This week’s topic is this weekend’s NFC and AFC Championship Games. The writers were asked who would win in each matchup, what the score would be and why they think the result would be that way.
Before getting into this week’s predictions, let’s recap how each writer did in predicting the NFC and AFC Divisional Games from last weekend:
The big winner of last week was Sammie who went 3-1 in his predictions. Up next was Rich who went 2-2. Adam and JR both went 1-3 and Fred went 1-2 (who as a 49ers fan didn’t pick a winner in their game).
Sammie: The 49ers make the cross-country trip to Atlanta with a decisive win last week over the Packers. They have everything going for them with the dual threat of 49ers quarterback Kaepernick causing all kinds of confusion for the Atlanta defense. Atlanta came out hot and then gave up 20+ unanswered points and some questionable coaching calls. The Atalnta Falcons are coming off of an extreme high of winning that I believe will be the reason they lack focus this week losing to 49ers. I have the San Fransico 49er’s over the Atalanta Falcons 35-24.
Rich: The Falcons were lucky to come away with the win last week – they gave up a ton of unanswered points and their head coach, Mike Smith, made some questionable calls that almost cost them the game. The 49ers are running high on momentum and the legs of Kaepernick and will continue to do so this weekend. San Fran wins 34-17.
Fred: Like I mentioned last week, I don’t make playoff predictions for my Niners. Go Niners!
Adam: This should be a good game. You have Atlanta who just beat a mobile quarterback in dramatic fashion. Well this week they get another one in Kaepernick who is coming off an insane performance in his teams division round victory. You also have a San Francisco team who knows how to run the ball while Atlanta appeared to have a rejuvenated running game last week against Seattle. You have a decent receiving corps in San Francisco and an insane one in Atlanta. San Francisco has the much better defense. Atlanta is playing at home. Tough call but if forced to make a decision I will take Matt “Matty Ice” Ryan (who made a playoff appearance last week) and the Falcons at home in a tight one. Final 28-24.
JR: Colin Kaepernick is playing on another level, arguably better than any quarterback in the playoffs thus far. He’s a double-threat; he has accuracy and he can get outside the pocket and pick up a first down with ease. The Falcons have had problems defending the option run, look at what Cam Newton did to the Atlanta defense during the season; Newton ran for 100+ yards and the Panthers destroyed the Falcons. Kaepermick should have the same success with Atlanta plus I believe Matt Ryan is overated. San Fran wins 30-14.
Reggie: This is not a hard one for me. I am taking the San Francisco 49ers over the Atlanta Falcons. The reason…yep you guess it – Colin Kaepernick!! I would venture to say that the Falcons have been trying to scheme for the read-option all week, which is why the youngster will have to drop back more than usual. Which is no problem, due to the fact the the kid can throw. He will make up for any read-option rushes with his escapability and passing. So instead of running a couple he will just have to throw one more. Even though Atlanta is pretty tough against the pass, allowing five touchdowns (passing) in the last eight games, I say the Kaepernick kid beats them with his arm! Final score 31-28.
That’s four writers for the 49ers, one for the Falcons and one abstained. Feel free to vote for who believe will win this game.
Who will win the NFC Championship Game?
- San Francisco 49ers (67%, 6 Votes)
- Atlanta Falcons (33%, 3 Votes)
Total Voters: 9
Sammie: The matchup is fueled by a lot of bad blood between the these two teams. The last meeting in week 3, the Ravens won 31-30 and Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco fended off the questions that he was not an elite quarterback. With a NFL classic win in double-overtime last week over the Denver Broncos, I think the Ravens will overcome the underdog spread. There has been no answer for Ravens reciever Anquion Boldin or running back Ray Rice. I believe the Ravens will get the victory over Tom Brady and the Patriots continuing the storybook finish for Ray Lewis’ final season. I have the Ravens beating the Patroits 37-33.
Rich: This should be a great game. Last year in the AFC Championship Game, the Ravens came within one dropped pass by Lee Evans and one missed field goal from knocking off the Patriots and going to the Super Bowl. Earlier in the year, the Ravens beat the Patriots, 31-30 but that game was in Baltimore and this game is in New England. The loss of Gronkowski I believe is what will really hurt the Patriots in this game. My heart tells me that this is the Ravens and Ray Lewis’ year and I just have a feeling that the Ravens are going to pull this one out, in yet another game that comes down to the wire. Final score 37-34.
Fred: I just can’t pick against Belichick at home. Patriots 38, Ravens 24
Adam: Gronkowski is out for the remainder of the season. It appears Danny Woodhead might miss this week as well. However, the Patriots had a convincing victory against an out-of-sorts Texans team last week. They still have Brady, Ridley and crew so they will be a tough matchup. However, Baltimore just came off an emotional victory and it appears the stars are aligning for Ray Lewis’s last ride. Joe Flacco is playing great and in the AFC Championship game last year he outplayed Brady in the same situation. Call it a hunch, call it a feeling or call it whatever you like but I just think the Ray Lewis farewell tour goes all the way to the Super Bowl. Baltimore goes into New England this year and gets the win. Final 31-28.
JR: I think the Patriots will win not because they are a better team, but simply because of the hurry-up offense that they run will more than likely to deplete the energy out of the Baltimore defensive line. For the record I think the hurry-up offense is cheating and the Patriots will win in a close game, final score 24-21.
Reggie: I am gonna go out on a limb here and say that the Patriots lose a close one. I just think the Ravens have a sour taste in their mouths and will not let this one slip away. The Ravens seem to match up well with the Patriots – seeing as how the last three games have been decided by a total of seven points. I am gonna ride the Ray Lewis wave and call it…Harbaugh vs Harbaugh Super Bowl. Brother vs Brother! Final Score 38-34.
That’s four writers for the Ravens and two for the Patriots. Feel free to vote for who believe will win this game.
Who will win the AFC Championship Game?
- Baltimore Ravens (88%, 7 Votes)
- New England Patriots (13%, 1 Votes)
Total Voters: 8
So, what will the result be? Will we have brother versus brother in the Super Bowl? Will the Falcons make it all the way? Will the Patriots try to make it back-to-back Super Bowl apperances yet again? The games on Sunday will decide it all.