Championship Game Previews
This Sunday is Championship Sunday in the NFL. The AFC Championship will feature the Baltimore Ravens going into New England to face the Patriots. In the NFC it is the New York Giants traveling to San Francisco to face the 49ers. Before I get to the breakdowns of each game I am going to go through and rank the 4 possible Super Bowl matchups by level of intrigue. The criteria is a mixture of game with most hype and the competitiveness of the matchup.
4. Baltimore Ravens and New York Giants
Not many story lines here for this matchup. The Ravens beat the Giants in Super Bowl XXXV, so it would be a re-match. The game has the potential to be a 17-10 snooze-fest with two good defenses facing one very mediocre and one could go either way quarterback.
3. Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers
The reasons I have this game ranked higher than the Giants Ravens Super Bowl is because this game would feature the 2 best middle linebackers in football and the Harbuagh brothers coaching against each other (the annoyance of this possibility may lead me to not turn on any pregame talk for 2 weeks). The rumor is if Ray Lewis wins the Super Bowl this could be the last year so what more fitting way would it be for him to go out by beating the Niners and handing the torch over to Patrick Willis as best linebacker in football?? Then again a ALex Smith and Joe Flacco Super Bowl could leave people losing interest quickly once the game gets started.
2. New England Patriots and San Francisco 49ers
Tom Brady facing the best defense in football. Ya this is pretty intriguing. Throw in the hundreds of stories about Tom Brady cheering for the 49ers as a kid growing up in Northern California and the Patriots quest for another Super Bowl in the Belichick Brady era and this game will grab people’s attention.
1. New England Patriots and New York Giants
The more intriguing rematch BY FAR of the two possible Super Bowl rematches if the Giants were to win this Sunday. David Tyree better get ready for the interview and television requests if this were to happen. The storylines would be through the roof. Let alone how good the game should be. Can the Giants pressure Brady the way it did a few years ago? Can they stop Gronk and Hernandez? Can ELi come through in the clutch? How about can Eli pass his brother in SUper Bowl rings on his brother’s own field? Can Brady and Belichick win a ring on Peyton Manning’s own field?? How about Peyton’s brother facing his number one nemesis for the Super Bowl?? This is the game we need to be rooting for on Sunday.
Baltimore Ravens 23 at New England Patriots 27
The Ravens always play the Patriots close and this game will come down to the final minutes as they always do. The key for the Patriots to win is to control Ray Rice on defense. Joe Flacco can not go 1 on 1 with Tom Brady in a shootout. If the Patriots can control Ray Rice they will be able to outscore the Ravens. The Ravens meanwhile need to stop Tom Brady to give themselves a chance in this game. That means getting pressure on Brady and taking away his go-to targets this year, his tight ends. The X-factor is that this game is in New England. Baltimore’s losses to the Titans, Jaguars, and Seahawks cost them a chance from hosting this game and in effect probably cost them a shot in the Super Bowl. The Ravens can win this game, but the safe bet is on the Patriots.
New York Giants 27 at San Francisco 49ers 17
This is the way this game should go, but I highly doubt it will. Deep down, no matter how much I hate to admit it, I know it is the 49ers season. It is just their season and there is no other way to explain it. How else do you explain Alex Smith scoring a touchdown on a 30 yard bootleg call on a 3rd and 8??? Really?? Anyways I have to admit I was wrong all year about them and must congratulate them for what they have achieved this far. For the game, this is a tossup call, but I feel the Giants are 10 points better in this game. It is always tough to beat the same team twice in one season. The Giants have also been here before and know how to handle themselves. The 49ers just played in one of the more emotional games you can be apart of and that could be tough for them to duplicate again. Just ask the Broncos about that. Both teams have very good defenses, but are vulnerable in the secondary. The Giants have the better offense by far if they can get the run game going. If the Giants can run on the 49ers strength, their run defense, they will win this one by two scores. Both teams believe it is their destiny to win this game and we should be in for a great hard-hitting football game.