jimmythegreek Posts:12606 Followers:392
On 01/22/2012 01:33 PM in NFL


YTD 8-7-1 .533
sides 3-4 .429
totals 5-3 .625

AFC Championship: Baltimore at New England 3pm EST CBS:
After cruising to a lopsided victory behind another extraordinary Tom Brady-led offensive display last weekend, the New England Patriots find themselves on the verge of their fifth Super Bowl appearance in 11 seasons. While the Baltimore Ravens' path to the AFC championship game proved to be a bit more rocky, they continue to persevere thanks to one of the stingiest defenses in the league. The Ravens look to slow down Brady and the prolific Patriots offense Sunday when these teams meet in Foxborough with a trip to Super Bowl XLVI on the line.

Coming into last weekend with three consecutive postseason defeats - the first of those a loss to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII - New England (14-3) snapped that skid in emphatic fashion in the divisional round Saturday. The Patriots jumped out to a 14-0 lead and rolled to a 45-10 blowout of Denver, as Brady threw for 363 yards and matched an NFL postseason record with six touchdown passes. While Brady was able to pick apart the Broncos' defense, a repeat performance against the Ravens (13-4) may be harder to come by. Baltimore ranks third in the NFL with 16.6 points and 288.9 yards allowed per game, and it led the conference with 48 sacks - 14 by Terrell Suggs.

The challenge for New England's passing attack, second in the league with 317.8 yards a game, is solving a Ravens' pass defense that gave up 196.3 yards per contest during the regular season - fourth in the NFL. Brady is all too familiar with Baltimore's ability on defense. Those four players were part of a unit that helped spark the Ravens to a 33-14 wild-card victory over New England in the teams' only playoff meeting Jan. 10, 2010. Brady threw three interceptions, was sacked three times and threw for just 154 yards as the Patriots lost after falling behind 24-0 in the first quarter.

New England will be facing a Ravens team that seems unlikely to be intimidated by the Gillette Stadium surroundings as it seeks its first Super Bowl appearance since winning the championship in 2000. At least one of Joe Flacco's teammates, however, could be worried about whether the quarterback will be able to keep up with New England's explosive offense. Baltimore survived against Houston in the divisional round, winning 20-13 after forcing four turnovers - including Reed's late interception to help seal the win, but the Ravens are going to have to bring more to the table if they are to pull off the upset on the road.

Flacco, the only quarterback in NFL history to win a playoff game in each of his first four seasons in the league, threw for 176 yards and two touchdowns versus the Texans but was sacked five times and missed several easy throws, combined with numerous drops by the Ravens receivers that would kill potential put-away drives. That could be a problem if Baltimore can't get its 10th-ranked rushing game going for a second straight week. Rice, second in the league with 1,364 yards on the ground, managed 60 on 21 carries as the Ravens rushed for 87 yards - well below their 124.8 average. While New England could struggle to slow down Baltimore's ground game, the Ravens are sure to have their hands full with the Patriots' tight end duo of Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez.

Gronkowski, who broke NFL single-season records for his position with 1,327 yards and 17 TDs, caught 10 passes for 145 yards and matched a postseason record with three more scores versus Denver. Hernandez hauled in four passes for 55 yards and a TD to go along with a team-high 61 rushing yards before leaving with a head injury in the fourth quarter. The Patriots averaged 428.0 yards, second in the league, and their 32.1 points a contest were third. Brady's 5,235 passing yards were second most in NFL history, trailing Drew Brees' 5,476, a mark he established this year. New England has dominated Baltimore in the regular season, winning all six meetings, while Brady has gone 4-1 against the Ravens including the playoff game. However, his 71.4 quarterback rating in those contests is his lowest against any team.

New England won't have to worry about Terrible Towels or choppy turf at Gillette Stadium, but they will have to concern themselves with keeping Brady clean when under pressure from Haloti Ngata and Terrell Suggs, among others. If New England's offensive line can do to Baltimore's rush what it did to Denver's, then Brady will be in for another fine day and have the Pats on their way to Lucas Oil Stadium.

