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San Francisco 49ers

DeMeco Ryans has been hired as coach of the Houston Texans, giving him his first head coaching job and bringing him back to the place where he started his playing career.

The Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs prevailed on championship weekend to reach Super Bowl 57. But the NFL didn't exactly have a stellar weekend as infuriating flags and non-calls dominated both the NFC and AFC title games. The NFC championship was a blowout because the San Francsico 49ers lost all their quarterbacks. An emergency third quarterback would have come in handy Sunday but the league and its players ditched the third quarterback designation more than a decade ago. The AFC title game went down to the wire but questionable calls including an intentional grounding on Joe Burrow proved crucial.

Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals didn’t have another fantastic finish left in them. The team will now turn its attention toward signing Burrow to a long-term contract extension and making sure they can afford to keep talented players around him.

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Jalen Hurts had one of Philadelphia’s four rushing touchdowns and the Eagles soared into the Super Bowl, forcing both of San Francisco’s quarterbacks out of the game with injuries and beating the wounded 49ers 31-7 in the NFC championship game.

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Quarterbacks Jalen Hurts and Brock Purdy have been here before. Just not in the NFL. The two met in November 2019, when Hurts was the QB for Oklahoma and Purdy was the QB for Iowa State. In that game, Hurts passed for three touchdowns and ran for two more scores for Oklahoma. Purdy passed for five touchdowns for Iowa State. could be primed for a shootout in the NFC championship game.

The San Francisco 49ers got a jolt offensively when they made the bold decision in October to trade four draft picks to add Christian McCaffrey to an already deep group of playmakers. The Philadelphia Eagles made an aggressive trade of their own to supercharge their offense when they added game-breaking receiver A.J. Brown in a draft-day trade. The two moves by the NFC powerhouses are big reasons why the Niners and Eagles are set to meet in the conference title game in Philadelphia on Sunday with a spot in the Super Bowl on the line.

Four of the best tight ends in the NFL will be on display in Sunday's conference championship games. In the opener, Dallas Goedert of the Eagles will face the 49ers and George Kittle, while the nightcap features Travis Kelce of the Chiefs and Hayden Hurst of the Bengals. They have all been instrumental in helping their teams reach the precipice of the Super Bowl, though all do it in different ways.

The NFC championship game pits the San Francisco 49ers against the Philadelphia Eagles. The 49ers have won 12 straight games. Seven of those have come since rookie Brock Purdy, a seventh-round draft pick, took over at quarterback after Jimmy Garoppolo was injured. The Eagles are 15-1 overall when quarterback Jalen Hurts starts a game. The Niners are making a record 18th appearance in the NFC title game, their second in a row and third in four years. The Eagles are trying to win their second Super Bowl in six seasons.

Coach Kyle Shanahan's success in San Francisco overseeing productive offenses without elite quarterback play is a reason why so many teams each January are seeking the next trendy, play-calling offensive coach to take over their team. All four head coaches in the conference championship games come from an offensive background with Kansas City's Andy Reid and Cincinnati's Zac Taylor also calling plays like Shanahan, while Philadelphia's Nick Sirianni delegated that duty during his first season.

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San Francisco 49ers star running back Christian McCaffrey missed his second straight practice with a calf injury but said he will be available for the NFC title game.

Brock Purdy's NFL career started with the moniker of "Mr. Irrelevant" and the weeklong trip to Newport Beach to celebrate the player picked last in the draft. With one more win, Purdy's rookie season in the NFL will end on the brightest stage of all as a starting quarterback in the Super Bowl for the San Francisco 49ers.

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The Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes walked through Arrowhead Stadium as if nothing was amiss Wednesday, his sprained right ankle hardly hampering the All-Pro quarterback as he began preparing for the AFC title game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Bill O’Brien has agreed to return to the Patriots as their offensive coordinator, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

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Two years in a row the Dallas Cowboys have flubbed their last-ditch drives against the San Francisco 49ers in the playoffs. Last year, Dak Prescott ran too far on a quarterback draw and handed the ball to his center instead of the umpire. Time expired before he could get off one more play for a Hail Mary. This time, it was those around him who made the mistakes. 

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