Sunday, January 22, 2012

AFC & NFC Conference Championship Picks 2011

In a few short hours, the AFC Championship will take place from Gillette Stadium as the New England Patriots host the Baltimore Ravens for the right to play in Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis.

After that game, the NFC Championship will take place at Candlestick Park as the San Francisco 49ers host the New York Giants.

Last week, the two NFC Divisional games brought us surprises and excitement, as "The Catch III" took place as the 49ers beat New Orleans with nine seconds left last Saturday. On Sunday, the Green Bay Packers (who had the NFL's best record at 15-1) got knocked out by the New York Giants.

AFC Championship Game:
Baltimore Ravens (13-4) at New England Patriots (14-3)


NFC Championship Game:
New York Giants (11-7) at San Francisco 49ers (14-3)

Can the Ravens defense be able to contain Tom Brady and the one-two tight end punch of Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski? How good is the Patriot defense? These questions will be answered this afternoon.

The Giants are peaking at the right time, as witnessed last week against Green Bay. In 2007, the G-Men were the NFL road warriors, winning FOUR games on the road, including Super Bowl XLII.

As much as I want to see Harbaugh Bowl II, I think it will be a rematch of Super Bowl XLII in two weeks.

New England 31, Baltimore 14
NY Giants 28, San Francisco 19

With that said...
New York Giants (12-7) vs. New England Patriots (15-3)

SAD BREAKING NEWS: Former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno passed away this morning due to complications of lung cancer. He was 85.

Friday, January 13, 2012

NFL: Week 19 (2011)- Divisional Playoffs (+ more)

The dust has settled from Round One of the 2011 NFL Playoffs, and that weekend saw all four Wild Card teams eliminated from the playoffs, one-by-one, including a thrilling finish to the weekend as Denver quarterback Tim Tebow threw an 80-yard pass to Demaryus Thomas on the first play of overtime to upset defending AFC Champion Pittsburgh, a game parodied by singer (and Denver resident) John Parr, who re-did his 1985 hit "Man in Motion" from the film St. Elmo's Fire to the tune of Tim Tebow's Fire.


# 3 New Orleans Saints (14-3) at # 2 San Francisco 49ers (13-3)- 4:30PM EST at Candlestick Park (San Francisco, CA)
# 4 Denver Broncos (9-8] at # 1 New England Patriots (13-3)- 8PM EST at Gillette Stadium (Foxborough, MA)

# 3 Houston Texans (11-6) at # 2 Baltimore Ravens (12-4)- 1PM EST at M&T Bank Stadium (Baltimore, MD)
# 4 New York Giants (10-7) at # 1 Green Bay Packers (15-1)- 4:30PM EST at Lambeau Field (Green Bay, WI)

Here's How It Will Pan Out This Weekend:
Both # 3 seeds have things working against them in these matchups. The Saints have only won one postseason game outside of the (Mercedes-Benz) Superdome, and that one game was Super Bowl XLIV. The Texans are 0-5 all-time against the Ravens, including a 29-14 loss on October 16, also at M&T Bank Stadium.

The other two matchups are rematches from games played last month. The Patriots put "Tebow Time" on a break with a decisive 41-23 win on December 18. The Packers edged the G-Men 38-35 on December 4, Green Bay's closest test before their eventual loss to Kansas City in Romeo Crennel's coaching debut with the Chiefs on December 18.

The Giants will give the Pack another test, after they (almost) shut out Atlanta on Sunday, as the Giants defense is peeking at the right time. The 49ers did not allow a rushing touchdown until Christmas Eve in Seattle, and their defense is tough, but will they stop record-shattering quarterback Drew Brees?

Green Bay 30, NY Giants 27
New Orleans 30, San Francisco 13
Baltimore 28, Houston 6
New England 34, Denver 3

With that said...based on the predictions...
AFC Championship (3PM EST on Jan. 22)- # 2 Baltimore Ravens at # 1 New England Patriots (Gillette Stadium; Foxborough, MA)
NFC Championship (6:30PM EST on Jan. 22)- # 3 New Orleans Saints at # 1 Green Bay Packers (in a rematch of the regular season opener; Lambeau Field; Green Bay, WI)

Friday, January 6, 2012

2011 NFL Wildcard Weekend Picks

After 17 weeks and 256 NFL games, the playoffs begin tomorrow afternoon with the first two of four NFL Wild Card games.

