1 More to SBLVII

January 27, 2023

By: Carlos Alvarez

Happy Friday 

One game separates the NFL\’s last remaining teams from Super Bowl LVII, and we\’ve got it all in today\’s Championship Sunday primer. The Australian Open finalists have made it through the gauntlet, and the NBA All-Star starters are official. It\’s a whirlwind weekend of sports to launch us into a Super Bowl media frenzy. Join us, won\’t you?

Letter Rip!



1 More: Championship Sunday Primer


Keys to AFC (Chiefs-Bengals) & NFC (Eagles-49ers) Championship Games on Sunday


Here. We. Go. The NFL’s final four are ready for kickoff on Championship Sunday with tickets to Super Bowl LVII on the line. It’s two smash-mouth defenses going head-to-head first for the NFC title game, but both the Eagles and 49ers have potent offensive firepower, too. The AFC Championship is a rematch of a year ago, and Kansas City definitely has some unfinished business with Cincinnati. Here are the keys to each game on Championship Sunday.


NFC Championship: Eagles vs. 49ers

The 49ers (13-4) march into Philadelphia to face the Eagles (14-3) for the NFC title game on Sunday, and fans should expect an old-school bloodbath in the trenches. The 49ers defensive line against the Eagles offensive line should be the x-factor in this one. Both quarterbacks — Jalen Hurts (24) and Brock Purdy (23) — will make history as the youngest combined starting QBs in a conference title game in NFL history (47 years), but they’re both surrounded by exceptional offensive talent. The Eagles have the best ground game in football thanks to Hurts’ rushing attack and a three-headed backfield, but they still have WRs A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith carving up secondaries. The Niners have playmakers galore, including weapons like RB Christian McCaffrey, RB/WR Deebo Samuel, and TE George Kittle. It’s the league’s top defenses against young QBs. The Niners have won 12 straight, but Lincoln Financial Field in January gives the edge to the Eagles.


Eagles: OFF: Rank 2nd (28.6 ppg) | DEF: Rank 6th (19.5 ppg)

49ers: OFF: Rank 4th (26.8 ppg) | DEF: Rank 1st (16.4 ppg)


Game Time: Sun. 3:00 pm ET, FOX

Location: Lincoln Financial Field (Philadelphia, PA)

Weather: 50 Degrees, Partly Cloudy

Spread: Eagles (-2.5 points)

Our Prediction: Eagles def. 49ers (20-17)


AFC Championship: Chiefs vs. Bengals

If the NFC showcases the top defenses, it’s no surprise the AFC features the top quarterback talent and high-flying offense with the Chiefs (14-3) hosting the Bengals (12-4). QB Joe Burrow and the Bengals have won 10 straight games, and they’ve unofficially dubbed Arrowhead Stadium with a new nickname — “Burrowhead.” Kansas City, however, has played host in the AFC title game for five straight seasons. A high-ankle sprain to Mahomes made the spread shift in Cincinnati’s favor early in the week, but all signs point to the likely MVP playing on Sunday. Mahomes has shown he’s still as dominant as ever, even without WR Tyreek Hill, but the Chiefs defense has holes that Burrow and WR Ja’Marr Chase can exploit. With Mahomes (27) and Burrow (26) entering their prime, this could just be the second meeting in a decade of the Chiefs-Bengals rivalry beginnings. A slightly different scoreline than the NFC game, expect a shootout and some monster quarterback numbers in Arrowhead despite the cold forecast. Burrow has been great, but Mahomes has a sour taste in his mouth from last year’s loss. Advantage, Chiefs.


Chiefs: OFF: Rank 1st (29.1 ppg) | DEF: Rank 15th (21.6 ppg)

Bengals: OFF: Rank 7th (26.1 ppg) | DEF: 5th (19.4 ppg)


Game Time: Sun. 6:30 pm ET, CBS

Weather: 20 degrees, Cloudy/Rainy

Location: Arrowhead Stadium (Kansas City, MO)

Spread: Kansas City (-1 point)

Our Prediction: Chiefs def. Bengals (37-34)


Additional Storylines

FOX Sports: 49ers Front Prepared for Slugfest With Eagles O-Line

B/R: Impact of Conference Championship Win for Each Remaining Playoff Team

SI: Who’s Going to the Super Bowl? Conference Title Game Picks From MMQB Staff

NFL: NFL Championship Sunday Game Picks: Eagles-Bengals Advance to Super Bowl LVII



The Finals Down Under


#22 E. Rybakina & #5 A. Sabalenka Advance to Women’s Final With Straight-Set Wins


The clash is set for the women’s finale! Both #5 Aryna Sabalenka and #22 Elena Rybakina smashed opponents in straight sets of their semifinals matches on Thursday in Melbourne. They’ll face off in the finals on Saturday morning for the Australian Open crown. Sabalenka hasn’t dropped a set in the entire tournament, and Rybakina lost just one. Meanwhile, #3 Stefanos Tsitsipas punched his ticket to the men’s final overnight while #4 Novak Djokovic should be wrapping up with American Tommy Paul shortly. We’ll crown champs on Monday morning.


