Sep 7, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos defensive end Quanterus Smith (93) rushes against Indianapolis Colts tackle Anthony Castonzo (74) during the game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
Seahawks 17 Panthers 13
Even though everybody is picking Seattle to win once again, I think the Panthers are going to give the defending champs all they can handle tomorrow night. As Michael Bennett so eloquently stated, these two squads are built in the same fashion. They both run the ball, they both rely on good defense, and they both have a talented young signal caller that can make plays with their feet.
I see both of these offenses struggling all game long, as they will both find it tough to run the football against each stout front seven. Each side also has a mediocre passing game, which will lead to a lot of punts against Seattle’s elite secondary, and Carolina’s elite pass rush. However in the end, I am going to give the advantage to the team with home-field advantage, and the team that was ranked second in the league during the regular season in fewest giveaways.
Seattle wins a close one.
Cowboys 27 Packers 24
Every time I pick the Cowboys I include an obligatory “I may regret this” statement, and I have never been less confident in a Dallas pick than I am today. However before the postseason began, I picked them to advance to the conference championship, so I’m sticking with it.
How can the Cowboys go into Lambeau and score an upset? They run the football behind that terrific offensive line, and they keep the second best quarterback in the league on the sidelines for the majority of the game. As Patriots fans, we know that the best defense against quarterbacks as great as Brady and Rodgers is to simply not allow them to see any game action. Dominate time of possession, and most importantly, be efficient on offense. If you control the clock but continuously settle for field goals, you will still lose.
Dallas ranked third in the league in red zone proficiency in the regluar season, which leads me to believe Tony Romo and the Cowboys offense will play an incredibly efficient game, and do just enough to outscore a gimpy Aaron Rodgers to advance to the conference championship game.
Broncos 31 Colts 27
It would not surprise me one bit to see the Colts pull off the upset in Denver, but I’m going to play it safe, and give our old friend Peyton Manning a rare playoff victory. The difference in my eyes is the Broncos will be able to run the football against Indy’s weak defensive front, and the Colts will be forced to air it out for all 60 minutes.
Manning’s arm is obviously fried at this point, so Denver has to lean on a running game to keep him fresh enough to make a few plays throughout the game. C.J. Anderson will have a big game, and Peyton will do just enough to steer the Broncos back to Foxboro.
Andrew Luck is a phenomenal quarterback, but he turns the ball over way too much, and if his offense becomes one dimensional on Sunday, he will cough it up a few costly times. When Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware can pin their ears back and attack, things generally don’t end well for the opposing signal caller.