The most anticipated week in January, the Conference round. The 4 teams that represent the Lombardi Trophy’s “Final 4”, and all of them have premier QBs. The AFC brings the historic matchup of (Peyton) Manning and (Tom) Brady. The NFC brings the future of Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson. The Conference round features 3 teams from the Division Round and Wild Card round, the wild card round features dark horse San Francisco 49ers.
300 CBS (New England at Denver) (Jim Nantz, Phil Simms, Tracy Wolfson)
New England Patriots
Head Coach: Bill Belichick, 14th season (12-4) (1st in AFC East)
2012 Record: 12-4
The Patriots last week showed that they’re all too well in handling the playoffs. Good game plan lead to a blowout victory against the Colts. The Patriots have watched how the playoffs have fared and that the ground game has been a factor in victory. The Patriots both won offensively with Pass and Run, but its defense took advantage of passing failures of Andrew Luck. Luck’s interceptions was a factor in New England’s win. I expect Brady and Co. to have a good game plan for the Broncos and could still be my pre-season favorite to be the Super Bowl representative for the AFC.
GOOD WINS: Denver Broncos
BAD LOSSES: Cincinnati Bengals, New York Jets, Carolina Panthers, Miami Dolphins
The Patriots have 4 players in the Pro Bowl
Head Coach: John Fox, 3rd season (13-3) (1st in AFC West)
2012 Record: 13-3
Rest matters. Denver looked prepared for the divisional round and avoided an early exit. Peyton Manning performed well, but his receivers didn’t, dropped passes have hurt playoff teams. The receiving corp struggled, but the ground game did not. Montee Ball and Knowshon Moreno cleaned up the offense, which led to victory. The defense was phenomenal in the 1st half, but slipped in the 2nd half with Philip Rivers comeback. The secondary will need to work on avoiding open routes to Patriots receiving corps.
GOOD WINS: Philadelphia Eagles, San Diego Chargers, Kansas City Chiefs (2x)
BAD LOSSES: Indianapolis Colts, New England Patriots, San Diego Chargers
The Broncos have 5 players in the Pro Bowl.
PREDICTION: DENVER 35-NEW ENGLAND 24
630 FOX (San Francisco at Seattle) (Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Pam Oliver and Erin Andrews)
San Francisco 49ers
Head Coach: Jim Harbaugh, 3rd Season (12-4) (2nd Place NFC West)
2012 Record: 11-4-1
After saying the 49ers are running hot, they are really running hot. The 49ers have won 8 straight and are looking for 10 (Super Bowl). San Francisco struggled with Carolina in the 1st half, but Colin Kaepernick went on an offense rampage in the 2nd half to beat Carolina 23-10. Kaepaernick and the 49ers will have a challenge in Seattle, but look to return to the Super Bowl.
GOOD WINS: Seattle Seahawks (home), Carolina Panthers
BAD LOSSES: Indianapolis Colts, Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints
The 49ers have 8 players in the Pro Bowl
Head Coach: Pete Carroll, 4th season (13-3) (1st in NFC West)
2012 Record: 11-5
The Seahawks and playing at home is something they like, a lot. Last Saturday, the Seahawks took Drew Brees and the Saints completely out of the game. Russell Wilson had a complete game and the ground game flatten the Saints Defense. The Seahawks could have a cakewalk to New York City, but Russell Wilson will be in my opinion be dueling with Colin Kaepernick.
GOOD WINS: Carolina Panthers, San Francisco 49ers, New Orleans Saints
BAD LOSSES: Indianapolis Colts, San Francisco 49ers, Arizona Cardinals
The Seahawks have 6 players going to the Pro Bowl
PREDICTION: SEATTLE 30-SAN FRANCISCO 28
TEAM: (1-3 WC) (4-0 DIV) (5-3 OVERALL) DENVER, SEATTLE
OVER UNDER: DENVER (59), SEATTLE (58), NET PT (-24)
Next Post: February 2nd, Super Bowl