With a win on Sunday, two NFL teams will be heading to Super Bowl LVI on Feb. 13 at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles. And it just so happens that no matter the outcomes on Sunday, or even on Super Bowl Sunday, a Pitt Panther will win a ring.
There are four Pitt stars left in the 2022 NFL Playoffs, and all four teams clashing in the conference championships are represented.
— Pat Narduzzi (@CoachDuzzPittFB) January 30, 2022
Cincinnati Bengals at Kansas City Chiefs — Sunday, 3 p.m. on CBS
Bengals: WR Tyler Boyd, Chiefs: TE Nakia Griffin-Stewart
The Chiefs, coming off one of the best games in NFL postseason — or overall, if you’re feeling like a victim of the moment — history, are touchdown favorites to advance to the Super Bowl for the third consecutive season.
Patrick Mahomes is leading 13 second scoring drives to force overtime, Tyreek Hill is turning short crossing routes into untouched 60-yard touchdowns and Travis Kelce is still the best tight end in the game. They’ll be a tough out, but the Chiefs did lose to the Bengals just about a month ago.
Joe Burrow and the Bengals are a sleeper pick, but the upstart squad is full of heart, and a lot of it starts with Tyler Boyd.
Boyd, a Clairton graduate and Pitt star, hasn’t made a huge statistical impact for the Bengals so far this postseason, recording six catches for 43 yards and a touchdown over the first two games, but his leadership and security blanket targets help the offense immeasurably.
With Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins, the Bengals’ wide receiving corps will need to have a monster day to keep up with the Chiefs in what should be another shootout at Arrowhead Stadium Sunday.
Nakia Griffin-Stewart, a fellow Pitt star, hasn’t played in the postseason after being called up from the Chiefs’ practice squad on Christmas Day, but he’ll still earn himself a ring if the Chiefs are able to go all the way.
San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Rams — Sunday, 6:30 p.m. on Fox
49ers: CB K’Waun Williams, Rams: DT Aaron Donald
The 49ers knocked off Aaron Rodgers and the Rams knocked off Tom Brady in perhaps the wildest Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs in history. And both Pitt stars on their respective NFL teams played a big part in knocking off a pair of generational quarterbacks.
Williams recorded three solo tackles and defended two passes in a snowy Lambeau Field upset, and Donald racked up five tackles (three solo), two tackles for loss and a sack on Brady.
Both Pitt stars have played well so far in the 2022 playoffs, but only one can now advance to the Super Bowl this season.
Both Williams and Donald both played on their respective teams when the 49ers and Rams made Super Bowl runs over the past four seasons, and both came up short in the end.
The Rams are slim favorites to advance to the Super Bowl for the second time in four seasons, and Donald will need to be the driving force on the Rams’ defensive line and disrupt 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. On the other side of the ball, Williams and the 49ers’ secondary will be in for a long day covering Cooper Kupp, Odell Beckham Jr. and Van Jefferson in the hopes of slowing down the Rams’ passing attack.