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2014 NFL AFC/NFC Championship Picks

AFC-Championship-Logo1AFC Championship Game

New England @ Denver

Well we’ve seen this before. Once again Peyton Manning and Tom Brady will face off with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line. Only difference is the new location for Peyton as the Broncos are one win away from realizing the dream they installed when they signed Peyton. Of course the always resilient Tom Brady and the New England Patriots stand in their way in the matchup that we all wanted to see. In their first matchup this year it was a close victory by the Patriots that was a special teams mistake from being a possible tie after the Broncos blew a 24 point lead. This sundays entry into the Manning vs Brady story will be a close one as usual especially now that the Broncos defense has to pay extra attention to the Patriots running game after last week they ran all over the Colts. I think being so close to the promise land and after the disappointment last year the Broncos will reach the Super Bowl  beating the Patriots by a late field goal. Denver 31 New England 28

nfcNFC Championship Game

San Francisco @ Seattle

Similar to the AFC Championship Game, the NFC Championship Game has the matchup that we all wanted to see. The third meeting of the NFL’s newest, greatest rivalries, the Seahawks and the 49ers. This game has me torn. On one hand I picked the 49ers in the beginning of the year to win the NFC and go to the Super Bowl. On the other hand, I like the Seahawks this year more and of course the game is being played in Seattle with their crazy 12th man which will swing the game towards the Seahawks. The Seahawks need Russell Wilson to have a better game than he did against New Orleans and more like the previous match up this year at home against San Francisco, so I think he will have a great game and will lead the Seahawks to New York against the Broncos in the Super Bowl. Seattle 27 San Francisco 20

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Andrew’s Super Bowl XLVII Projections

SUPER BOWL 47
Super Bowl Sunday is finally upon us and it couldn’t have come quick enough. With all the non stop talk about the Harbaugh brothers matching up to Ray Lewis playing for the final time, its finally time to stop talking about it and let the play on the field speak for itself. But until then a little more talking.

The San Francisco 49ers enter the Super Bowl with a record of 11-4-1 after winning the NFC West title for the second year in a row. After last years disappointing NFC championship defeat to the eventual Super Bowl Champion New York Giants, the Niners return to their 6th Super Bowl with a record of 5-0 in their previous 5 appearances.

The Baltimore Ravens enter the big game with a record of 10-6 after winning the AFC North title in back to back years. Similar to the Niners, the Ravens avenged their heartbreaking loss last year to the New England Patriots in the AFC championship game by beating them convincingly in New England two weeks ago and return to their second Super Bowl in team history.

San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim and his brother, Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh (L), pose with family members during their joint press conference ahead of the NFL's Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans

A good Super Bowl has to have good story lines to keep the conversation going during the weeks before it and this one has plenty of backdrop. This game has been named the “Harbowl” by many because of the coaching matchup between the San Francisco head coach Jim Harbaugh and the Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh. This being the first time in NFL history two brothers will be coaching against each other in the Super Bowl. Another big story heading into the game will be the final appearance of Ray Lewis in a NFL game. The sure fire hall of famer will end his 17 year career sunday trying to win his second Super Bowl and ride off into the sunset in the most perfect way possible. Another future hall member who will try to get his first Lombardi trophy will be Randy Moss, playing in his second and possibly last Super Bowl, knows he does not have many years left so he must make the most of this opportunity.

Colin Kaepernick leads the high powered Niners offense that has been firing on all cylinders this postseason into the big game to face Lewis and the Ravens always tough defense in one of the big match-ups this sunday. Kaepernick will shine on the big stage as he has done all year while in games and help the Niners get the lead early. His natural athleticism will cause countless problems for the Ravens defense throughout the game but the Ravens will fight back.

One big question mark for the Ravens seemingly all year has been quarterback Joe Flacco. After a shaky regular season, Joe showed critics he could deal by throwing 8 touchdown passes while not throwing a single interception this postseason, beating Indianapolis, Denver, and New England. Joe will make a early mistake that the 49ers will capitalise on and take the lead early. Joe will bounce back with the help of running back Ray Rick and keep up with Kaepernick.