Women’s Semifinals Highlights

#5 A. Sabalenka def. M. Linette (7-6, 6-2)

#22 E. Rybakina def. #24 V. Azarenka (7-6, 6-3)


Men’s Semifinals Update

#3 S. Tsitsipas def. #18 K. Khachanov (7-6, 6-4, 6-7, 6-3)

#4 N. Djokovic vs. T. Paul (In Action Overnight)


Australian Open Finals Schedule

Women: #5 A. Sabalenka vs. #22 E. Rybakina (Sat. 3:30 am)

Men: #3 S. Tsitsipas vs. TBD (Sun. 3:30 am)


Additional Storylines

CNN: Elena Rybakina and Aryna Sabalenka to Face Off in Australian Open Final

Sky Sports: Can Anyone Stop Djokovic From Claiming Historic 10th Title in Melbourne?



NCAA Scoreboard


USC Shocks #8 UCLA in Battle of Los Angeles (College Edition)


One night after the Lakers and Clippers clashed in the battle for Los Angeles, it was the college hoops edition. USC took down cross-town rival #8 UCLA (77-64) with a wild second-half comeback. The Trojans outscored the Bruins 52-27 to erase a 12-point halftime deficit. Senior Boogie Ellis dropped 31 in the win, and USC just shook up the Pac-12.


Watch: USC Stuns #8 UCLA With 2nd-Half Rout (77-64)


NCAA Scoreboard

M: #1 Purdue def. Michigan (75-70)

M: #6 Arizona def. Washington State (63-58)

W: #6 Indiana def. #2 Ohio State (78-65)

W: #5 UConn def. Tennessee (84-67)

W: #7 Notre Dame def. #24 Florida State (70-47)

W: #10 Maryland def. #13 Michigan (72-64)


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2023 NBA All-Star Starters

LeBron James Ties NBA Record With 19th All-Star Selection as Starters Announced


The NBA revealed the 2023 All-Star starter pool on Thursday with LeBron James (Lakers) and Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks) serving as captains. James tied Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s record for most all-star selections in league history with his 19th nod. It’s the sixth year the NBA will use the captain format, and James has captained the winning team every time (5-0). It’s Antetokounmpo’s third stint as captain. Few surprises came on the starter reveal, but the omission of 76ers’ Joel Embiid was the biggest snub. Here are the starters from each conference for the All-Star Game on Sunday, Feb. 19.


NBA All-Star Starters


Western Conference

Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks)

Kevin Durant (Nets)

Jayson Tatum (Celtics)

Donovan Mitchell (Cavaliers)

Kyrie Irving (Nets)


Eastern Conference

LeBron James (Lakers)

Nikola Jokic (Nuggets)

Stephen Curry (Warriors)

Luka Doncic (Mavericks)

Zion Williamson (Pelicans)


Additional Storylines

B/R: The Biggest 2023 NBA All-Star Starter Snubs & Misses

CBS Sports: 2023 NBA All-Star Game Roster Announcement Takeaways



\"🏀\" NBA: Knicks Hand Celtics 3rd Straight Loss in OT

The once-mighty Celtics have now lost three in a row after Julius Randle (37 points) and the Knicks edged Boston in overtime last night (120-117, OT). Jalen Brunson (29 points) sealed the win with a late block.


\"🏒\" NHL: Caps Escape Pens in Shootout

A muddy Eastern Conference battle between the Capitals and Penguins went to a shootout before Washington got the win (3-2, S/O) to overtake Pittsburgh in the standings. Alex Ovechkin netted his 812th career goal in the victory.


\"⛳️\" PGA: Sam Ryder Ripping Through Torrey Pines

After two rounds at Torrey Pines for the Farmers Insurance Open, Sam Ryder is well out in front with a 12-under scorecard. Only Brendan Steele (-9) and Estanislao Goya (-7) are within five strokes of the leader.



The Must-Watch List

It’s Championship Sunday coming up! The matchup for Super Bowl LVII will be known by Sunday night, and we’ll crown the first major tennis champs of the year on Monday.


NFL Playoffs (Championship Sunday)

NFC: 49ers at Eagles (Sun. 3:00 pm, FOX)

AFC: Bengals at Chiefs (Sun. 6:30 pm, CBS)


Australian Open Finals

Women: #5 A. Sabalenka vs. #22 E. Rybakina (Sat. 3:30 am)

Men: #3 S. Tsitsipas vs. TBD (Sun. 3:30 am)



Nuggets at 76ers (Sat. 3:00 pm)

Knicks at Nets (Sat. 5:30 pm)

Lakers at Celtics (Sat. 8:30 pm)

Full NBA Schedule



Devils at Stars (Fri. 8:30 pm)

Bruins at Hurricanes (Sun. 5:00 pm)

Full NHL Schedule


PGA Tour

Farmers Insurance Open — Torrey Pines (All Weekend)


NCAA College Basketball

M: #10 Texas at #4 Tennessee (Sat. 6:00 pm)

M: #9 Kansas at Kentucky (Sat. 8:00 pm)

M: Michigan State at #1 Purdue (Sun. 12:15 pm)

W: #21 Villanova at #5 UConn (Sun. 2:00 pm)

W: #8 UCLA at #9 Utah (Sun. 2:00 pm)

W: #7 Notre Dame at #20 NC State (Sun. 3:00 pm)


*All Times ET