West was the NFL’s top division in the regular season. So maybe it’s fair that the NFC Championship Game features two NFC West teams.
In the era of eight NFL divisions and 32 teams, the 49ers-Rams game will be only the third NFC championship game played between division rivals. In the 2010 season, the Green Bay Packers defeated the Chicago Bears in an all-NFC North game at Soldier Field. Then, in the 2014 season, the Seattle Seahawks beat the 49ers in an all-NFC West game in Seattle.
The 49ers will play in a record 17th NFC Championship Game, looking to tie the Dallas Cowboys’ record of eight NFC titles. The Rams, meanwhile, will be chasing their fifth NFC title in their 11th NFC Championship Game.
Both teams worked their way into the conference championship round in similar fashion, but the end result and margin of victory are the only similarities their wins share.
49ers Ride Defense and Special Teams to upset Packers
On Saturday night, the 49ers used solid defense, two big plays from their special teams, the speed of Deebo Samuel and the dependable right leg of Robbie Gould to stun the Green Bay Packers 13-10 at Lambeau Field.
The Packers entered this postseason as favorites to win the Super Bowl, but the 49ers knocked out Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay in the playoffs for the fourth time in his career.
Green Bay definitely had their chances of putting the game out of San Francisco’s reach, but they didn’t. And after blocking a field goal in the first half, the 49ers turned the game upside down late in the fourth, blocking a punt and driving the loose ball into the end zone for a game-tying touchdown.
From there, the defense stopped Rodgers one last time to hand the ball to Jimmy Garoppolo three minutes from time. It wasn’t a stellar night for Jimmy G and the 49ers offensively, but when it mattered, they picked up the yards they needed, moving upfield to set up Gould’s game-winning kick.
The 49ers needed a last-minute touchdown and an overtime road win over the Rams to qualify for the NFL playoffs. Now they return to SoFi Stadium for the NFC Championship Game, hoping to crush the Rams’ home Super Bowl dreams after road wins over the Cowboys and Packers.
Rams End Bucs’ repeated hopes of wild Tampa win
While the defense dominated the 49ers-Packers game, there were far more goals in Sunday’s Rams-Bucs game. But in the end, the Rams prevailed to eliminate the defending Super Bowl champions despite trying their best to blow a 27-3 lead.
It was no surprise that Tom Brady and the Bucs rallied, as Brady did repeatedly without and without additional fortune. But the Rams were far too generous, with four fumbles (three in the second half) keeping the Bucs in. Two of the fumbles set up touchdowns, allowing Tampa to tie it with 42 seconds left.
But contrary to the scenario that has played out many times before, Matthew Stafford and the Rams got the last laugh, not Brady. Two assists for Cooper Kupp set up Matt Gay’s game-winning kick with no time left, giving the Rams a 30-27 victory.
By trading for Stafford, the Rams bet that someone who hadn’t played many big games in his career could be the guy to win the biggest games for them. And that’s exactly what he did, outplaying Brady on the road and making two big throws to set up the winning shot.
Now, the Rams must do the charm of the third time against the 49ers, who swept them in the regular season. If the Rams win, they will be able to play the biggest game of all in their stadium against the winner of the Bengals-Chiefs AFC championship game.
With the game now set, the odds for the NFC Championship Game have been released. Let’s take a look at the first odds from BetMGM.
San Francisco 49ers vs Los Angeles Rams NFC Championship Game Matchup Betting Info and Odds
- Match Match: San Francisco 49ers (10-7, 3rd in NFC West, seeded No. 6 in NFC) vs. Los Angeles Rams (12-5, 1st in NFC West, seeded No. 4 in NFC)
- Venue and location: SoFi Stadium (Inglewood, CA)
- When: Sunday, January 30, 2022
- Time: 6:30 p.m. ET (3:30 p.m. local time)
- TV: FOX
Betting odds (as of Sunday, January 30, 6:50 a.m. ET)
- Spread: San Francisco 49ers +3.5 (-110), Los Angeles Rams -3.5 (-110)
- Total: OVER 45.5 (-110), UNDER 45.5 (-110)
- Moneyline: San Francisco 49ers +145, Los Angeles Rams -175
NFC Championship Key Story
Each season, the NFC champion meets the AFC champion at the Super Bowl. The first two rounds of the NFL playoffs, the wildcard round and the divisional round, determine which two teams from each conference advance to the conference title round. Each conference championship game is hosted by the highest remaining seed in each conference.
The first NFC title game was in the 1970 NFL season, following the AFL-NFL merger. That season, the Dallas Cowboys beat the San Francisco 49ers to qualify for the Super Bowl.
In fact, this game would also happen again the following season. Since then, it’s been played four more times, making it the most common NFC Championship game.
In the final NFC Championship Game, the Bucs defeated the Packers 31-26 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay. With the win, the Bucs became the first Super Bowl-era team to play in a Super Bowl at their home stadium.
Recent NFC Championship Game Results
- 2020 (at Green Bay): #5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31, Green Bay Packers 26
- 2019 (at San Francisco): #1 San Francisco 49ers 37, #2 Green Bay Packers 20
- 2018 (at New Orleans): #2 Los Angeles Rams 26, #1 New Orleans Saints 23 (OT)
- 2017 (at Philadelphia): #1 Philadelphia Eagles 38, #2 Minnesota Vikings 7
- 2016 (at Atlanta): #2 Atlanta Falcons 44, #4 Green Bay Packers 21
- 2015 (at Carolina): #1 Carolina Panthers 49, #2 Arizona Cardinals 15
- 2014 (at Seattle): #1 Seattle Seahawks 28, #2 Green Bay Packers 22 (OT)
- 2013 (at Seattle): #1 Seattle Seahawks 23, #5 San Francisco 49ers 15
- 2012 (at Atlanta): #2 San Francisco 49ers 28, #1 Atlanta Falcons 24
- 2011 (at San Francisco): #4 New York Giants 20, #2 San Francisco 49ers 17 (OT)
Most NFC Titles
- Dallas Cowboys – 8
- San Francisco 49ers – 7
- New York Giants – 5
- Washington Redskins / Soccer Team – 5
- St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams – 4
- Green Bay Packers – 3
- Minnesota Vikings – 3
- Philadelphia Eagles – 3
- Seattle Seahawks – 3
Most NFC title game appearances
- San Francisco 49ers – 17
- Dallas Cowboys – 14
- St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams – 11
- Green Bay Packers – 9
- Minnesota Vikings – 9
- Philadelphia Eagles – 7
- Washington Redskins / Soccer Team – 6
- Chicago Bears – 5
- New York Giants – 5
Every current NFC team has made at least one appearance in the NFC Championship Game. The Detroit Lions (once, in 1991) and the Arizona Cardinals (twice, in 2008 and 2015) are the only two teams with two or fewer appearances. The Lions are the only current NFC team that hasn’t reached a single Super Bowl to date.