Bold Predictions: Conference Championships

While it hurt to watch the Seahawks get the boot from the playoffs, I think I may have finally reached the final stage of grief: acceptance. There is still plenty of good football to watch this weekend. Let’s get to it.

NFC

Seahawks v. Panthers: It was rough day for the 12s, but the Hawks kept us on the edge of our seats until the last possession. The first half was disappointing, to say the least. The Panthers dominated. Nobody could protect Russell Wilson. 31-0 at halftime…seemingly impossible for the Hawks to claw their way back into it.

But, the rally and near comeback were impressive nonetheless. I strongly believe if the Hawks had 60 more seconds, they’d be playing in Arizona this weekend.

 There was a ton of hype and chatter coming into this game. The Hawks delivered too little too late. Perhaps most teams would give up being down by 31 points at halftime. Not the Seahawks, this team has gumption.

This week, Richard Sherman said there is a lot to look forward to with this team. They’re special with a great core of veterans and promising young talent. Good luck keeping them out of the playoffs for the next five seasons. They will certainly be a fun team to watch. 

Packers v. Cardinals: Way more entertaining and closer than many thought it would be. It came down to the end. The game should have ended in the fourth quarter. Instead of playing coverage the Cardinals decided to blitz. And Aaron Rodgers made them pay. I don’t think any other quarterback can make the throws he did on that drive. Lucky for Arizona, Green Bay never had the chance to hold the ball in overtime, thanks to Larry Fitzgerald. 

Cardinals v. Panthers Bold Prediction: The aggressive play calling by Bruce Arians will exploit the banged up Carolina secondary. Arizona’s offensive line will protect Carson Palmer, and their defense will swallow up their rushing game, and punish Cam Newton. After being shutout in the second half against the Seahawks, the Panthers will be licking their wounds this whole game. 

AFC

Chiefs v. Patriots: As much as I hate to say it, the Patriots look great. Tom Brady got the ball out so fast that he neutralized the Chiefs outstanding pass rush. Alex Smith struggled to keep up with the pace of the Patriots offense. Andy Reid and Alex Smith really mismanaged the clock on the final drive. When your down two scores, you don’t use eight minutes in one drive, you must be more conscious. 

Steelers v. Broncos. The Broncos offense was pretty to watch, but the Steelers really missed their playmakers. Team leader “Big Ben” Roethlisberger was playing hurt. They were forced to take too many field goals when they need touchdowns. Their rookie running back had a costly fumble late in the game against, sealing the deal. 

Now onto Manning v. Brady…the farewell tour

Broncos v. Patriots: I picked Denver last week, but not this week. The Patriots will outscore the Broncos. Quarterback Peyton Manning simply won’t be able to keep up. Manning has thrown an interception in every game he’s been named the starter this season. That doesn’t bode well when you have the potent offense on the opposing sideline. Look for Brady and his two favorites, Gronk & Edelman, to rip into the Broncos.

Jordan Slagle is Boundary Bay’s Resident Football Analyst. He is an avid football fan and appeared in three of the past four Super Bowls in Boundary Bay’s Fantasy Football League.

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