In this Piece we will Preview both the AFC and NFC Championship Games on Sunday as we surge towards another entertaining Super Bowl.
On Sunday, January 22nd Its Championship Sunday. At 3:00 eastern it all kicks off with familiar faces with the Baltimore Ravens traveling up to New England in a Playoff rematch from 2010. In that game the Ravens garnered their first ever road win in New England catching a Patriots team off guard racing out to a 21-0 lead en route to a 33-10 win in a game where Ray Rice took the first play from scrimmage for an 80+ Yard touchdown. This Years Ravens team finally surged past the Pittsburgh Steelers and won the AFC North capturing the #2 seed and getting a home game instead of the usual wild card route where you have to win 3 road games to get to the Super Bowl. The Ravens were able to win the Divisional round game over a tough Houston team that may have won if they had starting Qb Matt Schaub available. The Ravens took advantage of some uneven play by Texans rookie Qb TJ Yates and were able to win on points off turnovers early on the game.
The Patriots were easy winners over a Broncos team that was over matched on both sides of the ball. New England did a much better job on the Denver running game and forced Tebow to play from behind the whole day. On offense, much like the first game Tom Brady and the vaunted Patriots offense had too many weapons for the Broncos to account for. In this game the Patriots were installed a 7 point favorite and were immediately bet up to 7.5. The Patriots have a statistical edge of over 100 yards on offense, while the Ravens have a 100+ yard overall statistical edge on defense.. Both teams have performed well vs winning teams as the Patriots are 4-2 and the Ravens are 7-0. The records are very similar too as the Patriots are 14-3 while the Ravens check in at 13-4. The Ravens are 12-0 this season when scoring 20 or more points as that seems to be their magic number.This game could be another of the many that come down to turnovers. Both teams will face a tougher opponent than they did the previous week, Particularly the Patriots as Baltimore has more talent than Denver. Look for a spirited effort from both teams in what should be a very entertaining AFC Championship game.
The NFC Championship game will kick at 6:30 eastern. This year we have a Regular season rematch between to teams that met just over 2 months ago. The Giants travel cross country to take on a San Francisco team that came out of nowhere to win the NFC West after Hiring Harbaugh. The First game was a win for the Niners 27-20 in a game that was statistically won by the Giants. New York had a slight advantage rushing the ball 93-77 and also had more passing yards 302 to 228. The difference was the Niners played better on both sides of the ball in the red zone and the Giants were hurt by 2 costly turnovers. The Niners have won 5 of the last 6 in the series here at home. The Giants have the poise advantage as they are battle tested and come off their most impressive win of the season in a Big blowout win over the Defending Super Bowl Champion Packers.
The Giants kept Green Bay off balance all day and were able to stymie the best overall offense in the league by getting constant pressure on Rogers without having to blitz and compromise pass coverage. The Packers weren't able to mount much of a run game and were playing from behind the whole day while the rejuvenated Giants defense made them look average all day. The Giants on offense have a huge weapons with 2 stud receives in Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nix, as well as some solid tight end play. They also do a good job of rotating Running backs Jacobs and Bradshaw, keeping them both fresh throughout the game. San Francisco is coming off an Instant Classic in a wild Home win over The New Orleans Saints in a game where they raced out to a 17-0 lead with the aid of several turnovers by a Saints team that did well to come back and take a lead in that game, as Dome teams on the road down 14-0 or more had never come back to win.
The Niners were able to get a late touchdown with just seconds remaining on third down, electing to throw the ball into the end zone instead of squaring the ball for a game tying field goal. In this game the Niners will look to control the ball with star running back Frank Gore and keep the Giants off balance, to set up their aerial attack and utilize their electric duo of receivers led by Michael Crabtree.The Niners also have a stud at tight end in Vernon Davis who is coming off the best game of his career against the Saints and has emerged as quite the long ball threat for much maligned Qb Alex Smith. In his career with the 49ers Smith has taken his time to progress, and while he will never be mentioned in the same breath as elite Qb/s Like Counter part Eli Manning, he has cut down on his turnovers and has made many big plays while taking advantage of all his weapons. In the end this should also be a very competitive games where Turnover and execution will play a large part of determining this game.
While many would have rather have seen the Opening night rematch between the Packers and Saints we will appreciate what both of these two teams have done this year. The Giants in beating the Packers were responsible for the knocking off the first 15 win team in their first playoff game in the history of the league and The 49ers Resurgence from a terrible season last year. I will have a more in depth analysis on both of these games later in the week as we run simulators on both games then apply our database of Historical systems and Angles to the equation. RV
In Closing I hope you enjoy both Big games here on Championship Sunday. Check back later in the week as I Update both these games and look to improve on an 8-1 record thus far on sides and totals in the 2012 playoff season using time backed, cutting edge Power systems and Angles not seen anywhere else. You can also listen in to my weekly sports talk radio segment on Mondays at 7:05 eastern on 88.9 wsia.fm as I always have a Solid free Pick at the end of the segment. May all your wagers be winning wagers. Checkout Rob Vinciletti in our Expert Cappers Section