2022 NFL picks, score predictions for Conference Championships

Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports /
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Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports /

No. 5 San Francisco 49ers at No. 4 Los Angeles Rams

Sunday, January 30, 6:40PM ET

When the playoffs began, I never would have guessed that we’d have an NFC Championship Game between these two California teams. And yet, here we are — the fourth-seeded Rams are set to take on the fifth-seeded 49ers for the right to represent the conference in the Super Bowl.

And as you’ve probably already gathered, I’m going with the Rams in this clash of California titans.

Why am I giving Los Angeles the nod in this one? It’s simple — they’ve got the superior offense. As you may have seen this past weekend, San Francisco won despite failing to score an offensive touchdown. Even with Deebo Samuel getting the ball early and often, Jimmy Garoppolo was unable to orchestrate a drive that ended in the end zone.

While the Rams’ offense just about stalled in the second half, they at least found ways to move against a quality Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense. Matthew Stafford is capitalizing at his opportunity to captain a top-tier offense, taking advantage of weapons like Cooper Kupp, Cam Akers, and Odell Beckham Jr.

The San Francisco defense will certainly do everything in its power to keep this one close, and it’ll probably prevail. But I’m not sure the 49ers will be able to muster enough offense to keep pace with Stafford and the Rams.

Ultimately, the Los Angeles defense does its job and secures the Rams home-field advantage in the Super Bowl.

Prediction: Rams win 23-17