Sabtu, 21 Januari 2012

Championship Sunday

Around this time tomorrow, we will know which teams will play in this year's Super Bowl in Indianaoplis. This has been an exciting postseason so far with close finishes on both weekends of this postseason. Tomorrow's AFC and NFC Championship games should be just as exciting as the Denver-Pittsburgh game on Wild Card weekend. Here are my predictions for who will play in the Super Bowl two weeks from tomorrow.

AFC Championship: Baltimore at New England
The top 2 seeds in the AFC have made it to the AFC Championship in Foxboro. The Patriots offense has excelled this season with Tom Brady putting up career numbers. Rob Gronkowski has been huge this season as he has been the best tightend in the AFC this season. Wes Welker has been continuing to do what he always able to do in racking up lots of catches and getting first downs. Recently, the Patriots defense have stepped up their game after allowing only 10 points to the Denver Broncos. Meanwhile, the Ravens have been led by an excellent defense once again. Terrell Suggs has been putting up huge numbers this season while Ed Reed is playing like what he exactly is, one of the best safties in the NFL. Reed called out his quarterback Joe Flacco this week and I think this will motivate him to play well Sunday against a weak Patriots secondary. Ray Rice has led the Ravens offense this year as he has had an impressive season proving why he is one of the best runningbacks in the NFL. This game has the potential to be a fairly high scoring game with players like Tom Brady and Ray Rice involved. This game will come down to which defense can slow down the other defense better. A key matchup in this game will be the Ravens' Ray Rice versus the Patriots rush defense. The running game for the Ravens is essential for them to set up the play action pass to make big plays with wide receivers Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith. If the Patriots can shut down Ray Rice, the Patriots will put all the pressure on Joe Flacco to perform. I think Ray Rice will have over 100 yards and two youchdowns tomorrow for the Ravens. The other key matchup is the Patriots' passing game versus the Ravens' secondary. Tom Brady has been putting up big numbers but he will face the toughest defense he has faced all year Sunday as the Ravens are a top 5 defense. However, the Ravens' secondary has been the best it has been in a few years. Rookie Jimmy Smith and Lardarius Webb have both stepped up this year at cornerback this season which has been key to the success of the secondary along with Ed Reed. I think Tom Brady will play well but not as well as he did against Denver last week. The x-factor in this game will be Ravens kicker Billy Cundiff. Cundiff has been very good this year and will have a big game Sunday in Foxboro.
Prediction: The Patriots haven't beat a team all year with a record above 500, that won't change Sunday as the Ravens will go to Foxboro and win.
Score: Ravens 33, Patriots 28

NFC Championship: NY Giants at San Francisco
The 49ers have been the biggest surprise of the season and have made a massive turnaround thanks to first year head coach Jim Harbaugh. Harbaugh will definitely be the coach of the year as he took a team that was in the top 10 of last year's NFL Draft to a team that is two wins away from the Super Bowl. The 49ers' defens has been led by another Pro Bowl season from star linebacker Patrick Willis. Frank Gore has had another stellar season this year which proves why he is one of the most consistent runningbacks in the NFL. Alex Smith has turned around his career this year as he and Vernon Davis have become a dangerous combo in the passing game. The Giants snuck into the playoffs after beating the Cowboys and ever since that game, they have easily won their playoff games against the Falcons and Packers to get to the NFC Championship. The Giants have the best defensive line in football thanks to the emergance of Jason Pierre-Paul and the excellent play of Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora, and Chris Canty. You can definitely expect these guys to play well Sunday for the Giants. Eli Manning has proven he is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL this season with his performances in the big games and in the playoffs though he has shown some inconsistency. The key matchup Sunday will be the 49ers running game versus the Giants running defense. Frank Gore and the 49ers' offensive line will need to have a big game in order to set up the big plays in the passing game for Alex Smith. The Giants' defensive line will need to shut down the running game to force long 3rd downs so they can put all sorts of pressure on Alex Smith. I think Gore will have over one hundred yards and a touchdown in this game. The x-factor in this game will be 49ers kicker David Akers. Just like the previous game, it will be close and Akers excels in close game and he will have 4 field goals Sunday.
Prediction: Jim Harbaugh has been able to motivate his team to become one of the best in the NFL and the 49ers will book a ticket to the Super Bowl as they defeat the Giants and creat a second Harbaugh Bowl this season on the biggest stage in the Super Bowl.
Score: 49ers 26, Giants 24

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