Thursday, 18 January 2007

NFL Conference Championship Predictions

After a great round of Divisional Playoff games, we are down to 4 teams left vying for the Vince Lombardi trophy. In one matchup we have familiar foes squaring off against each other, and in the other game we have a couple of new faces to the conference title game. Here’s a quick preview of each game:

NFC – New Orleans Saints @ Chicago Bears
It’s a classic offense vs. defense matchup. The Saints have a potent, well balanced attack that will be countered by a fast, smart Bears defense. But as has been the case with the Bears this year, this game will really come down to Rex Grossman. As long as he’s average the Bears have a great shot to just rely on the defense and special teams. However, average has sometimes been a tough task for Rex this year. In over a quarter of the Bears games this year Grossman has posted a QB rating under 40… do that again, and New Orleans will be the team advancing to the Super Bowl. He put together an average performance last week, but can he do it again?

Prediction: I’m not quite sold on Grossman. The Seahawks were unable to consistently put pressure on Grossman last week, but I think the Saints will be better in that area, and when Grossman is pressured he makes lots of mistakes. I think the Bears defense will keep them in the game, but ultimately New Orleans will be one step closer to reaching the ultimate goal SAINTS 27-20.

AFC – New England Patriots @ Indianapolis Colts
Raise your hand if you’ve seen this one before. But even after all the games over the years, Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady never really gets old. Both QBs struggled a bit last week, but both teams came out victorious. Surprisingly, Peyton Manning has put together two subpar games, but the Colts defense has carried them. For the Patriots, the Chargers did all they could to hand New England the game last week, and Tom Brady took it at the end. He will need to be better this week if the Pats want to advance to the Super Bowl again.

Prediction: Past performance does not predict future results, but I think it can help. That gets me back to thinking to the game earlier this season when the Patriots were defenseless stopping the Colts aerial attack. It’s hard to go against Belicheck and Brady in the playoffs, but in the Dome in Indy, I like the Colts to finally get over the hump against the Patriots in the playoffs. COLTS 34-31.

Who are your picks for the games?