One playmaker that I believe will be a big difference maker will be 49ers running back Frank Gore. With all of the attention seemingly on Kaepernick, Frank will not have the defense watching him all game, giving him opportunities to make big plays for the 49ers. Expect Frank to find the endzone a few times on sunday.

The Niners offense will exploit the Ravens defense’s flaws to take a early but the Ravens who have been riding on the will of Ray Lewis for the postseason. Joe Flacco will get the Ravens close at halftime with the help of wide recievers Torrey Smith and Anquan Boldin. The game will stay close with each team trading possessions till the Niners take a double digit lead. The Ravens will fight back and make the game close late, but the Niners strong defense lead by Aldon Smith and Patrick Willis will shut the Ravens offense down and hold on to the lead for good. The San Francisco 49ers will win their 6th Super Bowl trophy and end Ray Lewis’s magical last ride. Frank Gore will get the MVP and the Niners will return to the top of the NFL.

super-bowl

San Francisco 27 Baltimore 20

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Andrew’s NFL Championship Round Picks

AFC-Championship-Pats-Ravens1
AFC Championship Game

Baltimore @ New England

The Patriots and the Ravens meet once again in a rematch of last years memorable AFC Championship Game where the Ravens had the Super Bowl in their hands and dropped it. Now they return this year to fight for the same prize, but on the Ravens side they have a little more inspiration then they have had in previous years. Now that the Super Bowl is in site, Ray Lewis in his final year will be pushing even harder (if that was even possible) to get back to the big game where he won his first ring over a decade ago. On the other sideline is another great to play the game, Tom Brady. He leads the Patriots back to the AFC Championship game where now it seems like a given every year. After last years tough loss to the Giants in the Super Bowl, the Patriots want redemption this year. Tom Brady will get the Patriots offense moving over the Ravens Defense to get out to a lead but the Ravens will find a way to get it close. The Patriots will pull away late and return to the Super Bowl. New England 27 Baltimore 20.

NFC-Championship

NFC Championship Game

San Francisco @ Atlanta

Speaking of teams returning to the Championship weekend, the San Francisco 49ers return after their own heartache last year. This year, lead by red hot QB Colin Kaepernick, the Niners have returned to the Championship game to extract a bit of revenge from the loss last year to the Giants. Playing the “Giants” this year will be the Atlanta Falcons who got their illusive playoff win last week by blowing a lead to the Seattle Seahawks and just getting it back to squeak out a win and advance. Speaking of future hall of famers who’s last ride will be this year, Tony Gonzalez has just about said he will hang up his cleats after this postseason and this is the farthest he has ever gone in the postseason. The Niners, after dismantling the Packers last week, will start fast against the Falcons but the Falcons will counter and the game will be close throughout. The Niners will score late and face off with the Patriots in the Super Bowl. San Francisco 31 Atlanta 28.

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Andrew’s NFL Divisional Round Picks

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Baltimore @ Denver
This is the reason why Denver brought in Peyton Manning, to win these deep postseason games and take the Broncos back to the super bowl. Peyton has already silenced all of his critics who didn’t believe he could play at his normal level again and now he must perform in the postseason to continue his magical season. One player standing in his way is Ray Lewis who in all likelihood is playing in his last game. Denver’s offense will pick apart the Raven defense and end the career of one of the best to play in the NFL. Denver 31 Baltimore 17.

Houston @ New England
Let’s all hope this will be a more competitive game than the week 14 beat down the Patriots put on the Texans. It should be after the Texans win last week over the Bengals and the added extra inspiration from the Boston Globe. However I still think the better team will win and that team is the Patriots. The Patriots offense needs to push around the Texans stout defense and possible defensive MVP J.J. Watt. The Patriots win, closer than the previous matchup, but still advance to the AFC Championship game in Denver. New England 27 Houston 14.

Seattle @ Atlanta
If Atlanta can’t win a playoff game at home this year, they may never. But they picked the worst matchup possible with the red hot Seahawks. It seems like the same story just about every year Atlanta is a top seed. They have a week off and play a low seed who is playing their best football and Atlanta plays flat and gets knocked out. They just can’t lose again. Matt Ryan will finally play a complete postseason game and the Falcons will eek out that illusive playoff win. Atlanta 20 Seattle 17.

