The 2008 NFL Championship Round

Joe HastenContributor IJanuary 12, 2009

These playoffs so far have been great. Who could have thought that both No. 1 seeds in both conferences would go down within 24 hours of one another? Now we are left with four teams and two great matchups next Sunday.

On the AFC side, we have another rematch between the two best defences in the NFL, the Ravens and the Steelers. Both of the games played in the regular season were tough defensive games. We can expect the same on Sunday.

On defence, the Ravens play a 3-4 but love to blitz with their linebackers. They have somewhat weak cornerbacks, but Ed Reed makes up for his teammates' weaknesses. The Steelers on offence have Willie Parker, who is fast, but we will need to see if he can break past the Ravens' front seven.

Another big question about the Steeler's offence is their quarterback, Big Ben Roethlisberger. He suffered a concussion in Week 17 and concussions usually take longer to completely heal. I saw what he did last Sunday, but the Ravens are faster than the Chargers.

The pressure up front will affect the passing game of the Steelers. Santonio Holmes needs time to break open into the flat on his fly routs, and Hines Ward needs time to get open over the middle. If the Steelers' line cannot pick up the blitzes, get ready for a long game for the Ben Roethlisberger.

The Steelers also play a 3-4 defensive front. They also blitz, and will try to confuse young Joe Flacco. They will switch their attack all game, and keep Flacco on his toes.

Flacco tends to make mistakes like most rookies in the NFL. He has a great defence, but he will also need to score points to win this game. Expect a low-scoring game, where every yard is valuable.

Now to predict the outcome of this game. One position will decide the winner. I think that Ed Reed will intercept a pass and bring it in for a touchdown, and that will be all the offence that the Ravens need. Ravens 13, Steelers 7.

On the NFC side, we have an unbelievable offence against a solid defence, and a great offence against a defence that continues to improve itself every week. Which team is which description?

People can make valid arguments that the Cardinals are the most versatile offence in the league. They have Fitzgerald, who if the ball is anywhere near him, it is a catch. Also, over the course of the playoffs, Edgerin James has shown that he still has a little bit left.

Also, the Eagles are a strong offence. Westbrook is a great running back, and McNabb is a versatile quarterback who can run or pass for yardage.

The Cardinals have shown that their defence is strong. They annihilated Jake Delhomme on Saturday Night. Also, the Eagles have a tough defence, staring Asante Samuel, who has two picks, one which he returned for a touchdown, and one that he set up another.

This game will also be a nail-biter, but I think that the Cardinals can pull it off. Larry Fitzgerald is just too good.