NFL Playoffs: Conference Championship Predictions
Well after going 2-2 last week, I can only be happy that the Super Bowl is one step closer. And this year is shaping up to be great with four very deserving teams in the Conference Championships. So without further ado, here are uSports’ predictions for this weekend’s match-ups.
NFC Championship Game
Green Bay Packers vs. Seattle Seahawks
Sunday, 3:05 pm EST, FOX
It is safe to say, many thought the Dallas Cowboys were going to overcome the Packers and face-off against the Seahawks at CenturyLink Field. But still, who is not excited to see arguably one of the best passing offenses against the best passing defense in the league: it is a match-up that the NFL prays for — especially since the Packers were destroyed by Seattle on opening day. At the same time, if the Packers offense does not show up, they have zero chance of winning. Yes, their defense certainly played better against the Cowboys — holding Romo to 15 of 19 with 191 yards and two touchdowns — but they still gave up 123 yards and a touchdown to DeMarco Murray. And with their 23rd ranked rushing defense, they will have their hands full preventing “Beast Mode.”
Prediction: The Seattle Seahawks are going to back-to-back Super Bowls. And basically, this decision is made for two reasons: first the Packers will not do enough to prevent Marshawn Lynch from having a day. This in return will limit the time of the already ailing Aaron Rodgers. And finally, the Seahawks have the best home field advantage in the NFL: since 2002, Seattle is 73-31 during the regular season and 8-1 in the playoffs.
AFC Championship Game
Indianapolis Colts vs. New England Patriots
Sunday, 6:40 pm EST, CBS
Last week, I stated that it was on Andrew Luck if the Colts were going to beat the Denver Broncos. Now, Peyton Manning was certainly not playing his best, but Indianapolis’ defense has widely improved: holding Peyton Manning to only 211 yards with a touchdown and keeping C.J. Anderson to 80 yards on 18 carries. Again, these are not exceptional stoppages, yet they did what they had to do and Luck did the rest. On the other side of the ball, much like the Seahawks, the New England Patriots have simply gotten hot at the right time: since starting 2-2, they have won ten of their last twelve. And a lot of this has to be placed on Tom Brady, the resurgence of Rob Gronkowski and their ever-bettering defense. However, the Patriots are going to have to run the ball this week to win: somehow they beat the Ravens by only rushing 13 times for 14 yards. They need to balance it out if they want to beat the Colts and thus have any shot against the Seahawks in the Super Bowl.
Prediction: It is tough to pick against Bill Belichick in the playoffs with home field advantage. Yes, he has not won a Super Bowl in a decade, but this might be his best Patriots team in quite some time. Again, the Colts could win, but Luck has to be perfect: despite having an above average pass defense, I cannot see them stopping a newly energized Gronkowski, Danny Amendola, Julian Edelman and Brandon LaFell — the latter three were amazing against the Ravens.