Green Bay @ San Francisco
By far my favorite matchup of the weekend, the Packers vs the 49ers just has that classic game feel to it. This will be the first postseason game for the Niners electric young QB Colin Kaepernick and it will be interesting to see how he handles the moment. The Green Bay D will have to contain Kaepernick if they want a chance to win. The Packers offense will have to compete with the Niners always tough defense led by Aldon Smith. I will take Aaron Rodgers and the Packers to beat Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers and advance to the NFC Championship game. Green Bay 28 San Francisco 24.

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Andrew’s 2012 NFL Projections

2012 NFL Projections

AFC

East

1. New England (1)

2. Buffalo (6)

3. NY Jets

4. Miami

North

1. Baltimore (2)

2. Pittsburgh

3. Cincinnati

4. Cleveland

South

1. Houston (4)

2. Tennessee

3. Indianapolis

4. Jacksonville

West

1. Denver (3)

2. San Diego (5)

3. Kansas City

4. Oakland

NFC

East

1. Philadelphia (3)

2. NY Giants

3. Dallas

4. Washington

North

1. Green Bay (1)

2. Chicago (5)

3. Detroit

4. Minnesota

South

1. Atlanta (4)

2. New Orleans (6)

3. Carolina

4. Tampa Bay

West

1. San Francisco (2)

2. Seattle

3. St. Louis

4. Arizona

Playoffs

AFC Wild Card

(3) Denver 38, (6) Buffalo 17

(5) San Diego 24, (4) Houston 19

NFC Wild Card

(3) Philadelphia 28, (6) New Orleans 20

(5) Chicago 20, (4) Atlanta 17

AFC Divisional Round

(1) New England 32, (5) San Diego 20

(3) Denver 27, (2) Baltimore 16

NFC Divisional Round

(1) Green Bay 38, (5) Chicago 31

(2) San Francisco 20, (3) Philadelphia 10

AFC Championship Game

(1) New England 23, (3) Denver 20

NFC Championship Game

(1) Green Bay 28, (2) San Francisco 24

Super Bowl

Green Bay 31, New England 28

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Handicapping Peyton Manning’s Possible Destination

It looks as though Peyton Manning is heading out the door in Indianapolis in the near future with the next new young Quarterback coming down the pipe, *cough Andrew Luck cough*, and where he might land is up in the air. Just about every team in the NFL would have to look at their Quarterback situation if and when Peyton becomes available in the free agent market whether or not they already have a Quarterback in place. He is just that good when he is healthy. The problem is no one really knows if he is healthy enough to return to his MVP caliber play. Is he worth the risk? We will find out in the future but even if those doubts many teams will line up to talk to Peyton and possibly wear another uniform other than the Colts.

Miami Dolphins- 2/1

This matchup two times a year?

Miami has been searching for the player to fill the shoes that Dan Marino left behind and for more than 10 years now they havent come close. Falling behind the Patriots and the Jets in the AFC East the Dolphins need a leader of the offense that has at times been non existant. Miami has talent already in an effort to woo Manning with WR Brandon Marshall, RB Reggie Bush, and Lineman Jake Long which can make the difference for Peyton who wants another chance at a Super Bowl ring before hes done. The idea of playing rival Tom Brady and the New England Patriots two times a year may be intriguing for Manning as well.

Washington Redskins- 3/1

Being in the NFC East and playing against Eli Manning, Tony Romo, and Michael Vick, the Redskins know the importants of having a great Quarterback or in their case not having one. Obviously the combination of Rex Grossman and John Beck did not work at all last year and they need a change. With the 6th pick in the draft this year they have a chance of drafting a QB with Robert Griffin III as a possibility as the future. Washington has a habit of shelling out a lot of money for players whether they deserve it or not so Washington would not surprise me as a home for Peyton.

