Hello again, it’s Jeremy from BSO back again to give you the low down on the Conference Championship games. In my mind, the 4 best teams in football are matched up with a chance to put their name alongside some of the greats in football history. Win and you live your dream, lose and everything you’ve done to this point was pointless. Let’s get into it.
Arizona @ Carolina
The Cardinals had a shaky performance covered up by the will of Larry Fitzgerald. If he doesn’t make that play, people feel a whole lot different about Arizona. The Cards, particularly Carson Palmer, would have gotten destroyed by the media. Instead, Fitz gives the people what they want and drags them to the NFC Championships game.
The first question that has to be asked is how Carson Palmer will play after picking up his first playoff victory. He looked tight and nervous during the Green Bay game and sure he has the pressure of getting the first win off of his back, but he is also facing a much better defense. Those near mistakes he had against the Packers will be turnovers against this Panthers defense.
The Panthers looked great for the first half against Seattle, but the other half I don’t know about. They could have been naturally a little bit bored because of the huge lead they held or they could have gotten exposed for allowing the Seahawks to come marching back like they did. The Cardinals showed they have no give up in them, so Carolina will have to close, something they’ve had issues with all year.
Jonathan Stewart looked fresh in the game posting 109 yds and 2 touchdowns. The balanced offense is hard to beat, especially when Cam Newton is your quarterback. There are times where you just don’t pick against certain players, usually is a quarterback, and this year that quarterback has been Killa Cam. He will be the difference in this game and for that, he earns his team a trip to the Super Bowl.
New England @ Denver
Naturally, everyone wants to make this Tom Brady v. Peyton Manning and in a way it is, but if that’s all you see, you need to look again.
The real battle in this game will come be decided by the rushing attack of CJ Anderson and Ronnie Hillman facing a Patriots defense that has been a weak point for most of the season. They allowed Kansas City to have 130 yards in the Divisional Round and that won’t cut it against a much healthier, and more talented, rushing attack Denver brings to the table.
The question also will be if Bill Belichick thinks Peyton Manning can beat them. If he doesn’t, he will load the box and try to stop the run game that killed them the last time they played, but if he does that, it will leave some serious weapons at Mannings disposal. The question for Manning is can he pull the trigger? This season has taught me that, no he cannot.
On the other side, Tom Brady has been playing quarterback at an alien level. There is no hint of a running game and their offensive line is awful. Yet he still carves up defense like he isn’t their only option. Denver has a vicious pass rush that will test just how good Brady is. It hasn’t mattered up to this point, but is there a more daunting pass rush duo in DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller? I don’t think so.
I’ve made the mistake of picking against the mastermind team of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick once this year and I’m not going to do it again. Patriots advance to the Super Bowl.
The matchup everyone wants to see is New England vs Carolina. The 2 best QB’s left in the playoffs. One the old wily veteran looking to repeat and continue to silence any doubt that he is the greatest QB of our generation.
On the opposite side, the up and coming star, doing it his way on a team that thinks they don’t get any respect. If they think that they’ve gotten disrespected in the regular season, just wait until the media has 2 weeks to crown the Patriots. Like Bart Scott said: