AFC/NFC Championship Game Picks

We are finally only hours away from finding out who will represent the AFC and who will represent the NFC in Super Bowl XLVI. The “experts” have had their say (you see a compilation of game picks HERE) as to who will win, but now Musket Fire is putting on the prognostication hat to pick the winners of the AFC and NFC Championship games. Both games promise to be great TV viewing, as the New England Patriots host the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC and the San Francisco 49ers host the New York Giants in the NFC.

Let’s get to the picks!

Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots (3 p.m. ET, CBS)

Jamie Pacheco: Patriots. I’m not 100% confident in this pick, but I just can’t pick against them in this game. If the Patriots’ defense can match at least a portion of their intensity from the Denver game, the Patriots should win. Tom Brady is hungry for a championship, perhaps just as much as he was when he started his career. I don’t think Brady will allow what happened to him and the offense in 2009 to happen again this year. I don’t know if they can win it all, but I think the Patriots stand a good chance to make it to the Super Bowl by winning Sunday.

Ryan Hannable: Ravens.  I said a few months ago that the Patriots would lose to either the Steelers or Ravens in the AFC Championship. I think Baltimore has the defense to keep Brady and the Patriots offense in check and the running game to maintain long drives and keep the Patriots offense off of the field. I think Ray Rice will be able to run on the Patriots defense, but if the Patriots defense can step up and play like it did last week things could be different. I see the Ravens winning 24-21.

New York Giants at San Francisco 49ers (6:30 p.m. ET, FOX)

Jamie Pacheco: Giants. The 2011 New York Giants look a lot like the 2007 Giants that won the Super Bowl (though hopefully not TOTALLY like 2007), hitting their stride at the right time of the year. The 49ers have had a phenomenal season and really overachieved, but I think Eli Manning and the Giants offense are the difference makers here. Both defenses will be stout, but Eli’s big-game experience will be enough to put the Giants over the top.

Ryan Hannable: 49ers. The 49ers were very impressive last weekend. We knew they had the defense, but no one could see what their offense did coming. In what should be a very physical game I see the 49ers coming out on top by a score of 23-17.

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