Before I give my thoughts on the conference championships I thought it would be fun to take a look back at how I did with my predictions for the NFL playoffs.
Yes, I took a bit of time off since I last posted. Ok, yes, bit is an understatement…. It’s been a long time since I last wrote. But I’m back in the game now.
Back in August, before the season started, I made my predictions on which teams would make the playoffs. It’s going out on a limb a bit to make predictions on playoff teams before the season starts, but I figured what the hell, why not?
In the AFC I thought the division winners would be the Patriots, Steelers, Colts and Chargers, with the wild card spots going to the Jets and Jaguars. I didn’t do terrible…. I was correct on two of the division winners – Pittsburgh and San Diego. The Colts made the playoffs, just didn’t win their division. The Patriots and Jets were in contention for playoff spots, so I wasn’t totally off on those either.
In the NFC I predicted that the Giants, Packers, Bucs and Seahawks would win their divisions and the Cowboys and Panthers would be wild card teams. I went terribly wrong with the Packers and Seahawks. The Giants were the only division winner I correctly predicted. The others either made the playoffs or were in contention.
I’m not too upset with how I did. It was pre-season picks, it really is a crapshoot. Better luck to me next year I guess.
Now on to what I think will happen this weekend in the conference championships:
NFC Championship – Philadelphia Eagles vs. Arizona Cardinals
Would anyone have predicted at the beginning of the year that the conference championship would be played at the University of Phoenix Stadium? Didn’t think so. Just based on that I would love to see the Cardinals win this game. And I actually think they could win the game. Their defense last week played great and completely shut Carolina down. Jake Delhomme I’m sure wanted to go home after the first half. Arizona’s offense speaks for itself. Kurt Warner is playoff tested and will provide a lot of leadership for the Cards.
After saying all that, I think the Eagles will win the game though. Philly’s defense is better than Arizona’s and has been more reliable week in and week out. Donovan’s just as playoff tested as Warner. Ok…..you’re right, he hasn’t won the big one like Kurt. Let me rephrase that – Donovan’s just as playoff tested as Warner in conference championship games. There, that’s more accurate. Most importantly, Brian Westbrook will not have two bad games in a row. The guy’s a stud and will show up for this game.
The game will be very competitive, but in the end, the Eagles defensive unit will make one more stop that will be the difference.
Philadelphia – 24, Arizona – 21
AFC Championship – Baltimore Ravens vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
It’s very hard to beat a team three times in one season. This had me leaning toward Baltimore. Until I did a little research…
On this Sportsbetting forum (note that I don’t condone sportsbetting – it loses you lots of $$$ – but the data here is great), it was shown that 18 times in the history of the NFL, teams have met for a third time when one team won the first two meetings. I learned that 62% of the time the team that won the first two meetings also won the third. So while it is hard, it’s not quite as difficult as I originally thought.
Pittsburgh is the better overall team. The Ravens have a great defense, a better than expected offense, but I think the Steelers reign supreme in both categories. Roethlisberger is battle tested, Flacco is not. I think the game could ultimately come down to that.
I think we’re looking at a Pennsylvania Bowl via Tampa for the Super Bowl.
Pittsburgh – 17, Baltimore – 10