Baltimore(4) @ New England(2) - AFC Championship
It's the #Rayoffs in Foxborough, Massachusetts, what could be better?!?!? I can think of one thing; Manning vs. Brady. Unfortunately, the match up that seemed predetermined heading into the postseason took a slightly different turn last weekend. The Baltimore Ravens and fifth-year quarterback Joe Flacco had other plans as they shocked the Denver Broncos and their all-world signal caller Peyton Manning. The 6'6" Flacco continued his postseason assault by completing eighteen passes for 331-yards. Through two-games, Flacco has remained interception free while tossing five touchdown passes. Sure to have earned him major money this offseason as he hits free-agency, Flacco's work isn't done just yet.
The New England Patriots meet Flacco in the AFC Championship, the seventh time the Patriots have reached this point while in the Brady/Belichick era. The Patriots pushed aside any doubt that their earlier 40-spot on the once vaunted Texans defense was a fluke. Brady and Co. tuned up Houston one more time hanging another 40+ points on Houston and sending the Texans packing. In typical Patriot fashion, they overcome the early departure of tight-end Rob Gronkowski due to injury and non-primary rusher Shane Vereen finds the end zone three times and gives both the Baltimore Ravens and the eventual NFC Champion just another weapon to try to defend.
The Ravens and Patriots are no strangers to each other and more than one firework is going to go off in Foxborough on Sunday. As the Patriots and head coach Bill Belichick attempt to take their third shot at a fourth Super Bowl Championship since 2002 the Ravens are attempting to complete the career of no-doubt Hall of Famer, linebacker Ray Lewis, with a second Super Bowl Championship. Time to put our money where our mouth is; Vegas obviously has an issue with our man Joe Flacco, and by issue I mean Vegas has a problem with the 1-4 finish the Ravens ended the regular season with. Patriots advance, but we'll take the points. Ravens +8
San Francisco(2) @ Atlanta(1) - NFC Championship
Has anyone stopped talking about Jim Harbaugh and his mid-season call to replace serviceable quarterback Alex Smith with what has become the face of the 49ers in second-year quarterback Colin Kaepernick?!?! Has there ever been a more disrespected top seed than the host Atlanta Falcons?!?! That pretty much sums up all the analysis you've heard up till now, however, we're here to tell you something slightly different.
Falcons 5th-year quarterback Matt Ryan, accurately nick-named 'The Mattural' has not only won his first playoff game as a starting quarterback in the NFL, but also led the Falcons to a 13-win season, a franchise which seemed to be in dis-repair when he showed up in the ATL. Who says it isn't his time? Correct me if I'm wrong, but he did complete two monster passes to put his field goal kicker in position to win last weeks playoff game against a Seattle team coming off six straight wins, right? Ryan and the Falcons posted thirteen wins as previously mentioned with a rushing attack that ranked just twenty-ninth in the league, so they've go to be doing something right. Twenty-two game winning drives in five seasons? 33-6 at the Georgia Dome? Yep, keep doubting the kid.
Then again, the Falcons will be playing a team that just deflowered the Packers 45-31. A nasty, terrifying defense. A game changing second year quarterback with unlimited talent. A head coach who will stop at nothing to ensure his team advances to the next level evidenced by his mid-season Kaepernick change. All that being said, don't Falcons fans deserve this? The Mike Vick years being a wash, the tough losses to Green Bay and New York in recent years, haven't the Falcons paid the piper? While I'd never want to see Patrick Willis looking ofr me in a dark alley, we're still going out on a limb here. F*ck the points, Falcons outright. Falcons +4
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