Conference Game Predictions

Thursday, January 15, 2009 ·

I’m here at the liquor store bored so I figured I’d contemplate my picks now for the AFC/NFC Championship games. In the AFC, it’s the Steelers versus the Ravens in Pittsburgh and in the NFC it’s our beloved Eagles versus the Cardinals in Arizona. Yes it’s a shock to the rest of the NFL world that the Cards are not only playing in the Championship game but they are the home team but to them it isn’t a surprise. Their offense is showing shades of Kurt Warner’s “Greatest Show on Turf” in St. Louis 7 years ago and I think they are actually better but we’ll get into more depth when I get to that game. The two games after the jump:

We’ll start with the night cap. One of the nastiest rivalries in the NFL is Baltimore and Pittsburgh. Baltimore’s defense is just nasty in the turnovers department while Pittsburgh won’t let you run for the life of them. You also can’t forget about Troy Polamalu running around. He has no problem putting his helmet in your chest if you aren’t looking. The problem with Baltimore’s defense is that they have allowed more first downs than earned, by a lot. In their 2 games, opponents have gotten 39 first downs, 27 through the air. If the Ravens can’t get a good rush on Ben Rothleisberger, he will light up the secondary. The Ravens have given up 533 passing yards to Chad Pennington and Kerry Collins combined and Big Ben is a much better quarterback then those 2. When Pittsburgh’s offense gets rolling, there is no stopping them like in the San Diego game. The Steelers defense only gave up 15 first downs against the Chargers, 1 on the ground. Baltimore will have to move the ball in the air with a rookie quarterback if they want to get down field. If LeRon McClain can establish himself as a running back that can control the game, now is the time. If he doesn’t, Baltimore’s defense will be on the field a lot and they will give up points. I say Pittsburgh wins it 27-10.

Now it’s on to the Eagles. This honestly should be no contest. It’s Arizona, who is playing the best football the franchise has ever seen since the merger but it’s still Arizona. They have a good offense but the defense doesn’t scare me. I think the score will be similar to Thanksgiving when Philly won 48-20. The Eagles offense hasn’t been clicking like it was in Dallas but that defense has been relentless on the ground, on the rush, and in the air. Warner isn’t mobile and his line will allow Jim Johnson’s blitz scheme to take full advantage of them. Asante Samuel is in a familiar position, making big plays in the post season and he will make another one Sunday afternoon. Brian Dawkins is playing every game like it’s his last and he is easily the hungriest player on the team for the Super Bowl, followed by Donovan McNabb. Edgerin James is a very good running back but he is no Brandon Jacobs or Adrian Peterson. He will get shut down. Anquan Boldin is a game time decision and it doesn’t look good for him. Larry Fitzgerald is amazing but he can’t do it all by himself. It was a good run for Arizona but it’s ending here. Eagles win it big, 41-21.


GM-Carson said...
January 16, 2009 at 12:18 PM  

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