NFC & AFC Championship Game Predictions
It is conference championship weekend in the NFL and the final four has been set. Both title games are matchups of two high powered offenses going up against two of the games best defenses, so each game should be great battles to the final whistle. In the AFC Title game, Tom Brady and the high powered offense of the New England Patriots go up against the very tough defense of the Baltimore Ravens. The two veteran stars that lead this defense, Ray Lewis and Ed Reed could both retire if the Ravens were to win the Super Bowl, and I think they both will. It’ll be a tough task to do as Tom Brady is playing brilliant football, as usual. Brady threw six touchdown passes last week vs the Denver Broncos, five in the first half. If Brady plays like that again this week, the Ravens have no shot. For the Giants, they have been playing tremendous since beating the Jets on Christmas Eve 29-14. After that game, they destroyed the Cowboys on the final game of the season 31-14 to capture the NFC East title at 9-7. They got a first round home game against the 10-6, five seed Atlanta Falcons, where they would go on to win the game 24-2. Then they got the rematch they wanted against the 15-1 Green Bay Packers in Lambeau Field, where the Giants pulled a major upset by just decimating the Packers, 37-20. Now the Giants march into Candlestick Park to take on the 13-3 San Francisco 49ers with a trip to Super Bowl XLVI on the line. If the Giants beat the Niners in the NFC Title game, this will make people remember the Giants 2007 Super Bowl run, when no one gave them a chance and they shocked the world by beating the Buccaneers, Cowboys, Packers, and then the undefeated New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII, 17-14. Will we get a rematch this year of Giants vs Patriots, or will we get a Giants vs Ravens, 2000 Super Bowl rematch? Could we possibly get for the first time ever, a Patriots – 49ers Super Bowl, or a Ravens – 49ers Super Bowl between the Harbaugh brothers, who played against each other on Thanksgiving night, where Baltimore won 16-13. Well lets see who I will predict to play each other in the Super Bowl.
Baltimore Ravens @ New England Patriots – This is going to be a nasty game just like the Giants vs 49ers game will be. It’s a game of great offense against great defense. Tom Brady is on top of his game and threw for over 5,100 yards this season and has so many weapons on his offense. The Ravens had the number three overall defense this year, and Ray Lewis and Ed Reed the two long time veteran superstars are hungry for a Super Bowl birth, which would be the Ravens first since 2000 when they beat down the Giants, 34-7. The Patriots are looking for their first Super Bowl appearance since 2007 when they were undefeated and got upset by the Giants, 17-14. The Ravens beat the Patriots in their last playoff meeting, back in 2009 in the wildcard round in Foxborough, 33-14. You know that the Ravens defense will give it their all for possibly one last shot at a title. You also know that Brady wants to get back to the big stage and possibly get a rematch and revenge on Eli Manning and the Giants. This game could go either way, and I know many people who aren’t even giving the Ravens a chance, but I think if Joe Flacco can play mistake free football and Ray Rice can get going, the Ravens have a legitimate shot at beating the Pats. Do i think the Ravens will pull off this upset? No, I think the Patriots get back where they seem to always be, the Super Bowl. I will take the Ravens to cover the spread as I think this will be a close game. Baltimore Ravens (+7) against New England Patriots.
My Prediction: New England Patriots 27 Baltimore Ravens 23
New York Giants @ San Francisco 49ers – Another title game that features a great offense against a great defense. To me the 49ers have the best defense left in the playoffs. Although they were ranked fourth in the NFL and the Ravens were third and both are in the playoffs still, I think the Niners get the edge because of how they played the Saints last week with brutal hits. The Giants also possess a pretty good defense as they have quite possibly the best pass rushing attack, which consists of Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora, and Chris Canty. This does not bode well for Niners QB Alex Smith, who isn’t your prototypical big time QB. To me, Alex Smith isn’t a top 10 QB, he’s not a QB he puts up big numbers, and lots of touchdowns. He’s a QB who doesn’t make dumb mistakes, doesn’t turn the ball over, and can run when he has to. With the pass rush that the Giants have, Smith will not have an easy time trying to win this game. The Giants have a Super Bowl MVP QB in Eli Manning, who threw for over 4,900 yards this season and 29 touchdowns this season. The Giants obviously have the upper hand at QB, but I have to give the 49ers the upper hand in the run game with Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter over the Giants’ Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs. Then there is no doubt the Giants have a huge edge over the 49ers in the receiving game with Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks, and Mario Manningham over Michael Crabtree, Ted Ginn Jr, and Vernon Davis. If the 49ers defense can contain the Giants receiving corps, then they very well may win this game and head to the Super Bowl. It’s just such a tough task to do when the Giants have three great receivers and a solid tight end in Jake Ballard. I do think this will be a nasty hard hitting defensive game, and it’s tough to pick the winner when the field conditions will be bad with lots of rain already on the ground and still falling. I have to go Giants as I think they are the more well rounded team on both offense and defense. The Giants will win outright while covering the spread. New York Giants (+2) against San Francisco 49ers.
My Prediction: New York Giants 24 San Francisco 49ers 23