The best weekend in sports begins tomorrow, as we get to witness eight of the top teams in football battle it out, for the right to advance to their respective championship games. It doesn’t get much better than this, so let’s dive right into the predictions.
Seattle 24 New Orleans 20
As Patriots fans know all too well, blowing out an opponent a few weeks before a playoff rematch generally doesn’t bode well for the winning team, especially when the losers are led by one of the best quarterbacks in the league. The Saints won’t be embarrassed by 27 points this time, but I don’t think they will be able to take down the Seahawks in Seattle. Yes, Seattle’s offense is extremely inconsistent, but the return of Percy Harvin will really help their passing offense, and Marshawn Lynch will continue to do what Marshawn Lynch does. The Saints do have a top five defense, which will help keep them in the game when their offense struggles, but in the end, I don’t see the Saints putting up more than 20 points on Seattle’s defense, and Russell Wilson will do just enough, to advance to the NFC Championship.
New England 34 Indianapolis 24
I am absolutely terrified of this Colts team, mainly because they look eerily similar to the Patriots. They have overcome a lot of key injuries throughout the year, and they have established a reputation as being the “comeback team”, led by a terrific quarterback. However Tom Brady and Bill Belichick won’t allow Andrew Luck to come into their house, and upset them in the playoffs. When you combine that with the rainy conditions, the bad Colts defense, and the powerful New England running game, I think you get a Patriots win. The Colts can’t run the football, which will force Luck to carry the team (as he has done all year long), but Belichick will make him throw to someone other than T.Y. Hilton, and much like a familiar ex-Colts quarterback, Luck will struggle in the bad weather, and Tom Brady will prevail yet again.
San Francisco 23 Carolina 16
This game features two terrific defenses, two great running games, and two quarterbacks that really know how to make the game exciting. Kaepernick and Newton will both be forced to make some plays with their arms, and even though I don’t completely trust Kaepernick, I trust him a hell of a lot more than Newton. The Panthers’ signal caller has yet to play in a postseason contest, and we don’t know how he will react. Carolina’s stout defense will corral Kaepernick and the Niners offense for most of the game, but I think the experience, and the more explosive outside weapons, will allow San Francisco to prevail.
Denver 31 San Diego 28
In a weekend that features four great matchups, this one will probably take the cake. This will be the third time these two have played each other this season, and I have no doubt in my mind that this one will be a dandy. On one side you have the record breaking offense, led by the record breaking quarterback, and on the other side, you may very well have the hottest team in football. I really want to pick the Chargers to win this, and I think that they have a really good shot at pulling the upset. But I can’t believe that Peyton Manning will allow one more shot at Tom Brady to pass by, and he will will his team to victory. I know that he doesn’t have the best track record in the playoffs (9-11, eight “one and dones”), but I feel like he will get it done on Sunday, and win a shootout against the hottest quarterback in the NFL in Phillip Rivers.
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