After another weekend of wild action, we're now down to four teams in the playoffs. This Sunday is the NFL Championship Round and the four teams who are still alive are extremely fortunate to be in position to win the Super Bowl in less than three weeks. They're arguably the four hottest teams in the league. For the NFL fans who aren't going to be watching their favorite team play this weekend, Sunday will be a day for you to relax and watch excellent football.
The first game on Sunday is the NFC Championship Game and it will be between the Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks. These two teams started the 2014 season and the Seahawks ended up blowing out the Packers. With the stakes even higher, this game will be vital. The second game will be between the Indianapolis Colts and the New England Patriots. These two teams met in the 2014 season and the Patriots blew the Colts out as well. With four excellent teams playing on Sunday, here are my bold predictions for the NFL Championship Round.
NFL Championship Round: 5 bold predictions
NFL championship round: Five bold predictions
Seahawks get two turnovers
Right now, the Seahawks’ defense is another level. Over the past seven weeks, the Seahawks have given up just 56 points, which is an average of just eight points per game. Currently, Seattle is ranked third against the run and first against the pass. Yes, Seattle will have their toughest test of the season against one of the hottest offenses in the league and perhaps the league’s best player in Aaron Rodgers. However, Seattle is going to be able to get after Rodgers, who is playing at probably just 80%.
That being said, the Seahawks are going to be able to get some opportunities for takeaways in this game. Seattle has three of the best secondary players in Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, and Kam Chancellor. Add in the vaunted pass rush because of guys like Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril, and it is easy to see why they have all the ability in the world to keep Rodgers off his game.
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Aaron Rodgers attacks Richard Sherman
When these two teams met in Week 1, Rodgers and the Packers made it an emphasis to know where No. 25 is on the field at all times. In that game, the Packers left Jarrett Boykin on Sherman’s side and they ended up not throwing him the ball just once. Interestingly enough, Rodgers is a stud quarterback, but you have to question why he didn’t even challenge Sherman one time.
In this game, I expect the Packers to attack Sherman early and often. Since Week 1, Fresno State rookie Davante Adams has become the third receiver behind Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb. After his breakout performance last week, Adams is starting to make defenses become even more wary of this receiving group. Dez Bryant and Odell Beckham Jr. had the best of Sherman earlier in the year, and although he is a great player, Sherman can be beaten at times. I expect Rodgers to test Sherman.
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Seahawks pull away in the end
This is an extremely interesting matchup as the Seahawks have the best defense in the league, while the Packers have one of the best offenses in all of football. The key to beating to Seattle is by not turning the ball over and keeping their defense on the field for extended periods of time. Dallas did this in Week 5 and they walked out of a CenturyLink Field with a victory. The Seahawks were a different team back then, but the Packers still have a blueprint in their back pocket of knowing what it takes to beat Seattle on the road.
Knowing that gameplan, the Packers should make this game interesting. Another thing is that I don’t see Rodgers and the Packers getting blown out in such a meaningful game. However, I do see a game that will be close up until the end. Simply put, Seattle is playing too well right now, and I fully believe they are still the best team in all of football. I expect this game to be close, but I also expect Seattle to come out on top in the end.
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Colts turn the ball over three times
Andrew Luck is really good. I think we’re all aware about. Luck is becoming an elite quarterback before our eyes. After beating his predecessor last week in Peyton Manning, Luck and the Colts are hot and they look to continue their win streak against the Patriots. Even though the Colts got destroyed by the Dallas Cowboys just a month ago, this Colts team is playing excellent football.
Despite that, Indianapolis has a tendency to turn the football over and Luck had two last weekend against the Broncos. The Colts rely a ton on Luck. Their defense isn’t special, they really struggle at running the football, and their receiver corps is still extremely young, even though Reggie Wayne seems to be an ageless wonder. In this game, on the road in Foxboro, I see Luck throwing an interception or two. However, I also see a strip-fumble and I believe Daniel “Boom” Herron will have a fumble in this game as well.
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Patriots win in a rout
This game is basically a Hall of Fame quarterback going up against a future Hall of Famer. There’s no question that both are top-seven quarterbacks in this league, however, the fact of the matter is that the Patriots know what it takes to get to the Super Bowl and win it. Although the Patriots haven’t won a Super Bowl since 2005, this Patriots team is the best one Tom Brady and Bill Belichick have ever had in their career.
With players like Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner on the outside, the Colts are going to have a hard time finding players like T.Y. Hilton and Wayne. The Colts need rookie wide receiver Donte Moncrief to step up, but he will be playing in perhaps the toughest venue in the NFL in Foxboro and he will be playing the biggest game of his career. The Colts are going to ride on Luck’s arm and even though I’m sure he’ll throw for around 300 yards and a couple of touchdowns, I also see him throwing some turnovers, which will lead to easy points for the Patriots. Don’t be surprised if this game is a blowout.