15 January 2014

2014 NFL Conference Championship Predictions

This is the NFL's "Final Four" as we have reached Conference Championship Sunday as both the AFC and NFC titles are on the line and thus, berths in East Rutherford for Super Bowl XLVIII. And boy do we have a doozy of a slate this Sunday as we have a matchup that any and every television executive is dying for (Brady v. Manning) and quite possibly the hottest and most fierce rivalry in the NFL (49ers-Seahawks). Who will get to the big game? Here are my conference championship picks.

Divisional: 4-0
Playoffs: 5-3

Sunday, January 19th
New England Patriots vs. Denver Broncos - CBS, 3:00
Everybody loves when Tom Brady and Peyton Manning go head to head and for good reason, they are the two best quarterbacks of their era and first ballot Hall of Famers. And the first time they went at this season, it was a classic as Brady and the Pats rallied from a 24-0 halftime deficit to score 31 unanswered, with Denver getting a last second TD to force overtime where the Patriots prevailed after a botched punt return left them with great field position for the winning kick. But you know what, I think that in a way, Brady has Manning's number. When these two go head-to-head, Brady is 10-4. Plus, who would you rather have in a do-or-die playoff game, Brady or Manning? New England is going to keep the ball out of Manning's hands by running the ball and controlling the clock, and that will be the difference.
Patriots 30 Broncos 27

San Francisco 49ers vs. Seattle Seahawks - Fox, 6:30
As I mentioned earlier, this is such a fierce rivalry and it is not just because both of these teams are physical, defensive clubs that hit hard and leave it all out on the field. How about the fact that both of the coaches in this game, Jim Harbaugh and Pete Carroll, are not just intense coaches, they hate each other going back to their days in the Pac-12, with Harbaugh at Stanford and Carroll at USC. So we know this will be fun. 
I have thought that the only team that can go into Seattle and defeat the Seahawks in the playoffs was the 49ers, and I still believe that with how rock solid they have looked in dispatching the Packers and the Panthers on the road. That said, the key to this game in my opinion will come as to if the Seahawks can contain Colin Kaepernick and not allow him to the things he can do outside the pocket, and I think they are uniquely equipped to do that. So I think Seattle will win it in a nail-biter.
Seahawks 17 49ers 14

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