Well NFL fans don’t look now but your fearless prognosticator is 6-2 thus far in picking NFL playoff games. As they say, I’d rather be lucky than good. Last weekend, I whiffed on the Panthers-Seahawks matchups but the other three games went as I expected. Now we are down to the final four teams. Here are my thoughts on this weekend’s Conference Championship Games. Super Bowl 50 is just over two weeks away!
AFC Conference Championship: New England Patriots (13-4) at Denver Broncos (13-4)
Once again the AFC comes down to Brady vs Manning, the two signature quarterbacks of this generation. Peyton certainly wasn’t the Peyton of old last week but he managed the game well and took care of the football. The question is will this formula be enough against the Patriots. The Patriots certainly have question marks of their own and Denver has always been a chamber of horrors for them. This all said, with a healthy Gronk and Edelman, the Patriots can score on anyone, including the Broncos top ranked defense. Conversely, I don’t think the Broncos offense will be able to match New England’s output. The only the Broncos will win this one in my view is through Special Teams or by forcing turnovers. It’s possible but not likely. Ultimately, the Pats will be the team advancing to Super Bowl 50.
My pick: New England 27 Denver 23
NFC Conference Championship: Arizona Cardinals (14-3) at Carolina Panthers (16-1)
The NFC conference title boils down to a battle between the two leading candidates for MVP in Carson Palmer and Cam Newton. Both have been spectacular this year. The Panthers and Cardinals have been the most consistent teams in the NFL this season. Each team is solid both offensively and defensively. Arizona was my Super Bowl pick prior to the playoffs. However, their performance was somewhat disappointing last week against Green Bay. Carson Palmer looked shaky. Whether that was due to his index finger injury or jitters is uncertain. Carolina was far more impressive in defeating Seattle. In spite of how each team looked last weekend, I’m still going with Arizona. The caveat here is that I’m assuming Palmer will be 100% healthy or at least close to it. Offensively, the Cardinals have 4 guys in their receiving core that can stretch the field while the Panthers major weakness is in their safeties ability to cover. These teams are fairly equal on paper but, as they say in boxing, styles make fights. Palmer manages to outduel Newton in a tight one.
My Pick: Arizona 34 Carolina 31
If my predictions hold true, the Patriots will face the Cardinals in Super Bowl 50. We’ll find out on Sunday if I am right! As Terrell Owens would say: “Get your popcorn ready”!Contact the management team