Is there seriously anything better than the NFL playoffs? Here’s everything you need to know about the games leading up to the Super Bowl.
AFC WILD CARD
Ravens vs. Steelers
The Steelers have been wildly inconsistent all season long. They have games where they score 50+ points and are literally slaughtering teams; to losing to the Saints at home. It all depends on whether Le’Veon Bell can carry the rock like has been. An MRI on his knee was negative for ligament damage but it’s obvious he’s hurting. The Ravens on the other hand have the 8th ranked defense in the NFL and a receiver in Steve Smith who is having an outstanding year. He’s averaging 13.5 yards per reception and has been a huge impact on this Ravens team. This game will be close but I think the Ravens pull off the victory 23-17.
Bengals vs. Colts
Andrew Luck is coming off his best year as an NFL starter. He has 40 touchdown passes and almost 5,000 passing yards. But he’s cooled off during the month of December. In his last four games, Luck has 6 touchdown passes and has thrown 5 interceptions and has looked mediocre in the pocket. But Indy fans need to be thanking the football gods that they are playing the Cincinnati Bengals in the first round. Sure breakout rookie Jeremey Hill is having a crazy year with 1124 rushing yards and 9 touchdowns. I get that AJ Green is doing AJ Green things with over 1000 receiving yards. But at the end of the day, the Bengals are the Bengals and Andy Dalton is still their starting quarterback. He’s thrown 19 touchdown passes and 17 interceptions this year. Not to mention he crumbles under the pressure of a big game situation. No chance he goes into Indy and leaves a winner. Colts roll 31-20.
NFC WILD CARD
Cardinals vs. Panthers
*Cue the sad trombone music*
This game just stinks all around. A 7-8 Carolina team that only made the playoffs by being the best worst team in football; verses a Cardinals team on their 8th string quarterback and have lost their last two games going into the playoffs. Their run game is horrible and their pass game is average at best. Their defense isn’t anything special either. They went from being one of the NFL’s best teams to a middle of the road, 5th seeded playoff team. The Panthers are poopy doo doo too. Cam Newton is just awful this year. In his worst year as a starting quarterback, he’s thrown only 18 touchdown passes and has a 58% completion rating. Jonathan Stewart though has been a nice surprise with over 800 yards rushing and Greg Olson is no scrub. He has 6 touchdowns and over 1000 receiving yards. This is going to be the game where home field advantage makes all the difference. Carolina upsets 17-13.
Lions vs. Cowboys
I’m totally buying the Cowboys and that might be the scariest thing I have ever realized in my entire life. Romo looks like a different quarterback. Anyone with a brain knows that Romo’s stats are better than ever this year. But what really sold me on this Cowboys team was the fact that they won the games that Romo has typically lost in years prior. They went into Philly and beat them convincingly, the massacred Andrew Luck on his home turf, and just last week they went into FedEx Field and ripped out the Washington Redskins organs in front of thousands of people and left their shell of a team to bleed out into the off season. DeMarco Murray is a freak of nature with 1845 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns and is set to run right through the Lions defense who, without Ndamukong Suh, won’t be able to keep up. Dallas wins 30-20.
AFC Dark Horse: I’m genuinely afraid of Baltimore in the AFC. I think they are the team poised to do the most damage and New England is going to have their hands full when the Ravens come into Foxboro.
NFC Dark Horse: The Dallas Cowboys are no joke this year and have a legit shot at a Super Bowl run. I wouldn’t be totally surprised to see a Cowboys vs. Packers NFC championship game. It also wouldn’t completely shock me if Dallas won that game and went to the Super Bowl.
AFC Championship Game
Broncos vs Patriots
The buildup between this game isn’t as strong as it normally is. Everyone knows this game is coming down the pipe, and everyone knows who’s going to win. Gronk being healthy and the fact that the defense is firing on all cylinders allow the Patriots to execute their revenge over last year’s AFC Championship loss. Patriots 24 Broncos 17.
NFC Championship Game
Cowboys vs Packers
Now I know what you’re thinking, “there’s no way Dallas marches into Seattle, one of the most hostile football environments on the planet, and wins.” But they do. That’s as far as it goes though. Aaron Rodgers is a Super Bowl winning quarterback and he’s been playing like one. The Packers are a totally different team on the road but as long as Rodgers is at Lambeau Field, he’s lights out.
Packers 30 Cowboys 17.
Packers vs Patriots
This might go down as one of the most competitive Super Bowls in history. It will be a shootout until the very end. The New England Patriots will win this game by a Gostkowski field goal as time expires and capture their 4th Super Bowl Championship.
Patriots 30 Packers 27