The National Football League Playoffs are a captivating time of the year and by far my favorite thing about the football season. This year there is a tough, tough National Football Conference lineup and any of the teams could win it all. In the American Football Conference, the powerhouse teams are back for another shot at Lombardi’s trophy. Here’s how it’s going to unfold.
AFC Divisional Playoffs
It’s Tim Tebow vs. Tom Brady part II. With the Broncos pulling off a monster upset over Pittsburgh, coming into the game, their confidence is a mile high. The Pats handled the Broncos in the first meeting and I expect the same thing to happen again in Foxsboro. The Brady to Gronkowski connection will provide a huge mismatch that the Broncos can’t handle. Tim Tebow’s magic finally runs out. Final Score Broncos 24, Patriots 31.
Houston heads into Baltimore fresh off the first playoff win in the franchise’s history, but that’s where their playoff success ends. Having a rookie quarterback against one of the NFL’s top defenses and most hostile playing environments will seal the Texans fate. Final score Texans 17, Ravens 28.
NFC Divisional Playoffs
The Saints high powered offense, led by Drew Brees, will surely be tested against the stingy defense of the 49ers that led the NFL in turnover ratio at plus 28 during the regular season and didn’t allow a rushing touchdown through 14 games, according to NFL.com statistics. This will be a close game that is going to be decided in the final minutes on a field goal, which favors the 49ers, who have All-Pro kicker David Akers. But this time it will be the Saints on the foot of 42- year-old John Kasay. Final score Saints 27, 49ers 24.
The meeting in New York, week 13 of the regular season, went in the Packers favor 38-35. This time the game is at Lambeau field, where the Packers were undefeated this season. It should be cold and it could come down to time of possession and who can run the ball more effectively. The clear advantage there goes to the Giants. The Giants defense is playing the best they have all season and will have to put heavy pressure on “Mr. Discount Double-Check” himself, and likely MVP, Aaron Rodgers. But despite having said all that, the Packers will win the contest with help from their defensive leader Charles Woodson who will intercept not one, but two Eli Manning passes returning one for a touchdown in the 4th quarter to seal the Packers victory. Final score Giants 21, Packers 31.
These outcomes leads us to the high powered rematch of the season opener between the Saints and the Packers, in what should be the most anticipated NFC championship game in recent memory. The first time these two teams met, they combined for 76 points. This time will be a different story. I predict a snowy day in Green Bay that will hamper down Brees and Rodgers in the passing game. This contest will come down to special teams and turnovers with the Packers heading to their second straight Super Bowl on a Mason Crosby kick in a blustering wind as time expires. Final score Saints 17, Packers 20.
The Ravens and the Patriots were the class of the AFC all season and this game will show everyone why. Ray Rice will have two touchdowns and Ed Reed will intercept Brady in the final minutes to close out the game and send the Ravens to their second Super Bowl in franchise history. Final score Ravens 31, Patriots 24.
Super Bowl XLVI
The Packers face their toughest defensive opponent in the Ravens. Initially the mixed coverages give the Packers a tough time allowing the Ravens to take the lead into halftime 14-10. But as the second half commences, the Packers offense wakes up and goes on a run to jump the lead to ten points heading into the 4th quarter with the score at 24-14. The Ravens make it close but a Rodgers pass to Jermichael Finley over Ray Lewis puts the icing on the cake, and earns the Packers their fifth Super Bowl championship. Quote the Ravens nevermore. Final Score Packers 31, Ravens 21.