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PFT’s conference championship game picks

While Mike Florio and Chris Simms are encouraged by Patrick Mahomes’ updates about his ankle, they explore how it could impact the mechanics of his throwing and movement in the pocket.

Here we go.

Four teams left. Two spots in the Super Bowl up for grabs. It’s time to pick winners in games that could go either way.

Last week, MDS went 3-1 in the divisional round. I was 2-2.

This week, we disagree on both games. Our selections appear below.

49ers (+2.5) at Eagles

MDS’s take: Over the course of the full season, the Eagles have been the better team. But in the last couple of months, since Brock Purdy became the 49ers’ starting quarterback, the 49ers have been better. I don’t want to discount the great season Jalen Hurts and the Eagles have had, and playing in Philadelphia is an advantage, but I think the 49ers are playing better football than the Eagles right now, and I’m picking the upset.

MDS’s pick: 49ers 24, Eagles 21.

Florio’s take: It’s still a quarterback-driven league. And Jalen Hurts is a far more accomplished quarterback than Brock Purdy. Yes, Purdy hasn’t lost a game yet. He also has yet to face a team like the Eagles, in a place like Philadelphia. Maybe he’ll make a clutch play that delivers a win. Maybe the 49ers are otherwise good enough that he won’t have to. Regardless, Hurts is the more proven quarterback, and I’ve got more faith in him to make a big play in a big spot, and/or to inspire his teammates at the right moment to do something that will make a difference. It will be a very slim difference.

Florio’s pick: Eagles 24, 49ers 23.

Bengals (+1) at Chiefs

MDS’s take: If Patrick Mahomes were 100 percent healthy, the Chiefs would be favored. With Mahomes’ ankle possibly affecting him, the Bengals have been the favorites for most of the week, and it’s tempting to pick them -- especially considering how well Joe Burrow has played in the playoffs so far in his young career. And yet I think even with Mahomes hobbling, this Chiefs team has the kind of offense that can attack the Bengals’ defense, and I’m going to pick Kansas City.

MDS’s pick: Chiefs 23, Bengals 17.

Florio’s take: The Bengals are salty. The Chiefs are salty. The teams are great. The quarterbacks are elite. But something has to give. The Bengals are down by three offensive linemen. Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has an ankle injury. The Bengals did well last week with a depleted offensive line. Mahomes on one leg is still better than most quarterbacks. Here’s hoping for a classic. Another one that goes to overtime. And because I swore to myself (and at myself) after the Bengals thumped the Bills that I’d never pick against them again, I can’t start now.

Florio’s pick: Bengals 30, Chiefs 27 (OT).