Friday, January 17, 2014

Championship Game Look Ahead

We're two days away from Sunday and thus two days away from the NFC & AFC Championship games.

Patriots vs. Broncos

Starting up first is Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning in the AFC Championship game. The Patriots took care of business against the Colts and showed that they are capable of winning playoff games even if Tom Brady does not do the heavy lifting. The Broncos beat the Chargers on Sunday but didn't look that great doing it. One could argue that the CBS pregame show was more entertaining than parts of the Broncos-Chargers game.

I was watching the Panthers-49ers game with Heather and Zeplen. We switched over to CBS immediately after that game ended and we got treated to a couple of unintentional comedy moments. The first one was in studio where they were debating Peyton Manning's legacy due to his lack of playoff success. Shannon Sharpe eventually starts going on a rant about how quarterbacks need to win multiple Super Bowls to help their reputation. Meanwhile, Dan Marino is just sitting there getting angrier by the minute and appears to be holding back everything not to scream on national television.

Then, they go to Denver where Phil Simms is calling the game and they continue the discussion regarding Peyton Manning. About 15 seconds later, a gust of wind blows up and knocks what appears to be a toupee out of place. Before the game started, they were showing Phil Simms and Jim Nantz and Nantz talks about how the wind is "already a story" and Simms was sitting there looking very uncomfortable.

I'm picking the Patriots to win this one. Quite frankly, they look like more of a complete team and when in doubt in a playoff game, i've gotta go with Tom Brady over Peyton Manning. Like the last couple weeks, I did a one-off simulation of the remaining teams on whatifsports.com. The computers disagree with me heavily as they picked the Broncos to win in a landslide (37-12).

My Pick: Patriots
What If Pick: Broncos

49ers vs. Seahawks

The 49ers may not be blowing away their playoff opposition. However, they've won on the road twice which has got to count for something. In the Packers game, they made enough plays at the right time to win and the Panthers game they were helped immensely by several dumb penalties that extended 49ers drives and allowed them to put additional points on the board.

The Seahawks got the win as expected over the Saints but they didn't dominate them they way they did back in December. Still, they have one of the strongest (if not the strongest) home field advantage in the NFL. The 49ers have already gotten blown out once in Seattle but I don't think Jim Harbaugh lets them get completely embarrassed again. While I think this game will be closer & VERY hard fought, I still think the Seahawks make it to the Super Bowl.

With this pick, the what if simulation I did agrees with my prediction. We'll be talking about this game for a long time if this game is even half as good as what if sports is leading me to believe (and would immensely help Russel Wilson's legacy).

In the whatifsports.com simulation, Boldin scores a 7 yd touchdown to give the 49ers a 24-20 lead with 6:54 left. Things are at a standstill until the Seahawks get the ball at their own 13 with 1:40 left. At that point, Wilson leads the Seahawks down the field and throws a game winning touchdown to Doug Baldwin as time expires.

My Pick: Seahawks
What If Pick: Seahawks

Super Bowl:

My Pick: Patriots over Seahawks
What If Pick: Broncos 26 Seahawks 10
Superbowl MVP: Knowshon Moreno