After a great slate of games this past weekend, in which the 49ers shocked the Saints in an instant classic, and the Broncos' Tebowmania train was finally derailed by the New England Patriots, we look ahead to the NFC and AFC Championship games.
In the first game of the day, the Patriots and Tom Brady are matched up against Ray Lewis and the Ravens. In the late game, the 49ers and Alex Smith will take on the New York Giants and Eli Manning. It should be another awesome day of NFL playoff action.
So, here are my AFC/NFC playoff picks against the spread.
The Ravens were able to get it done against the Houston Texans this past weekend, and the defense looked great. Having said that, the offense was about as anemic as we've seen all year. Were it not for all of the turnovers that the defense forced, Joe Flacco and the gang might be sitting and watching form home this weekend instead of playing.
Brady and the New England offense looked absolutely fantastic against the staunch defensive unit of the Denver Broncos that came in ranked as one of the top defenses in the NFL. Brady threw for six touchdown passes and honestly probably could've thrown for 10 if they didn't gear down in the second half. On the other side of the ball, the "horrible" Pats defense looked very good, and seems to be hitting its stride at the right time.
In this game I think that the Patriots will simply overwhelm the Ravens, and the Ravens' offense won't be able to keep pace. If Brady plays at even 80 percent of the level that he did against the Broncos, the Patriots should roll in this game and win by at least two touchdowns. Roll with the Patriots all day against the spread; they'll be playing in the Super Bowl February 5th.
This game is being handicapped as a virtual coinflip. I agree with this, I think it's incredibly tight and the difference could be that San Francisco is playing at home with the Giants having to make the cross country trip and play on the road in San Fran.
The 49ers were very impressive against New Orleans. Alex Smith finally gave a clutch performance and pulled through for the 49ers, while the defense stepped up when they had to and showed why they're rated so highly. The Giants played perhaps their best game of the season when they outclassed the Packers and won by 17 on the road at Lambeau Field.
I think that Alex Smith will play another great game and will lead the 49ers to a victory, possibly on a last second David Akers field goal. I think the Giants' magic will run out, as it will be really difficult against the defense of the 49ers. Look for a San Francisco vs. New England showdown to determine the Super Bowl champion in a few weeks.