Saturday, January 21, 2012

NFL Conf. Champ Previews

Greetings everyone... My apologies on the disappearance for the weekend... duty calls... but here we are to preview the big NFL Sunday...
  • Ravens @ Patriots (-7) - 3:00 CBS - This is the better game IMO. More storylines, better teams, and best QB. The Pats are the favorite in every respect as the #1 seed, but with the Pats having bowed out in an anything but graceful fashion the last two years, and the Ravens having success against them in the recent past, this is a matchup to watch. On the Baltimore side, I outright do not trust Joe Flacco at all, and for that reason, I can't possibly pick the Ravens on the road against a team quarterbacked by Tom Brady. It's that simple for me. I could talk about the Pats secondary issues all day, but against Joe Flacco, I think that'll be masked, and even if he has some limited success early, Belichick has shown in the 2nd half of games repeatedly this season that he makes the necessary adjustments. Oh, and did I mention Tom Brady plays quarterback for the Patriots? Give me the Pats.
  • Giants @ 49ers (-2.5) - 6:30 FOX - Doesn't it seem like everyone likes the Giants? Take this into consideration. The Giants were playing for their playoff lives on the final week of the regular season, and the Niners clinched a playoff spot in August it seems like, so the fact that the Giants are the "public" team here is scary. Eli Manning is playing the unquestioned best football of his career at this point, but the huge key for the Giants offense has been the re-emergence of their running game. Make no mistake, this is a pass-first team at this point, but having a healthy, productive duo in Bradshaw and Jacobs helps them. I firmly believe this game will come down to the Niners O-line vs. the Giants D-line. Alex Smith has played his best this season, and as much as it pains me, I actually believe he can win this game if he's given time in the pocket. That said, the Giants DL has been a total wrecking crew late in the season, and if they are in the face of Smith all night, I don't trust him to take care of the football. For the Niners to win, I think they need to play this game in the 20s, and their defense, coupled with their elite special teams, can probably keep it there. With a gun to my head, I'd pick the Niners at home because I generally don't trust the Giants to show up for the 4th straight week, but I am by no means convinced.
There it is. Enjoy the last weekend where you have multiple football games.

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