Exclusive Dusseldorf The Super Bowl is just around the corner, but first the Conference Finals have to be played. Two hot duels between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Cincinnati Bengals as well as the LA Rams and San Francisco 49ers are to be expected. Ex-NFL professional Sebastian Vollmer types the games.
What else is there to come? Many fans of American football must have asked themselves this question after last weekend. Four divisional round games, four spectacles, four last-play deciders. “The divisional round was the best football weekend I’ve seen in a very long time – maybe even ever,” said Sebastian Vollmer, himself a two-time Super Bowl champion with the New England Patriots, in an interview with our editors. “The fact that all games were open right up to the last move certainly impressed every fan.” Not least him himself – even though he was wrong in all his tips to our editors. “I already know why I don’t bet for money,” he joked.
Still, the former NFL pro dares for the Rheinische Post the view of the semi-finals, the conference finals. “Before the season, you could have bet on three of the four semi-finalists,” says Vollmer. But now it’s getting down to business. The titles in the NFC and AFC bring not only an entry in the letterhead but also entry into the Super Bowl on February 13th. And that’s where all four teams want to go: the Kansas City Chiefs, the Cincinati Bengals, the Los Angeles Rams and the San Francisco 49ers.
Kansas City Chiefs-Cincinnati Bengals (Sunday, 9 p.m., Pro7 and Dazn)
Vollmer says: “The Bengals are a little surprising for me in the conference final. You are currently writing your Cinderella story. But I think it will end this weekend. Joe Burrow knows how good he is. But after the nine sacks against the Titans at the latest, he can no longer trust his O-Line. All season, the Bengals O-Line conceded 66 sacks. Their confidence is in the basement. Burrow knows that every play has to be right. He did really well, but the risk he has to take is high. His pocket presence is impressive and he has one of the best wide receivers in the league on his offense in Ja’Marr Chase.
The Chiefs are in no way inferior. Patrick Mahomes and Co. played the best defensive in the league last week. In addition, their own defense is quite useful. I hope it will be another shoot out game like Kansas City vs Buffalo. The Chiefs will win this – just like they won last week. The game didn’t deserve a loser. But you can’t give Mahomes any time on the clock, not even 13 seconds. He is a man for the special moments.”
Vollmer tip: Victory Kansas City
Los Angeles Rams-San Francisco 49ers (Monday, 12:30 a.m. Pro7 and Dazn)
Vollmer says: “I had the 49ers on my list before the season and it’s not because Jimmy Garoppolo is a friend of mine. The team is made worse than it is. They seem comfortable in this underdog role. But the trip should end at the weekend, although I would, of course, treat Jimmy to the Super Bowl. If the 49ers are going to have any chance at all, they have to run dominantly. Players like George Kittle and Deebo Samuel must be real playmakers and Garoppolo must not make mistakes.
But the Rams are too strong – in every respect. They took a big gamble ahead of the season by picking Matthew Stafford as quarterback for the Super Bowl project. That could have gone horribly wrong and then Sean McVay wouldn’t be celebrated like that. But he’s shed his Detroit loser image and has real guns. Cooper Kupp plays sensationally and even if you double him, Odell Beckham Junior gets more space. And you can’t give that to him. He’s playing really well again at the moment. The Rams also have great running backs and a great tight end. And then the defense! They already had Aaron Donald and they brought in Von Miller. Who wants to stop them both?”
Vollmer tip: Victory LA Rams
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