AFC and NFC Championship Game Predictions - NFL Playoffs (Beazley)
NFC Championship Game (see past results): San Francisco 49ers 27, Atlanta Falcons 24
At the beginning of the year, I picked San Francisco and New England to meet in the Super Bowl. So there is no shock that I am sticking with those picks here. As bad as some of my picks were this season, Kansas City, Philly, San Diego, and Tennessee all making the playoffs, I redeemed myself calling three of the final four.
Atlanta showed on Sunday that they could score against a very good defense so I don't think scoring will be an issue on Sunday even against a good San Francisco defense.
Just like last week, the key for Atlanta will be running the ball. If they can run the ball they will have a great chance to win. San Francisco has the fourth-best rushing defense in the NFL so it will be tough.
Colin Kaepernick deserves a ton of credit for what he did on Saturday night, but let's be honest here. He played against a bad Green Bay defense, and in a comfortable environment at home. This week will be different.
I could see this game going either way as this is definitely the harder of the two games to predict. I'm going to go with the 49ers though. Atlanta can be beat on the ground, so I expect another 200-yard output out of San Francisco again on Sunday. I see this game going down to the wire.
AFC Championship Game (see past results): New England Patriots 41, Baltimore Ravens 23
The Ray Lewis ERA ends Sunday night in Foxoboro. Thank God as well because I don't know if I could sit through two weeks of Harbaugh-vs-Harbaugh Super Bowl talk.
The difference in this game again is the QB play, and when this season is over and the Patriots are crowned champions we can finally put the who is the best QB of all time debate behind us. It will be Tom Brady without a question. The great thing about Brady is he has done this with a mix/match bunch of WRs. The one stat people don't talk about with Brady is his Pass/Int ratio. Brady is second all-time, just behind Aaron Rodgers, in this stat. When you don't turn the ball over, you win football games.
The one thing that is great about this year's Patriots team is that they don't need to rely on Brady to throw for 400 yards and four TDs like they did in years past. They have an actual rushing attack led by Stevan Ridley, who was seventh in the NFL in rushing this year.
Baltimore did beat New England earlier this season, but that won't happen again on Sunday. Joe Flacco looked great last week. I think Flacco moves into that next tier of QBs with guys like Tony Romo, but this week he will come up short.
Baltimore will need a minor miracle to win on Sunday.