NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Rams
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Games against your division rivals always have a natural added layer of importance and fervor no matter the situation. It could be a random 1 p.m. game in the midst of Week 5 and there will be that little extra juice in the stands and on the sideline when two familiar foes are set to kick off. Add that already palpable rivalry and sprinkle a potential trip to the Super Bowl on top of it and you get our NFC Championship matchup this weekend between the San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Rams.  

Of course, these NFC West rivals are quite familiar with one another and are about to square up in a rare intra-divisional conference title game. Since realignment in 2002, a conference championship between division rivals has only occurred three times: Steelers-Ravens in the 2008 playoffs, Packers-Bears in 2010, and 49ers-Seahawks in 2013. The winner in all three of those prior conference title games went on to win the Super Bowl. 

During the 2008 season, the Steelers were able to sweep the season series against the Ravens and beat them in Pittsburgh in the AFC Championship to advance to (and win) Super Bowl XLIII. This year, the 49ers have gone own a similar path as they were also able to sweep the Rams in the regular season. Meanwhile, Packers-Bears (2010) and 49ers-Seahawks (2013) split the regular-season series before meeting the NFC Championship.

Specifically, winning that final matchup of the regular season could carry some weight in these matchups. 

Dating back to the 1985 season, there have been eight previous division rivals that met in the conference title games. In those prior games, the team that won the second regular-season meeting went 6-2 in the playoff rematch. While that may trend favorably towards the 49ers, it should be noted that one of those two losses in the third matchup was from San Francisco back in 2013 against the Seahawks, who'd go on to win Super Bowl XLVIII.

Naturally, anything can happen when two opponents so familiar with one another lock horns in a battle of this magnitude. The Rams are favored by 3.5-points, but history does say to not rule out a San Francisco upset. If they were to pull out the win, the 49ers would become the first sixth seed to make the Super Bowl since those 2010 Packers, who, as we noted, needed to beat a division rival in the conference championship as well before hoisting the Lombardi Trophy.