NFL-AFCCG & NFCCG
And then there were 4. I think the 4 teams that truly belonged here, are here. I know that some would argue that the Broncos may have deserved it more than the Colts, but I don’t agree. The Broncos coasted the last 5-6 games of the year, and didn’t look that good. The Colts have been rising back to respectability as their young QB grows.
It should be a great Sunday of football.
3:05 ET, Packers@Seahawks
Interesting match-up, a rematch of week one, when the Packers looked totally mismatched. A lot has happened since, the Packers have improved, but so have the Seahawks.
Both teams won 12 games, Packers averaged 30.4 per game versus the 24.6 of the defending champs. However, when your team only gives up 15.9 versus 21.8. you realize the difference. Most importantly, the Seahawks are 7-1 at home and the Packers are a pedestrian 4-4 on the road.
This game will come down to defense, as it usually does this time of year in these kind of games. Seattle’s defense was #1 against the pass, which is also the Packers greatest strength. The Packers’ defense was mediocre against the run, which is the Seahawks strength. The Packers will have to rely heavily on their league leading give/take differential. They do not turn it over easily, and that stat should keep them close for a while.
Ultimately it will come down to execution on both sides of the ball. The Seahawks will run behind Lynch and Wilson. Their game plan is going to be simple and effective. The Packers will be facing not only the best defense in the game, but a crowd that will do whatever it takes to send them home packing.
I think the Packers will be in this game for a half, but eventually get beaten soundly.
Seattle 34 – Gren Bay 17
6:40 ET, Colts@Patriots
The world wanted a Manning/Brady match, but Andrew “Bearded” Luck disrupted those plans. This is a game that features an up and coming star QB against an old but still quite good Tom Brady, the HoF QB that may go down as the best ever.
The Patriots won their customary 12 games, versus the 11 of the Colts. Both teams can score, Colts 28.6 per game and Patriots 29.3. The Patriots’ defense gives up 19.6 versus the Colts’ 23.1. At home the Patriots are 7-1, 1-0 in these playoffs. The Colts won 5 on the road, 1-0 so far in the post season.
This game will come down to protection, and unfortunately the Patriots didn’t show any signs of a pass rush last week against Flacco, this week they better step it up, because the Colts OL is better. The Broncos hardly put a scratch on Luck, and they paid for it.
The Colts passing attack is far superior 305 to 257 per game, and the running game is pretty equal, 100 for the Colts 107 for NE. Clearly the NE D has to stop Luck.
Last week the Patriots hosted the fake Colts, this week the real ones come into town. Luck and company traveled to Denver and came out to play from the beginning. They will need to take their game up a notch this week. This Patriots defense is as good as it has been in years. Luck will have to take a page from Flacco (he of the fake Colts) and attack Browner. Browner is an all or nothing CB, he can be amazing one week and totally out of sync the next. The Island is not a place you land at, but navigate around it until you can attack it properly (see Smith).
I think the Patriots will come out running a lot and dissect the Colts with passes down the middle. Tom Brady will exploit the Colts defense against Gronk, but in order for this to succeed, Edelman, LaFell and Amendola need to do their part, run crisp routs and hold on to the ball.
The Colts will come out and attack the air to set up their running. The Colts have too many weapons to deal with. I expect Fleener to have a great game.
This game will be very close, and it will go back and forth for most of the night.
I think its the end of the road for the Patriots, the Colts are this year’s team of destiny.
Indianapolis 27 – New England 24