NFC/AFC Championship Game Picks

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from TexasPat. Show TexasPat's posts

    NFC/AFC Championship Game Picks

         Folks, after listening to all the accolades showered upon that wonderful human being, Ray Lewis, and all the trash talk coming from the beaks of the Buzzards, and the "good people" of Buzzardsville, Sunday can't get here fast enough for me. Hopefully, the Patriots' to a man feel the same way, and will respond appropriately Sunday evening. This ridiculous article listing 52 reasons (after Ray-Ray's #52, of course) why the Ravens should win the SB was the final straw for me:  http://www.baltimoresun.com/entertainment/bthesite/bs-b-ravens-super-bowl-reasons-pg,0,3852112.photogallery

         Here are my picks:

    1.) (12-4-1) San Francisco 49ers @ (14-3) Atlanta Falcons (+3.5):  San Francisco should be favored by the 9.5 points that the Pats are favored by, over the Ravens. The 49ers appear to be the best team in the NFC, after an impressive late season win over the Patriots in Foxborough, and after squashing the somewhat Patriot-like Green Bay Packers, 45-31 last week, in the divisional round of the play-offs. In this playoff round, San Francisco also caught a huge break, when Atlanta scored a last second FG to dispose of the very physical Seattle Seahawks at the wire, 30-28. The Falcons have had trouble with mobile, running QBs all season. Carolina's Cam Newton gave the Falcons' "D' fits twice...and we all saw how much trouble they had with Seattle's Russell Wilson last week. 49ers' QB Colin Kaepernick is the same type of player. I can't see the low-pressure Atlanta front seven providing much opposition. That said, the Falcons can score. But, the 49er "D" is one of the top units in the game, and should be able to shut down any semblance of an Atlanta running game. Look for the Falcons' offense to become one dimensional, and for turnovers and sacks to follow: PICK: 49ers;

    2.) (12-6) Baltimore Buzzards (+9.5) @ (13-4) New England Patriots: Really...a 9.5 point spread?? Why so huge a spread, when everybody knows that the Patriots were extremely lucky to beat the Ravens last year in 2012 AFC Title game, 23-20. Just ask any Buzzards' player, or any fan from Buzzardsville, and they'll tell you. Heck, didn't the lovable Ravens also beat the Pats early in the season, 31-30...in a game that really wasn't as close as the score indicates. Don't take my word for it, ask any Buzzards' player, or any fan from Buzzardsville, and they'll tell you. Heck, there's 52 reasons why the Ravens will win the SB!! Just go ask any Buzzards; player, or any fan from Buzzardsville, and they'll tell you! Why then the big spead? It's there due to the respect that Vegas and the media begrudgingly have for what Tom Brady, BB, and the New England franchise has accomplished, over the past decade. But. past glories do not win future football, games. So...lets take an objective look at both teams, and some of the match-ups:

    QB: Joe Flacco v. Tom Brady: Flacco seemingly always plays well against the Patriots. Though he may not be as cerebral in the art of reading defenses as his far more celebrated and decorated counterpart, he's capable. Flacco throws a great deep ball, and, of late, has done a better job of distributing the ball to all of his receivers, including his TEs, and star RB, Ray Rice. As for Tom Terrific, we already know what he's about. Even without Gronk, if he's given ample time to work, there's no one better;

    OLs: This is where Sunday's game will be decided. As stated above, if the Patriots' OL can provide Tom Brady with a clean pocket, and get enough push on running plays to make play-action passing effective, the Pats will win. The same holds true for the Ravens' OL. If both OLs do their jobs well, the game will deterioate into a shoot-out;

    DL: Haloti Ngata v. Vince Wilfolk: Ngata supposedly is playing with a bad knee and a sore shoulder. Yet, you'd never know it. He's one of, if not the best run defender in the game. Last year, Vince Wilfolk played the finest game of his career against the Ravens, in the 2012 AFC Title game. He was the man most responsible for the Pats' 23-20 win. Job One against the Ravens is to contain RB Ray Rice. In the 2009 play-offs, the Pats were unable to do that, and were crushed, 33-14.              

