Click here to see our Week 10 Super Bowl XLVI predictions.
The week between the Wildcard and the Divisional playoff games is a time of reflection. The impact of injuries are magnified, as Steelers fans can’t help but think they would have made it to the Super Bowl if it wasn’t for Big Ben’s uncooperative left ankle or Brett Keisel’s sprained beard. It’s also a time for contemplating how your outside-looking-in team (I’m looking at you Jets and Cowboys fans) would have fared compared to the Bengals or the lowly Falcons.
We would like to think the Super Bowl race is clearer than before the regular season finale, but is it? We now know that the Packers could win with
Robin Matt Flynn at quarterback, that the Giants’ Jason Pierre-Paul is in fact Optimus Prime, that Julian Edelman (Patriots WR) is probably a better DB than Ike Taylor (Steelers CB who was burned repeatedly by the Broncos) and that “Tebowing” may soon replace high-fives as America’s celebration of choice. But do we actually know who is on track to win the Championship? In my opinion, there are too many questions surrounding each team to say that there is a clear favorite on the board.
I dare say that this year’s Super Bowl race will be the most unpredictable, and likely most unforgettable, in recent memory. Many pre-season predictions have fallen flat with teams like San Diego, Philadelphia and Dallas (Yes, I’ll admit, I had the Cowboys making it to the final) failing to make the playoffs. Furthermore, end of season surprises such as the Broncos, Giants and the Texans have already left their stamp on the 2012 Playoffs. It’s tough to say whether the surprises will continue or if seeds will hold, but at this point, I’m not sure if anybody would actually be surprised to see a Tim Tebow and Eli Manning Super Bowl.
Here are my predictions for the rest of the 2012 NFL Playoffs…
Green Bay 37, New York 31
The Giants will keep it close and will have a shot at the end with a last minute drive by Eli but an untimely interception will give the Packers the victory.
New Orleans 41, San Francisco 17
This game will start out slow as the 49ers are determined to control the clock and time of possession, but once the second half kicks off, it will be all Saints.
Denver 23, New England 21
The Patriots defense is worse than their offense is good, so Tom Brady will need a herculean effort against an improved Denver defense to compete. Ultimately, I think Tebow’s running ability will free up the deep passing game for a late, timely touchdown.
Baltimore 27, Houston 9
TJ Yates hasn’t yet faced a defense like the Baltimore Ravens unit and has still put up marginal numbers. Houston will lose the turnover battle and eventually the game.
Conference Championship Week:
New Orleans 38, Green Bay 28
When two teams with poor passing defenses (30th and 32nd respectively) play two stellar passing offenses (1st and 3rd), what do you get? A game decided by time of possession and the fourth quarter rushing game. Advantage Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles.
Baltimore 17, Denver 10
The fiery Tebow will finally be snuffed out by the Ravens defense. Luckily, Joe Flacco and Ray Rice will be able to muster just enough offense to overcome, otherwise we may end up deadlocked in overtime.
New Orleans 35, Baltimore 21
You can slow down Drew Brees and the Saints offense, but you can’t stop them. Despite their strong running game and controlling the clock, the Ravens will not be able to fend off the Saints all game. The back and forth field possession tug-of-war will be upended by a late burst of scoring from the Saints offense.