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Salaries, Stats, and Strategic Wagers — All the Smoke for NFL Championship Weekend

From storylines and salaries to betting angles and interesting anecdotes — Boardroom has all the details on this weekend’s NFL conference championship games for the Chiefs, Ravens, Lions, and 49ers.

Trips to Las Vegas for Super Bowl 58 are on the line Sunday as the NFL’s two conference championship games take center stage.

First at 3 p.m. ET on CBS, Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, and the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs visit presumptive 2023 MVP Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens. Kansas City has reached the AFC title game in each of Mahomes’ six seasons as a starter, with three Super Bowl appearances and two championships to show for it. It’s Baltimore’s fifth conference championship appearance since moving from Cleveland in 1996, the last trip coming when the Ravens won it all 11 years ago.

Then, at 6:30 p.m. ET on Fox, Jared Goff, Amon-Ra St. Brown, and the Detroit Lions look for their first-ever Super Bowl appearance as they take on Brock Purdy, Christian McCaffrey, and the San Francisco 49ers. Detroit’s Wild Card round win over the LA Rams was its first playoff win since 1992, the last time it made it this far with a 41-10 loss to Washington. Prior to the Super Bowl era, the Lions won NFL titles in 1935, 1952, 1953, and 1957 but have barely sniffed a postseason run this deep since.

The 49ers are a different story, reaching this stage in four of the last five seasons. They have just one Super Bowl appearance, a 2020 loss to Kansas City, to show for it in that span. Let’s dive into the many different angles Sunday’s action provides.

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NFL Championship Weekend: Top Conference Title Game Salaries & Incentives

Chiefs vs. Ravens

  • Lamar Jackson, QB, Baltimore: $80 million
  • Patrick Mahomes, QB, Kansas City: $59.35 million
  • Roquan Smith, LB, Baltimore: $27 million
  • Chris Jones, DE, Kansas City: $21.67 million
  • Jawaan Taylor, LT, Kansas City: $20 million

Per Spotrac’s 2023 cash rankings, Jackson and Mahomes are the NFL’s two highest-paid players this season. And it’s Jackson, not Mahomes, who was named as one of the five MVP finalists. Since Jones was named first-team All-Pro, a Chiefs win would earn him a $1 million bonus.

Lions vs. 49ers

  • Nick Bosa, DE, San Francisco: $51.01 million
  • Jared Goff, QB, Detroit: $25.98 million
  • Javon Hargrave, DT, San Francisco: $24.93 million
  • Trent Williams, LT, San Francisco: $20.12 million
  • Charvarius Ward, CB, San Francisco: $14 million

While not on this list, Purdy and McCaffrey are the only teammates among the NFL’s MVP finalists. While CMC is eighth on the team with a $12 million salary this season, Purdy’s $870,000 has him tied for 46th on the 49ers. Per CBS, Goff would receive $945,000 for playing 1% of snaps in a Lions Super Bowl appearance, meaning a ton is on the line Sunday in Santa Clara.

Betting Angles via FanDuel SportsBook

First of all, Boardroom partnered with our friends at FanDuel SportsBook for the Brand Builders Parlay, a four-leg bet for Sunday’s games centered around players whose off-field endorsements and investments are as impressive as their on-field excellence. On the FanDuel app, you’ll be able to ride Jackson, Kelce, McCaffrey, and George Kittle to victory (bet responsibly, please!). A few other notes to watch out for:

  • San Francisco has failed to cover the spread in each of its last six home games. The Niners are seven-point favorites against Detroit.
  • Over the last three years, home teams have won 55.4% of NFL games. That number drops to 40.8% in games refereed by Shawn Smith, per Sharp Football, the lead official for the Chiefs-Ravens game.
  • Baltimore is favored by 3.5 points on Sunday, just the sixth time in Mahomes’ career his team is a three-plus point underdog. The Chiefs are 5-0 in those previous games.

Other Entertaining Game Notes

  • The Ravens are going all out Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium. Ray Lewis and Ed Reed are Sunday’s legends of the game. Jonathan Ogden will be the honorary captain. Michael Phelps will deliver the game ball. And T-Pain will perform at halftime.
  • CBS Sports contributing analyst JJ Watt joins CBS’ two-hour pregame show live from Baltimore. The show will feature taped interview segments with KC’s Isiah Pacheco and Baltimore’s Zay Flowers.
  • Sunday evening’s game at Levi’s Stadium will mark a milestone for both the Niners and the denim purveyors. Thursday, the 49ers and Levi’s announced a 10-year, $170 million naming rights extension running through the 2043 season. So even if the Niners lose, they’re already monetary winners this weekend.

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