    LBs: Ray Lewis v. Brandon Spikes, Jerod Mayo, and Dont'a Hightower: Here's where the Pats hold a distinct advantage. Despite his reputation, Lewis is 37 years old, and playing with a sore elbow. He and the relatively slow Baltimore LB corp will have lots of trouble dealing with bubble screens, and Danny Woodhead, Shane Vereen, and Stevan Ridley, coming out of the backfield. The Pats' young LB corp should have Wilfolk's back on running plays...although dealing with Rice coming out of the backfield is always a chore;

    TEs and WRs:  Here, with Gronk out, I see the Ravens holding a distinct advantage. The Pats have nobody to compare with Ravens' deep threat, Torrey Smith. His big play ability must be respected, and defended. Thus, it will be largely up  to the Pats' front seven to deal with the dangerous Ray Rice. Anquan Boldin has had a resurgence of late. His play will somewhat match the effectiveness of the wily Wes Welker. Jacoby Jones is a pro-bowl kick returner, and another deep threat WR...as the Broncos learned, much to their chagrin, last week. At TE, it's largely Aaron Hernandez, v. Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson. Though Henandez is a far more dynamic receiver, the Ravens' TE duo are dependable, and help move the chains.

    KICK RETURN Game: A huge edge for Baltimore, with the dangerous Jacoby Jones returning kick-offs. The Pats' have been vunerable in this area of play, of late. You may recall that, after the Pats' made that stirring comeback from a 31-3 deficit to tie the 49ers at 31, that a 61 yard kick-off return by rookie LaMichael James did them in. Last week against the Texans, what should have been a blow-out win was a bit suspenseful, due to the Pats inability to contain kickoff returner Danieal Manning...who returned 3 kicks for 94, 69, and 35 yards (plus a 15 yard penalty for a TD saving horse-collar tackle). This is extremely disconcerting...and bears watching. If this problem isn't fixed come Sunday, it could be a long evening indeed for the Boys in Blue. In addition, the Texans were nearly successful in blocking a punt last week. Might the Ravens attempt the same thing?

    SECONDARY: The addition of CB Aqib Talib has solidified the Patriots' secondary. With Devin McCourty now free to roam in centerfield, there's been far fewer big plays against the Pats' "D". Though old, Ed Reid can still play. We all hate Bernard Pollard, but the guy is good in run support, and a physical presence in the middle of the field. Still, the addition of Talib, and the subtraction of star CB Lardarius Webb from the Ravens due to injury pretty much even things out.

    RBs: Ray Rice v. Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley: The sum of Vereen and Ridley might be at least equal to Ray Rice...although Rice is a true breakaway threat.

    Coaching: John Harbaugh and Assts. v. BB and Assts: Though I don't like either of the Harbaughs, I respect them. They're both great coaches. Still, there's only one BB. Edge, Patriots.

         In summary, the Pats must avoid special teams' breakdowns, and a slow start. The key turnover loses. It should be a fairly tight, taunt game, won by the Patriots. But, likely not by 10 points or more. See y'all in New Orleans!!!    

     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from pats-fan-2007. Show pats-fan-2007's posts

    Re: NFC/AFC Championship Game Picks

    Welker and Lloyd had far and away better 2012 than Smith and Boldin.

    Hernandez is much better than Pitta and Dickson.

     

    Don't know how you conclude advantage Ravens there.

     
  3. This post has been removed.

     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from Pats-bilbo. Show Pats-bilbo's posts

    Re: NFC/AFC Championship Game Picks

    I actually think the key to the "closeness" of the score on this game is the Ravens D. Ravens D is old. Suggs, Lewis and Reid are old. They have played a lot of plays in the last 3 weeks (including last game of season) have had to ride emotion and have played in high altitude. They have riden the "Ray is retiring" train twice now. Can they even make it on that train again? If Ravens D is , tired or slow, they will get beat bad. Pats up tempo "gimick" O with young running backs and smart quick receivers and of course Tom pulling the strings will make them look like the Texans looked last week, confused and out of position. I can definately see the D wilting by mid third quarter and not being able to pull off the "break thru" plays they need to come back.

    The Ravens O has a lot of young fast receivers and our D is vulnerable to the big play, we have gotten better but we are still vulnerable. Ray Rice running 4-5 yards an attempt is not as back breaking as 20-40 yard pass plays, look for BB to take this away from them. Flacco likes to throw to his right and is less likely to throw to the left, if this does not change, look for the Pats to sit on this and take it away.

    This game comes down to EXECUTION if the Pats execute they win. If they don't it will come down to a big play one way or the other and I will be screaming at the TV all day .......

     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from TexasPat. Show TexasPat's posts

    Re: NFC/AFC Championship Game Picks

    In response to pats-fan-2007's comment:

    Welker and Lloyd had far and away better 2012 than Smith and Boldin.

    RESPONSE: I think you're selling the Ravens' WRs short. Smith is a legitimate home run threat. Lloyd is not. I'd take Smith over Lloyd in a heartbeat. Welker is a special talent...but Boldin has been a top possession receiver for years too...and has recently come on. Yoy neglected to mention Jacoby Jones, the Ravens' #3 WR. The Pats' #3 guy is Deion Branch. Edge to the Ravens.  

