And then there were four. After the divisional round, the top 2 seeds in the NFC, the Seahawks and Packers will do battle for the right to play in the Superbowl. On the AFC side, the Patriots will take on the Colts after a clear passing of the torch.
How did we get here?
The Packers were the first to secure a final four spot when Aaron Rodgers played through an injury to lift his team over the the Dallas Cowboys. Both teams went over 100 yards on the ground, but Eddie Lacy ran for 22 more than the NFL league leader in DeMarco Murray. Tony Romo was out-passed by nearly 130 yards and a TD. The turning point was a 1st and goal catch by Dez Bryant that was overturned with 4 minutes to go in the game on 4th down. They were down 5, and who’s to say the Packers don’t stop the TD on the goal line? But the Cowboys weren’t given a chance when it was ruled Bryant didn’t complete the process of the catch to the ground.
Then we saw the Carolina Panthers run end when they went into 12th man territory. The big play was was when Kam Chancellor returned an interception 90 yards for a touchdown to seal the victory in the 4th in a game that saw Seattle never trail. The Seahawks became the first reigning Superbowl Champ to win a playoff game since the Pats did so in 2006.
- Packers @ Seahawks: This is the game I thought we would see before the season. And honestly, I think this match-up could be better than whatever turns into the final Superbowl. Why? Because you get the reigning champs playing the possible MVP. You get the best home QB in the league playing on the road in the best home field advantage in football. It’s a rematch of the season opener, a Seattle blowout at home and the reason why Green Bay didn’t get home-field as both teams finished with identical 12-4 records. That will not happen again this time around. Aaron Rodgers calf injury is a concern, as is Eddie Lacy’s, but I still think this is the team that can go into Seattle and upset the reigning champs. Rodgers showed he could put this team on his back time and again. This is going to be fun, and probably the better game of the day, but this is my reach pick, and I’m sticking with the my preseason pick of Packers over Seahawks for the right to play in the superbowl. GREEN BAY WINS
- Colts @ Patriots: New England is one win away from the Superbowl… again. Remember when everyone thought they were done early in the season? They’ll play host to the Colts in a rematch of the 2006 AFC Championship game, except for one very big difference. His counterpart at QB isn’t Peyton Manning, but the heir apparent in Indy, Andrew Luck. Indianapolis’ defense stepped up on the road, limiting the passing game of the Broncos. The Patriots need to look to exploit their run defense however, which was the best part of Denver’s offense a week ago. Joe Flacco had his way with the Pats secondary as well, so look for Luck to have more success with deep passes in addition to his stellar short game. Tom Brady has been here many times before, which is why I would say he has more to lose than the Colts in this game. The Pats have been eliminated in this round the past two seasons and haven’t won on in a decade. Indy continues to trend upward under Luck, so while they of course want to advance, but this was a great season no matter what happens Sunday. Don’t forget that the Pats have blew out the Colts the past 3 meetings, including a 22-point victory in November. I want to pick Indianapolis, but I think it’s time for New England to make a reappearance in the big one. It’ll be close. NEW ENGLAND WINS