As we approach this final Championship weekend on the road to the Super Bowl 46, I thought I would break down the matchups and what we can expect to see on Sunday. But first, let’s look at what got us here.
Let’s start with the NFC Championship game, which is kinda an upset in the making. The New York football giants finished the regular season as the NFC East champs and then crushed the Atlanta Falcons 24-2 during the wildcard round. That’s right; the Falcons did get a safety. The tenacity of Eli Manning sitting in the pocket patiently along with the Giants “D”, proved to be too much for Matt Ryan and the Atlanta air attack.
We move on to the Divisional Round with the G-Men heading to Green Bay to take on the NFC #1 seed Packers. After a week of rest, you would think that Aaron Rodgers and co. would be well rested and prepared with the ideal game plan to coast through another home playoff game. Wrong, The Packers never looked worse as the Giants went into Lambeau Field and embarrassed the Pack 37-20. The Giants are 4-0 all-time in NFC Championship Games, with three of those wins coming as underdogs. Who’d figure? They also managed to spoil the post-season dreams of the cross-town J-E-T-S, the divisional rival Cowboys (boy has Jerry Jones got problems in Big “D”), Falcons and now the Packers, all in consecutive weeks.
On the other side of ball will be rookie head coach Jim “I don’t shake hands” Hardbaugh and his 49ers coming off of an impressive season and a first round bye, with an impressive stance against Drew “Cool” Breeze and the Saints. That game came down to the wire as 49ers QB Alex Smith completed a 14-yard touchdown pass to Vernon Davis with 9 seconds left to earn their first playoff victory in nine years.
Some say it the 49ers game to lose. They are playing at the top of their game and are at home at Candlestick Park. The 12th man will certainly play a factor in that game. Considering how the New York Football Giants are playing, I predict the G-Men to prevail and represent the NFC in Super Bowl 46. New York 27, San Francisco 20.
Now for the AFC. Tom Brady and the New England Patriots earned the #1 seed and a first round bye in the playoffs. They beat Tim Tebow and the up-and-coming Broncos by a nasty score of 45-10. Did anyone know that Tebow played hurt throughout most of the game? He had rib, lung and chest injuries and still pushed through. God bless him, although I would have to say that God may have taken the day off last Sunday, being the day of rest and all, because the Broncos couldn’t manage anything.
This brings us to our other AFC Championship team, the Baltimore Ravens. They hosted the Houston Texans and barely escaped with a win of their own, 20-13. It was a battle of the defenses as the Ravens prevailed coming up with four turnovers and earning a trip to Foxboro.
The game is in New England and odds makers favor the Pats. But let’s not underestimate the hungry Ravens defense going up against a high-powered, highly affected Bill Belichik offense. This could be the last stand for Baltimore’s Ray Lewis and Ed Reed with their careers winding down, so look for Brady to have a tough time marching down the field as games past. My prediction is the home team squeaking by 21-20.
Super Bowl 46