Playoff picks – Championship games

Final four teams still have a change to advance to this year’s Super Bowl in Indianapolis. Here are my picks for AFC and NFC Championship game.

Baltimore Ravens (13-4) @ New England Patriots (14-3), Sunday 3:00 PM (ET)

     

Stats That Matter

Scoring Offense: Patriots (3rd) over Ravens (12th)
Scoring Defense: Ravens (3rd) over Patriots (15th)
Scoreability Index: Patriots (4th) over Ravens (8th)
Bendability Index: Patriots (2nd) over Ravens (8th)
Passer Rating Diff.: Patriots (4th) over Ravens (8th)
Rusher Rating Diff.: Ravens (4th) over Patriots (7th)

Prediction 

This should be a great game between the No.1 seed New England Patriots who have outstanding offense and No.2 seed Baltimore Ravens with a great defense. The last time this two teams met in the playoffs was in 2009 season in a Wild Card playoff game, Baltimore won that game 33-14. Last weekend Patriots really impressed with a convincing win over the Broncos in divisional round, not so much the Ravens who had a lot more problems with Texans, but they managed to take advantage of Houston’s turnovers. This game could also come down to turnover battle, who wins that battle probably wins this one. It will be interesting to see how will Baltimore try to defend New England’s air-attack. They have the pass rush abilities to disrupt Tom Brady but I don’t think that they can completely shut down Patriots’ passing game. On the other hand Patriots have been opportunistic on defense and I can see them having success against Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco. Ravens will have success running the ball against New England’s but in the end it won’t be enough, Patriots advance to Super Bowl for the first time since 2007 season.

Moneyline: Patriots 27-24
Against The Spread: Ravens (+7.5)
Over/Under: Over 50.5




New York Giants (11-7) @ San Francisco 49ers (14-3), Sunday 6:30 PM (ET)

     

Stats That Matter

Scoring Offense: Giants (9th) over 49ers (11th)
Scoring Defense: 49ers (2nd) over Giants (25th)
Scoreability Index: 49ers (2nd) over Giants (18th)
Bendability Index: 49ers (1st) over Giants (21st)
Passer Rating Diff.: 49ers (6th) over Giants (12th)
Rusher Rating Diff.: 49ers (1st) over Giants (13th)

Prediction 

San Francisco 49ers will be playing in a NFC championship game for the first time since 1997 season. For the Giants this will be their first championship game after their 2007 Super Bowl season.  New York Giants travel to San Francisco for the second time this season, in Week 10 of the regular season, 49ers defense managed to stop the Giants’ offense late in the 4th quarter. But since then the Giants improved on both sides of the ball, especially on defense where they got some key players back from their injuries. Unlike the Saints, New York Giants are used to play in bad-weather conditions and it could be rainy and muddy at the ‘Stick this weekend. That’s why I think this game could end up being a defensive battle. Niners have a better all-around defense, but the Giants also proved they can put pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Like many other games, this one will again be decided at the line of scrimmage. Hopefully 49ers D-line can slow down QB Eli Manning and his wide receivers, especially Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz. It will be difficult for the 49ers to come up with a win, but again I have no intention to pick against my favorite team. 

Moneyline: 49ers 24-20
Against The Spread: 49ers (-2.5)
Over/Under: Over 41.5

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