Super Bowl 58: Kansas City Chiefs visit Baltimore Ravens for place in NFL’s big game

  • Published27 January
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NFL play-offs: Kansas City Chiefs beat Buffalo Bills – highlights

By Ben CollinsBBC Sport

NFL play-offs

Dates: 13-28 January 2024

BBC coverage: Live text coverage of every match on the BBC Sport website and app and live radio commentary on BBC Radio 5 Sports Extra and BBC Sounds on Kansas City Chiefs v Baltimore Ravens on 28 January (from 19:45 GMT)

When the host city for this year's Super Bowl was announced in December 2021 it really sparked the imagination.

One of the biggest annual sporting events around? Staged in what's widely regarded as the entertainment capital of the world?

That's right, the NFL's championship game will be held in Las Vegas for the very first time on 11 February.

And this Sunday, during the Conference Championships, the NFL's biggest stars will battle it out for the chance to shine on the Strip.

Just four teams remain on the road to Super Bowl 58 with the Kansas City Chiefs, the defending champions, looking to cement an NFL dynasty having won two titles in the past four years.

The Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers aim to finally get back to the big game having been among the NFL's best teams in recent years, while the Detroit Lions are the underdogs out to create history.

Jackson 'sees heavyweight match-up' with Mahomes

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NFL: Baltimore Ravens see off Houston Texans to make Conference Championships

After winning an epic Super Bowl last year, the Kansas City Chiefs have reached the AFC Championship game for a sixth straight season, but this is the first year during that run where they have had to play on the road in the play-offs.

They travelled to Buffalo last week and overcame the Bills to book a trip to Baltimore, who secured the top seed in the AFC Conference with the NFL's best record in the regular season (13-4).

Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, 27, is favourite to be named Most Valuable Player for a second time and faces the reigning MVP, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

Along with Aaron Rodgers, they are the only MVP winners currently in the NFL. Mahomes, 28, has won three of his previous four meetings with Jackson.

  • Mahomes wins second Super Bowl to show he's Brady's successor

"I don't like competing against him at all," Jackson joked this week. "I believe it's two up-and-coming greats going toe to toe, like a heavyweight match-up. That's what I see."

While Jackson and the Ravens have tended to be dominant in the regular season, they have struggled to carry that form into the play-offs.

Last week's win over Houston was just Jackson's second from five post-season games but now he is one win from a chance on the Super Bowl stage many feel he deserves.

If the Ravens reach the big game, it will be for the first time since beating San Francisco to win their second Super Bowl in 2013.

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Will Chiefs' famous new fans again steal the show?

Interest in Kansas City has soared this season, but that has been more down to events off the field. Tight end Travis Kelce's relationship with Taylor Swift has led a legion of new fans to join 'Chiefs Kingdom', including the music superstar herself.

When not performing on her Eras tour, the singer-songwriter has attended as many games as possible, with TV cameras regularly showing her celebrating in a suite with Kelce's family and friends, including Mahomes' wife Brittany.

Yet Travis' 36-year-old brother Jason, who was on the opposing side in last year's Super Bowl, stole the show last Sunday.

Image source, Getty ImagesImage caption,

Jason Kelce made quite the first impression as he and his wife Kylie met Taylor Swift at last Sunday's game

With his Philadelphia Eagles team having been knocked out of the play-offs the week before, Jason Kelce joined Swift in a freezing Buffalo and celebrated his younger brother's first touchdown in eight games by taking his shirt off, jumping into the crowd and chugging a beer with the Bills fans.

Travis Kelce's second score meant he and Mahomes went past Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski for the most touchdown connections in play-off history (16). Although Kansas City's offence has been far from its best this season, the Chiefs showed their post-season pedigree to get past the Bills.

With Swift's tour resuming in Tokyo on 7 February, she and Jason Kelce could both be in Baltimore as the Chiefs target a fourth Super Bowl in five years and a chance to become the NFL's first back-to-back champions since the New England Patriots did it in the 2003 and 2004 seasons.

  • Jason Kelce denies making retirement decision

Lions aim for upset to reach first Super Bowl

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NFL: Christian McCaffrey stars as 49ers edge Packers

The Chiefs started that run by beating San Francisco in Super Bowl 54 and the 49ers are in the NFC Championship game for a third straight year.

They lost the past two and last year's defeat by Philadelphia still rankles as in-game injuries to Brock Purdy and his back-up left them without a quarterback able to throw the ball.

After having elbow surgery, Purdy set a franchise record for passing yards this season (4,280) as the 49ers secured the NFC's top seed with a 12-5 record.

Although Baltimore were 13-4 and were comfortable winners at San Francisco in December, the 49ers are favourites to win the Super Bowl because of their star-studded roster, most notably versatile running back Christian McCaffrey, who is set to be named Offensive Player of the Year.

Having been the last player picked in the 2022 draft, Purdy's role in the team's success continues to be downplayed by his critics, but the 24-year-old proved a point by leading a game-winning drive last week as Kyle Shanahan's team survived a scare at home to Green Bay.

  • British indie band's song becomes 49ers anthem

  • Get American Football alerts in the BBC Sport app

The five-time Super Bowl winners are now at home to another underdog, as the Detroit Lions are one of just four NFL teams never to reach the Super Bowl.

In fact, this is just their second NFC Championship game – and their first since 1992 – and although they have won four NFL championships, their most recent was in 1957, before the first Super Bowl in 1967.

When Dan Campbell became Detroit coach three years ago, he said the team would "take on the identity of this city", which had been downtrodden for decades, and would "bite your kneecaps off" when they were knocked down.

He has managed to build a solid team the city is proud of, led by quarterback Jared Goff, who has regained his confidence having been discarded by the Los Angeles Rams in 2021, just two years after leading them to Super Bowl 53.

The Lions were 12-5 this season, have won more play-off games this month (two) than they had in the entire Super Bowl era and have also had a music superstar in the stands, as rapper Eminem is among the long-suffering Lions fans.

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NFL play-offs: Detroit Lions beat Tampa Bay Buccaneers – highlights

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