    Hernandez is much better than Pitta and Dickson.

    RESPONSE: Gronk and Hernandez are much better. But, now it's just Hernandez. Pitta and Dickson are a good pair, and both are better blockers than Hernandez...whose more of a WR than a true TE.

    Don't know how you conclude advantage Ravens there.

    RESPONSE: My opinion. I obviously have a higher opinion of the Ravens' receiving talent than you do.




     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from GoUconn13. Show GoUconn13's posts

    Re: NFC/AFC Championship Game Picks

    Just think that if Pats want to beat the Ravens, Pats got to continue the way they have been playing at the same time they cant just give up couple big plays by the Ravens.  Ravens rely alot of big plays!!

     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from TexasPat. Show TexasPat's posts

    Re: NFC/AFC Championship Game Picks

    In response to GoUconn13's comment:

    Just think that if Pats want to beat the Ravens, Pats got to continue the way they have been playing at the same time they cant just give up couple big plays by the Ravens.  Ravens rely alot of big plays!!



         Right you are. They feed on big plays and turnovers. To win, the Pats must eliminate both.

     

     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from Iceman4. Show Iceman4's posts

    Re: NFC/AFC Championship Game Picks

    flags and refs might impact game also.......Pats need to execute......but also play a "clean" game.

     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from agcsbill. Show agcsbill's posts

    Re: NFC/AFC Championship Game Picks

    By the way, the majority of writers over on the Baltimore Sun pick the Pats....  emotion aside for #52 and the 52 reasons the Ravens will win.

     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from themightypatriots. Show themightypatriots's posts

    Re: NFC/AFC Championship Game Picks

    In response to TexasPat's comment:

       It should be a fairly tight, taunt game, won by the Patriots. 



    Welcome to the Ostrich Society

     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from anonymis. Show anonymis's posts

    Re: NFC/AFC Championship Game Picks

    IMO, both the offense, defense, and ST will need to try to step up their game and the coaches better have a good game plan.

    I expect that the Ravens will try to keep the pressure on Brady for as much of the game as possible.  If their overly aggressive, the Patriots will need to run the ball and incorporate some screens to try to keep the Raven defense honest.  They will have to lengthen the field by taking a shot or two downfield - BUT Brady still has to protect the ball.  The Patriots can ill afford to turn the ball over.

    With Jones injured, the other linemen will have to get after Flacco once in a while. Stop Rice from getting many running yards. It'll be interesting to see if Flacco uses some screen passes to Rice like the Texans did with Foster. CBs need to be aggressive. Hopefully, Talib can be aggressive and limit Smith.

    Hard to say if it will be a shootout, low scoring game, or a blowout by either team. Turnovers may dictate the game.

     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from darwk. Show darwk's posts

    Re: NFC/AFC Championship Game Picks

    Just gotta say- really like your reference to the fan base for Ravens as Buzzardsville. That's where I'm gonna have to watch the game on Sunday.  Should be fun...

     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from TFB12. Show TFB12's posts

    Re: NFC/AFC Championship Game Picks

    In week 3 the Pats were up 13-0 after the first qtr.  Need to turn those fg's into TD's and play 4 qtrs of football.  No prevent defense.  Play like it's 0-0 through the entire game!

     

    My Picks:

    49'ers by 17

    Patriots by 13

     
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from 56redsox. Show 56redsox's posts

    Re: NFC/AFC Championship Game Picks

    I Like The Pats 38-17, Limited Cheap Penaltys, Turnover Free Game, And Exacute....

     

    I Will Take Atlanta 31-24, Falcons Have Beat The 9ers 8 Straight Times, It Will Be 9 After Sunday

    The GA Dome Is One Loud Place, I Dont See QB CK Runing Wild This Weekend..

     

    So Pats Cover The 9 Or 9.5  And The Game Go,s Over 51...

    Falcons Beat The Spread 3.5 And The Game Go,s Over 48..

     

     
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from PatsLifer. Show PatsLifer's posts

    Re: NFC/AFC Championship Game Picks

    Why compare players at the same position on each team? They don't match up against each other. I do however agree with your commentary at the end. Tight game, pats win. 

     
  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from TexasPat. Show TexasPat's posts

    Re: NFC/AFC Championship Game Picks

    In response to TFB12's comment:

    In week 3 the Pats were up 13-0 after the first qtr.  Need to turn those fg's into TD's and play 4 qtrs of football.  No prevent defense.  Play like it's 0-0 through the entire game!

