Everything is on the line as the NFC and AFC championships approach. Here are some bold NFL predictions regarding both titanic contests.
Tom Brady will top the 34 points he put on Denver Broncos last time
No Von Miller. No Derek Wolfe. No Chris Harris. Tom Brady has every reason to be excited about Sunday because the Denver Broncos defense is badly depleted by injuries. Their pass rush is limited at best and while they can still stop the run it may not be enough. After all, he posted 344 yards and three touchdowns the last time he saw them. It’s unreasonable to think home field advantage will offer much comfort against such a seasoned playoff veteran. Expect Brady to post a higher mark than the 34 points his Patriots managed against Denver during the regular season.
Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson will trade touchdowns for the win
Two teams defined mostly by strong defense and power running are nevertheless in the hands of their quarterbacks. At some point late in the game Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick will be asked to make a play to win. The trick is both have done so on numerous occasions throughout the 2013 campaign. So here’s what to expect. One of them will find their team down late, lead them on a drive and toss a go-ahead touchdown pass. Then the other will respond in the final minutes, executing a march of their own, culminating in another touchdown for the win. Whom it will be may depend on who has the ball last.
Peyton Manning will ride Julius Thomas for three scores
Denver does have some advantages coming their way in their rematch with the Patriots. They know they can run the ball because they did it so well the first time. However, an additional bonus that could prove quite decisive is the presence of tight end Julius Thomas. The 25-year old did not play in the first meeting due to injuries and New England was able to limit the effectiveness of Peyton Manning. This time the 6’5″ Pro Bowler is healthy and ready for action. One must remember the New England linebackers are depleted as is parts of their secondary. Expect Manning to feed Thomas throughout the game with success, perhaps to the tune of three touchdowns.
49ers and Seahawks will combine for seven turnovers
One thing that has lent to the success of the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks is the ability to protect the football. In fact the two teams ranked second and first respectively in turnover ratio. However, as everybody knows crazy things start to happen when the pressure increases. A chance to go to the Super Bowl certainly qualifies. Given the strength of the defenses, the weather that should be involved and what is at stake, fans can expect less of a grind-it-out affair and more of a whacky, error-filled game in which both team uncharacteristically can’t hang on to the ball. In fact by the time the final whistle sounds the two sides will have combined for seven turnovers.