Last Week 2-2
Regular Season Record: 170-86
Postseason Record: 5-3
The NFC/AFC Championship Game - one step closer to Super Bowl XLVI. The fates of the remaining four teams hang in the balance, awaiting the judgement of the whistle and clock. For two teams, their season will be validated, extended and they will have an opportunity to achieve the ultimate football glory. For the other two teams, a long, hard journey home followed by a grueling offseason of "what ifs."
Mike Farley and his crystal ball have been very in tune with the postseason football gods. You read his predictions piece earlier today. Now, I present to you, my own. Ed is sitting high above in the BBV throne, looking down upon us and enjoying the cross picking carnage. If only he harnessed his powers for good. Let's get to it.
Baltimore at New England: Last week, in my predictions piece, I stated that some of the lopsided teams would fall by the wayside and that is exactly what happened. The Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints had two of the worst defenses in the regular season. In the playoffs, regardless if a team can put up a score that looks like it belongs in an NBA game, a moderate degree of defense is mandatory. Fortunately, for the Patriots, they went up against a Denver Broncos team that did not have the defense necessary to contain Tom Brady and his offense. Tim Tebow certainly didn't have the experience or weapons needed to go into Gillette Stadium and pull off an upset of that magnitude.
There is no question that the Ravens have the superior defense of these two teams. Joe Flacco didn't have a phenomenal year. But he did help his team finish with the third-best record in the NFL. What we're really talking about is Tom Brady's offense against Ray Lewis' defense. Not only does Brady have Mr. Happy, Bill Belichik, on his side, he also has a stock pile of playoff experience and the home field advantage. That is just one too many things in New England's favor. Patriots 31, Ravens 17.
New York at San Francisco: Defense, defense, defense. That has been San Fran's prize pig all season long - except in the postseason. The 49ers gave up 472 yards of total offense last week against the New Orleans Saints. They also gave up thirty-two points. Yes, they beat the Saints. Nawlins, however, does not have much of a pass defense to speak of. Actually, they finished third from last in the regular season. So, yes - scoring some points against the Saints was inevitable.
The Giants took on the Niners earlier in the year and almost had them beat, in San Francisco no less. The G-Men didn't have much of a pass defense to speak of either in the regular season, for the most part. They came on strong in the final few weeks of the season and have been performing as a cohesive unit all throughout the playoffs. Their secondary did a tremendous job of taking away Aaron Rodgers' targets last week. His targets certainly helped take themselves out, too. What they have done in these last two playoff games has shocked most of the free-footballing world. We don't even have to point out how incredible Eli Manning and his offense has been. It is well known by now. The Niners just don't have the defense or offense to defeat what Chris Collinsworth has called, "the most well-balanced team in the playoffs." Giants 27, 49ers 17.
If my predictions come into fruition that will mean a rematch of Super Bowl XLII in Peyton Manning's house. That being the case, it might as well be a home game in Giants Stadium…er…MetLife Stadium. Let me stop there and leave something for my last prediction piece. There you have it.