Jan 12, 2014; Charlotte, NC, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) celebrates a touchdown against the Carolina Panthers during the third quarter of the 2013 NFC divisional playoff football game at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

Ramblin’ Fan’s NFL Picks and Predictions: Championship Round


NFL Picks

Jan 12, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) throws against the San Diego Chargers during the 2013 AFC divisional playoff football game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

NFL Conference Championship weekend is upon us so it is time to make our NFL picks and predictions.  In the Divisional round we managed to go 4-0, but since the 4 best teams in the NFL are playing this weekend I imagine most people did.  This weekend we two great games which also each happen to be rematch from the regular season.  The TV network executives have to be very thrilled as I mentioned in last weeks article, “In fact the television networks are probably crossing their fingers that the way we have made our picks is exactly how they happen, a Seahawks vs. 49ers and Manning vs. Brady championship weekend would be huge for ratings.”, and football fans are in for a day of great football.  Let’s get right down to our NFL picks and predictions for the Conference Championship games. Thank you for reading and as always Go Rams!!!

New England Patriots @ Denver Broncos. The premier QB rivalry of the past 15 years gets at least one more chapter as Tom Brady and Peyton Manning square off for the 15th time and 4th time in the playoffs. The storylines on Brady v. Manning are so played out that we won’t bother going through them here. These are two very good teams who have each overcome a great deal of adversity throughout the 2013 NFL season, and managed to make it to the AFC title game. The offensive firepower and versatility from each of these teams is impressive, both teams having shown the ability to move the ball at will via the run or pass at different times this season. Each defense has suffered season ending injuries to key players, and yet still managed to do enough to compliment their future Hall of Fame quarterback. Manning put together the greatest regular season performance in NFL history, but can he finally channel regular season greatness into another Super Bowl title? Brady’s season may not have been the statistical marvel but his ability to keep the offense running with so many new pieces around him was impressive, can he keep pace with the most prolific offense in NFL history? Unfortunately this game may be decided as much by the star players we won’t be watching as anything else. Each of these teams has lost players who are considered among the NFL’s finest at their position, the team that best copes with those losses will be moving onto the Super Bowl. While the losses of Von Miller and Chris Harris on the Broncos defense could be factors, it is the loss of All-World tight end Rob Gronkowski earlier in the season that could impact this game the most. The Patriots managed to breeze past the Indianapolis Colts in the divisional round on the strength of their ground game, but the Colts possess the 26th ranked defense against the run versus the 8th ranked defense against the run that the Broncos will deploy Sunday. If the Patriots can’t impose their will on the Broncos in the running game their passing game may not be enough to keep pace with Manning and Co. as the Broncos defense showed they still possess a formidable pass rush without Miller. In what could be another instant classic the home team should build an early lead, and survive some of that famous Brady magic late for the win. Broncos win 35 – 28.

San Francisco 49ers @ Seattle Seahawks. In a matchup that almost seemed destined to happen prior to the start of the 2013 season, two NFC West powerhouses will square off for the right to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.  The news earlier this week that Percy Harvin would not be available is going to be a big factor in this game.  Without Harvin the Seahawks have no legitimate deep threat to prevent the 49ers from crowding the box in an attempt to slow Lynch.  If a defense can shut down the Seattle running game their offense struggles think Monday Night Football against the Rams.  The 49ers defense is more than capable of doing to the Seahawks what the Rams did on MNF, especially as their pass rush has really been heating up over the last 6 weeks or so.  If cornerback Carlos Rodgers returns for this game, he is listed as questionable, than the 49ers defense will have a distinct advantage over the Seahawks offense.  Unfortunately for 49ers fans the Seahawks defense is as good as it gets against the pass, so in order for the 49ers to find success they need to do it on the ground.  The Seahawks defense has given up some huge games against the run this season, but they have also been flat-out dominant at times.  The Seahawks defense can’t crowd the box to take away the power running game and leave their secondary in man coverage against the 49ers either, even though their secondary would likely hold up more often than not it would leave them exposed to big runs by Kaepernick.  Since Michael Crabtree has returned the 49ers offense has gotten better each week, as they now have one of the best inside out passing games in the NFL.  Vernon Davis can stretch the middle of the field as Crabtree takes the top off the defense.  That gives Anquan Boldin more room to operate on the short and intermediate routes where he thrives.  The 49ers have a solid argument as the best offensive line in the NFL, and they will need to play like it to open running lanes for Frank Gore and keep pressure off of Kaepernick.  When comparing these teams across the board I would be inclined to say the 49ers are going to have the advantage in a majority of the areas, the most notable exception being in the secondary with QB being a very debatable topic.  The biggest X-factor in this game is that it will be played in Seattle, where the 49ers have fallen flat each of the last two times they played there.  Of course the last time they played in Seattle there was no Crabtree and a very limited Vernon Davis, but Century Link field has been somewhat of a house of horrors for Jim Harbaugh’s team.  Like it or not the 49ers are the most complete team in the NFL and it looks like it should be enough for them to secure their second straight trip to the Superbowl.  49ers win 24 – 20.

2013 NFL Conference Championships

Pick

Patriots @ Broncos

Broncos

49ers @ Seahawks

49ers

Last Week

4-0

Overall Record

154-105

 

Tags: NFL Picks St. Louis Rams