The first Wild Card game pits the AFC South Champion Houston Texans in their playoff debut against the last team they beat, the Cincinnati Bengals, who backed in to the sixth and final playoff spot.

The second Wild Card game has the NFC South Champion New Orleans Saints hosting the Detroit Lions, in a rematch of a game played last month, where the Lions were without star defensive tackle Ndamakong Suh (due to suspension).

On Sunday, the third Wild Card game has the NFC East Champion New York Giants hosting the Atlanta Falcons, and the fourth and final Wild Card game has the AFC West Champion Denver Broncos, who will have their hands full against the defending AFC Champion Pittsburgh Steelers.

# 6 Cincinnati Bengals (9-7) at # 3 Houston Texans (10-6)- Saturday @ 4:30PM- Reliant Stadium (Houston, TX)
Trivia: How many NFL playoff games have been started by two rookie quarterbacks in the same game?
Answer: None...until now.
For the first time in the 90-plus years of the NFL, both teams playing in a playoff game will start two rookie quarterbacks. The Bengals have not won a playoff game since 1990, and the Texans are making their playoff debut. Not to mention, Bengals Quarterback Andy Dalton will be playing in front of a home crowd, as Dalton is from the Houston suburb of Katy.

# 6 Detroit Lions (10-6) at # 3 New Orleans Saints (13-3)- Saturday @ 8PM- Mercedes-Benz Superdome (New Orleans, LA)
How much durability can the field of Mercedes-Benz Superdome take? This will be the third of four football games played on this field (last Sunday's Saints game, the Allstate Sugar Bowl, this game, and the Allstate BCS National Championship game) in a nine day span. The Saints will be ready for this one. The same can't really be said for Detroit (making their first playoff appearance since 1999), who allowed Green Bay's backup quarterback to throw for six touchdowns.

# 5 Atlanta Falcons (10-6) at # 4 New York Giants (9-7)- Sunday @ 1PM- MetLife Stadium (East Rutherford, NJ)
The Giants are peaking at the right time as they topped the Dallas Cowboys twice in four weeks to win the NFC East and secure the # 4 seed. The Atlanta passing and receiving game is one of the tops in the NFL.

# 5 Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4) at # 4 Denver Broncos [8-8]- Sunday @ 4:30PM- Sports Authority Field at Mile High
If you thought Seattle's 7-9 record was good enough to win a division title, take a step back. The Broncos still manage to break a three-way tie for first place in the AFC West at 8-8 and clinch the # 4 seed. Unfortunately, the Broncos will play the Pittsburgh Steelers, probably the most stingiest defense in the NFL.

Houston 27, Cincinnati 14 (The Bengals defense will have a tough time stopping the one-two punch of Texans running backs Arian Foster and Ben Tate)
New Orleans 42, Detroit 14 (Matthew Stafford is not yet ready for primetime)
NY Giants 31, Atlanta 28 (Somehow, someway, the Giants are now finding ways to win)
Pittsburgh 34, Denver 3 (Tebow Time...Over)

Based on those Predictions- Divisional Round:
# 3 New Orleans Saints (14-3) at # 2 San Francisco 49ers (13-3)- Candlestick Park (San Francisco, CA)- 4:30PM EST on Fox, January 14
# 5 Pittsburgh Steelers (13-4) at # 1 New England Patriots (13-3)- Gillette Stadium (Foxborough, MA)- 8PM EST on CBS, January 14
# 3 Houston Texans (11-6) at # 2 Baltimore Ravens (12-4)- M&T Bank Stadium (Baltimore, MD)- 1PM EST on CBS, January 15
# 4 New York Giants (10-7) at # 1 Green Bay Packers (15-1)- Lambeau Field (Green Bay, WI)- 4:30PM EST on Fox, January 15