Predicting the 2014 NFL Playoffs: Championship Round

Kelen: 2-2 (3-5)
Anthony: 3-1 (6-2)


Packers @ Seahawks
Kelen: So the Packers were a Dez Bryant play from losing last weekend but instead my Dallas prediction is Cheech & Chong. Aaron Rodgers made Aaron Rodgers plays and coolly led the Packers all the way back, calf and all. It helped that Eddie Lacy got his asthma issues cleared up by the second half.

The Seahawks toyed with the Panthers until the 4th quarter, when they scored 17 points that went almost unanswered. Kam Chancellor looked superhuman for two straight plays before the half and then returned an interception so quickly that the Panthers gave up pursuit after a few seconds.

So almost three years after the Fail Mary, we have the Packers and the Seahawks for the NFC Championship. The Pack lost at CenturyLink Field in Week 1, 36-16, but then they only lost 3 more games since. And they haven’t lost in a month. The Seahawks bring their own 7 game win streak to the table and are playing their best football since last January and February. And Carolina’s 17 points were the most the defense had allowed since November 16. On the bright side for Green Bay, 3 of Seattle’s 3 losses came at home this season.

With my bold prediction at home licking their wounds in Dallas, I have to take the slightly riskier pick and go with Seattle. I say risky because the last team to go to (and win) back to back Super Bowls were the 2004 Patriots. The Seahawks will end that drought and be Arizona bound for the XLIX-th edition of the NFL’s Championship game.

Anthony: The Packers game was a really good one to watch. I think that Dez Bryant catch shouldn’t have been overturned. At least the refs have been consistent with that call though. Rodgers was a little more inaccurate and inconsistent than I thought he’d be. The calf affected him tremendously, which doesn’t bode well for this week’s game against the Seahawks. At least he has Lacy to hand off to.

Someone in the Packers receiving corp is going to have to make a difference in this game, whether it be Nelson, Cobb or Adams. Maybe Quarless, and yes I know he’s a TE.

You know the Seahawks defense will be getting after Rodgers. As you said, Seattle has been playing extremely well of late and I don’t see why that won’t continue. As much as I want to go with Green Bay here, I just can’t bring myself to do it. The odds are stacked completely against them. Seattle goes back to the Super Bowl.

Colts @ Patriots
Kelen: So Andrew Luck led the Colts into Denver and came out with a win. And of course reports came out this week that Peyton played hurt the last month of the season. One, he looked like it and two, the Broncos were 11-3 after they beat San Diego (the game when the injury was said to have occurred). SIT OUT THE LAST TWO GAMES. Did the bye week really help in the end? Are you telling me that a Peyton with two week’s rest compared to one week’s rest couldn’t have won a Wild Card game? Kudos to the Colts though; they didn’t let CJ Anderson kill them, their defense held up when it was needed, and Luck’s two interceptions didn’t make a difference.

The Patriots escaped another near loss to the Ravens (see: 2011 AFC Championship) and it came down to mistake free football. Joe Flacco’s two interceptions didn’t lead to New England scores but they killed the momentum the Ravens had enjoyed for the entire first half. And the Patriots did what they’re designed to do: win AFC playoff games. It helps that they destroyed the Colts in last year’s playoffs (43-22) and in Week 11 (42-20).

I would love for the Colts to win this game and go to the Super Bowl. What a great story only three seasons after Peyton left town. The last thing the world needs is the Patriots going to the Super Bowl again. While a loss would make Brady 3-3 in the Big One, a win would put them in the four Super Bowls category, meaning only 3 teams have more than they do.

They shouldn’t even bother printing Colts AFC Championship t-shirts. Belichick has the Colts number, just like he did when Manning was at the helm. I feel like this will be more competitive than their last two meetings, but Seattle v. New England should be the main event come February 1st.

The last time they met? 10/14/12 in Seattle. Patriots 23 Seahawks 24.

Anthony: I still like this Colts team. They have the right mix on offense and the defense is good enough to keep them in striking distance. This has the makings to be the best game of the playoffs in my mind. I know I picked the Seahawks above, but it would be great to see a Green Bay/Indianapolis Super Bowl.

For this game, however, the Colts will be without Richardson, although I’m not too sure that’s a devastating loss as they’ve held up well with the other RBs. I also don’t think that the Patriots can stop Hilton from going off. Moncrief has been a great compliment and they also have to account for Allen and Fleener.

I think you’re wrong about not printing Colts AFC Championships t-shirts. Luck and the offense will score 30 points this game, I’m calling it. I’m going to jump on the Indy bandwagon, they’ll be heading to Arizona to face Seattle.

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