Sunday, January 22, 2012

NFL Playoff Predictions - AFC/NFC Championship

If FSU can do this, I can go 2-0 today in predictions.

Playoff Prediction Record: 4-4

Start of another playoff weekend and yet again I start it at .500 on my predictions.  Odds are I will probably go 1-1 today and roll into the Super Bowl in two weeks with a make and break prediction to either give me an over or under .500 record.  As I always say though, if Florida State can beat Duke on a game winning buzzer beater three...anything is possible.  So maybe I can go undefeated this weekend and seal a winning record for my playoff predictions.  First game of the day is the Ravens rolling into New England, followed by the Giants going to soggy San Fran to take on the 49ers.  Two tough ones to predict, but that is just what I'll do.

Baltimore Ravens @ New England Patriots

Just like last week with the Saints, I'll start by saying I have a jealous hatred of the New England Patriots.  For the same reasons I rip on people who hate Duke, I hate them because all they do is win.  So with that you may want to take my prediction with a large grain of salt, I am picking the Ravens to win.  The key as always in the NFL is turnovers.  The Patriots defense is horrible, if the Ravens can just hang onto the ball and have Flacco not be in Darko Milicic mode where he is just a shell of his potential, then they should win.  Brady will be tough to stop but the Ravens defense should...repeat...SHOULD be able to get enough stops to win.  The thing you can never predict with the Pats is if Brady is in just "great" mode or "un-freakin stoppable" mode.  "Great" mode is stoppable...the other mode I guess speaks for itself.

Brady is in just "great mode", Flacco wakes up from his haze of the divisional round, Rice tears up the suspect Pats defense enabling Baltimore to control the ball and the clock and keep Brady and Gronk off the field.  The Ravens win on the road in the playoffs...something they are comfortable doing.

Prediction: Ravens 21 - Patriots 17

New York Giants @ San Francisco 49ers

I don't hate anyone in this game, so it makes me more likely to make an unbiased decision on who will win based purely on the skills and history of the teams.  It is a tough game to predict, I can easily make a case for either to win and then make a counter case for why that case is flawed.  Can you really trust the Giants to put together three games of great performances in a row in a season in which they had a tough enough time putting together consistent good play together from quarter to quarter?  Can you really trust the 49ers to open up the offense enough to make the Giants respect Alex Smith and open up running lanes for Frank Gore?  No and No.  

I think Eli limits mistakes, something the Saints didn't do last week and is able to move the ball on San Fran's defense.  The Giants defensive front will slow down Frank Gore and once the Giants have a lead, start teeing off on Alex Smith as he attempts to throw the 49ers back into the game.

Prediction: Giants 27 - 49ers 13

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