     

    My Picks:

    49'ers by 17

    Patriots by 13



         True. I'm very concerned about the kick coverage, and punt protection squads. Both were awful against the Texans...and made what should have been a cake-walk, a fairly competitive game. Similar mistakes against the Ravens will prove to be far more costly. 

     
  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from agcsbill. Show agcsbill's posts

    Re: NFC/AFC Championship Game Picks

    What is also missing in this discussion, not too many folks are accepting the fact the Ravens' O put up 31 points on the Denver D, rated #2 in the NFL.  The Ravens' D held the Broncos and Manning to 21 offensive points.  The 38 - 35 final included an INT TD for the Ravens and KO Ret and a Punt Ret TDs for the Broncos.  Tex has a VERY valid point that the Ravens have the better "stretch the field" receivers than the Pats.  In the first game, the Ravens had FIVE receivers with pass receptions that went for 20 or more yards, the Pats only TWO.  Houston, they had 4 receivers go for plays that were 20+ yards.  What does this say about the Pats D on long pass plays?  Hmmmmm...   will they be better against the Ravens?

     
  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from IrishMob7. Show IrishMob7's posts

    Re: NFC/AFC Championship Game Picks

    How were the Patriots extremely lucky to beat them last year?  Is this reference to the missed kick?  If so, that merely would have put the game into overtime.  There was nothing 'lucky' about that win.  We made less mistakes in a hard-fought, sloppy ball game.

    I agree, though, that the point spread should not be that big.  I'd say a 4.5 point spread would be more appropriate.  It's going to be another tight ball game that comes down to the wire, where I see the Pats coming out on top in a score of 24-20.

    Contain Rice, stick Talib on Smith, protect Brady, and get the running game going early which enforces lethal play-action.  If we do these things competently, we win. 

    Hoping for another big showing for Vereen, also.

     
  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from redsoxfan94. Show redsoxfan94's posts

    Re: NFC/AFC Championship Game Picks

    In response to agcsbill's comment:

    What is also missing in this discussion, not too many folks are accepting the fact the Ravens' O put up 31 points on the Denver D, rated #2 in the NFL.  The Ravens' D held the Broncos and Manning to 21 offensive points.  The 38 - 35 final included an INT TD for the Ravens and KO Ret and a Punt Ret TDs for the Broncos.  Tex has a VERY valid point that the Ravens have the better "stretch the field" receivers than the Pats.  In the first game, the Ravens had FIVE receivers with pass receptions that went for 20 or more yards, the Pats only TWO.  Houston, they had 4 receivers go for plays that were 20+ yards.  What does this say about the Pats D on long pass plays?  Hmmmmm...   will they be better against the Ravens?



    i agree the ravens defense has improved, but the broncos defense was sooooo overrated.

     
  20. You have chosen to ignore posts from TFB12. Show TFB12's posts

    Re: NFC/AFC Championship Game Picks

    In response to TexasPat's comment:

    In response to TFB12's comment:

     

    In week 3 the Pats were up 13-0 after the first qtr.  Need to turn those fg's into TD's and play 4 qtrs of football.  No prevent defense.  Play like it's 0-0 through the entire game!

     

    My Picks:

    49'ers by 17

    Patriots by 13

     



         True. I'm very concerned about the kick coverage, and punt protection squads. Both were awful against the Texans...and made what should have been a cake-walk, a fairly competitive game. Similar mistakes against the Ravens will prove to be far more costly. 

     




    I agree. I'm a bit concerned about the punt/kick coverage too.  It has to be flawless in this game.  No give me's in this game and having a punt/kickoff returned against us just always feels like giving them cheap points and is a big blow.  On the otherhand, the Ravens had worse problems against the Broncos.  I wish we had a better punt/kick returner to take advantage of their flaw last week.

     
  21. You have chosen to ignore posts from JRABBB. Show JRABBB's posts

    Re: NFC/AFC Championship Game Picks

    Ravens by 14+ 49ers by 7

     I see things

     
  22. This post has been removed.

     
  23. You have chosen to ignore posts from redsoxfan94. Show redsoxfan94's posts

    Re: NFC/AFC Championship Game Picks

    In response to jri37's comment:

    In response to JRABBB's comment:

     

    Ravens by 14+ 49ers by 7

     I see things

     




     

    Like buttfumbles




    sanchez clearly didnt see anything.

     
  24. This post has been removed.

     
  25. You have chosen to ignore posts from JRABBB. Show JRABBB's posts

    Re: NFC/AFC Championship Game Picks

    Why do you people always change the subject? That buttfumble NEVEr gets old.

     hey I want to thank everybody that always repost the original post when replying-When I get banned my posts stay alive by you reposting....Thanks

     

Share