New England -6 (bought point) and over 49.5
34-24 prediction

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jimmythegreek Posts:12606 Followers:392
01/22/2012 01:44 PM

NFC Championship: NYG at San Francisco 6:30PM EST FOX:
The expected aerial show for the NFC championship has given way to what shapes up as a hard-hitting affair between franchises that were rivals from the past. The San Francisco 49ers and New York Giants have met seven times in the postseason, and the winner of the latest edition of this classic rivalry Sunday at Candlestick Park will advance to the Super Bowl. San Francisco and New York sent the high-powered offenses of New Orleans and Green Bay home for the offseason after divisional-round wins last weekend. The 49ers won 36-32 at home over the Saints and the Giants stunned the top-seeded Packers 37-20.

Harbaugh inherited a 6-10 team and guided it to 13 wins and the franchise's first playoff berth in nine seasons before last Saturday's dramatic victory on Alex Smith's 14-yard touchdown pass to Vernon Davis with nine seconds left. The Giants looked like anything but a contender in splitting their first 14 games before clinching the NFC East by closing the regular season with double-digit wins over the Jets and Cowboys. New York has become the first team to begin the postseason in the wild-card round and win its first two games by at least 17 points. Ten of the 12 previous teams to win their first two playoff contests by such a margin went on to win the Super Bowl. The Giants are 4-0 all-time in NFC championships.

The Giants' pass rush has come alive during this four-game win streak with 17 sacks, including four of Aaron Rodgers last Sunday. The emergence of second-year Pro Bowler Jason Pierre-Paul, return of Osi Umenyiora for the Dallas game and the improved health of Justin Tuck have boosted one of the league's most fearsome units. The 49ers, meanwhile, had the league's top rushing defense in allowing 77.3 yards per game as well as a pass rush led by rookie Aldon Smith's 14.0 sacks. San Francisco earned a reputation for delivering bone-crushing hits while tying for the league lead in creating 38 takeaways. Trying to attack those defenses will be quarterbacks who have enjoyed vastly different careers since being top overall draft picks one year apart.

The Giants' Eli Manning, taken first overall in 2004, fell 67 yards shy of 5,000 this year. His play this postseason (607 passing yards, six TDs, one interception) has brought back memories of New York's 2007 playoff run in which he excelled en route to earning Super Bowl MVP honors. San Francisco took Alex Smith with the top pick in the 2005 draft, but he never found his footing until playing for his third coach in Harbaugh. Smith guided an offense that had the fewest turnovers in the NFL with 10, and he proved his mettle by leading the Niners to two touchdown drives in the final 2:11 last weekend. Davis finished with seven catches for 180 yards in his postseason debut. He was ecstatic that the Giants' upset allowed the 49ers to host this contest rather than have to travel to Green Bay.

San Francisco is 4-3 in the postseason against New York, which won the lone championship meeting in 1990 at Candlestick to end the 49ers' chances of a third straight Super Bowl title. More recently, San Francisco won 27-20 at home Nov. 13 in a game in which Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw missed due to injury. The Niners' top receiver in that game, tight end Delanie Walker, has a broken jaw and his status for Sunday is uncertain. Manning threw for two touchdowns and 311 yards as well as two interceptions to Pro Bowl cornerback Carlos Rogers. His bid to lead a game-tying TD drive ended in the final minute when Justin Smith batted down a fourth-down pass. Hakeem Nicks' last touchdown reception on the road came in that game before he scored twice last week. Nicks has 280 yards receiving and four TDs in the postseason as part of a dangerous group of receivers that includes Victor Cruz, third in the league with 1,536 yards.

Smith has to adjust to the pressure and ensure he has the quick dump-off option at all times. Smith only has five interceptions this season, which is one of the main reasons the 49ers have been successful. The 49ers are here because of a defense that allowed the second fewest points in the league and a rejuvenated offense led by Smith. There is no question Smith is ready for today's duel with Manning, who already owns one Super Bowl ring. Eli may have more receiving weapons, but the 49ers have Frank Gore, a much better kicking game and the most complete defense left in the playoffs. Look for Akers to come through in the final seconds sending big blue home in despair of what might have been.

San Francisco -2 and over 41
24-21 prediction

Best of luck to all this afternoon

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minet123 Posts:245 Followers:0
01/22/2012 02:14 PM

Tailing you on all 4 Jimmy
cash'em big today