New York Jets- 4/1

Could you imagine the media explosion that would happen if both Eli and Peyton were both playing in New York? One of the major things holding the Jets back from taking the next step to the Super Bowl has been the play at Quarterback. Mark Sanchez has not grown and progressed as much as the Jets had hoped for and his time is running out. Watching the success of the Giants this year could push the Jets to make a drastic move to get the spotlight back on them. However if they make their aspiration of acquiring Manning public particularly to Sanchez and do not get him, they could ruin the psyche of the young, shaky QB for good.

Arizona Cardinals- 5/1

We saw this type of situation happen a few years back with the Cardinals and Kurt Warner. The success that they had together lead all the way to the Super Bowl which is where Peyton would kill to get back to. Playing in a dome similar to the domes he played in with Indy, the warm weather and airing deep balls out to Larry Fitzgerald would make Arizona a tempting destination for Peyton. But the Cardinals already have Kevin Kolb as their possible QB for the future and spending time behing one of the best all time wouldn’t be the worst thing for Kolb.

Seattle Seahawks- 5/1

Similar to the Cardinals, the Seahawks are looking for a QB who can bring the franchise back to the Super Bowl and Manning may be the guy. Seattle made a bit of a run towards the playoffs late last season and look to ride that momentum into the 2012 season and would like a QB to help out. Tarvaris Jackson did not have a bad year last year but he has never really been taken seriously as a franchise Quarterback here or in Minnesota. Seattle has a solid young team that could make a splash with a big offer to Manning and surprise everyone.

San Francisco 49ers- 8/1

Keeping up with the run of NFC West teams how about the defending division champs. Before last season the Niners would be one of the frontrunners for Peyton but after the success and turnaround of Alex Smith makes this decision a lot tougher. Smith earned his money last year putting up his best year as a professional leading the Niners one fumble away from the Super Bowl, earning the trust of the 49ers and their fans. But with Smith a free agent now the move could be made for Peyton. With Smith the team almost made the Super Bowl, imagine how far the team could go with Peyton at the helm.

Baltimore Ravens- 10/1

For some reason the trust in Joe Flacco has disappeared in Baltimore. Even though he has lead the Ravens deep in the playoffs every year he has been in the league, the Ravens and their fans are losing faith in the young QB. Flacco has almost lead the Ravens to the Super Bowl so bringing in Peyton could put them over the top just like the Niners. Knowing this I wouldn’t put it past them to make an offer to Peyton giving him probably his best chance at a Super Bowl he will have on this list.

Denver Broncos- 15/1

If anyone can silence Tebow Time, it is Peyton Manning. I am still not sold on Tebow at all and I am sure that John Elway and the Broncos organization are not either. Even though Tebow lead the Broncos to a 7-4 finish after a 1-4 start and winning the AFC West, he was just about useless throwing the ball for the first 3 and a half quarters relying on the defense to keep them in the game. You cant win in the NFL like that for long. Bringing Peyton in could open the Broncos playbook a lot more than Tebow can and expand the offense much more. The Broncos might take some heat from the fans for benching their boy, but getting Manning even for a few years could really make the Broncos a great team.

Other Longshot Teams- Houston Texans, Tennessee Titans, Minnesota Vikings, and Cleveland Browns.

Funny thing about all of this is that Manning and the Colts could resolve their problems and stay with each other. We will all have to wait and see what their decision about each of their futures will be, because their decision will impact the entire NFL for years to come.

by: Andrew Isaac

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NFL Pro Bowl Predictions

  • The game will be utterly meaningless and pointless
  • Tim Tebow’s name will be mentioned no less than 15 times
  • The Twitter station will be the most exciting part of the game
  • The game will break down into a 7 on 7 drill.
  • Both teams will top 100 points
  • The lineman will not even touch each other
  • Aaron Rodgers and the rest of the Packers will slap on a fake smile even though they are dead inside
  • Ditto for Ravens and 49ers players
  • Matt Forte will score 2 touchdowns and the Bears will let him go
  • A old washed up singer no one cares about will perform at halftime
  • NBC will promote the hell out of their unwatchable TV shows because this time is cheaper than the Super Bowl
  • There will be no Buffalo Bills players playing again.
  • Drew Brees will throw for over 700 yards
  • The defenses will give up and go lay on the beach after the first half
  • NFC will beat the AFC 120 to 107
  • I will not watch

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