NFL Playoff Predictions: Stars Who Will Shine in Conference Championship Games

Mike HoagCorrespondent IIJanuary 18, 2013

Jan 12, 2013; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Green Bay Packers during the third quarter of the NFC divisional round playoff game at Candlestick Park.  Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

All it takes is one gigantic outburst, like Colin Kaepernick’s record-setting performance against the Green Bay Packers, to throw all playoff predictions out the window.

The conference championship games are no different. Here are the four best teams playing for a shot at NFL immortality. They didn’t get here by accident, either.

And they didn’t get here by relying solely on one player’s success or failure. That means anyone can go off for any of these teams on Championship Sunday.

Here’s a prediction for which star will shine brightest for each team.


Ray Lewis, LB, Baltimore Ravens

The 17-year veteran middle linebacker had an impressive performance in what many believed to be his final stand last week against Denver. If there is anyone who can instinctively and aggressively keep tabs on the speedy running backs of the New England Patriots, it’s Ray Lewis.

Look for the dynamic defender to shut down the middle of the field and keep the Patriots’ rushing game in check. He’s going to do it in dramatic fashion, recording at least two tackles for losses and delivering one gut-wrenching hit.


Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots

There isn’t a QB in the NFL that is more exciting to watch than Tom Brady. Brady orchestrates his New England Patriots offense like a smooth symphony. Watching his precision is like witnessing a surgeon as he systemically tears through opposing defenses in rapid fashion.

Brady is also one of the best championship game signal callers in the game today, if not ever. His 5-1 record in these games has put the Pats in the title game five times in the last 12 seasons. Expect some fireworks from the 35-year-old veteran as he attempts to add to his already impressive résumé.


Colin Kaepernick, QB, San Francisco 49ers

Kaepernick is a young gun, a vision of the future. While the old school isn’t ready for a changing of the guard, the sophomore QB is ready to make a push for it. The time is now, and he has the perfect team around him to make it happen.

He may not deliver an encore of his record-setting 181-yard performance against the Green Bay Packers last week. Still, his ability to move with the football will keep the Atlanta Falcons on their toes and allow him to work the ball down the field in the intermediate and deep passing games.

Expect some fireworks from the young QB as he attempts to lead his team to the Super Bowl.


Roddy White, WR, Atlanta Falcons

The San Francisco 49ers know what to expect. Matt Ryan is going to throw the football, a lot, to his speedy wide receivers Julio Jones and Roddy White. Of the two, White is the veteran and has a knack for confusing coverages and finding space in the secondary. Jones has the physical tools but could be shut down by the impressive 49ers defense.

White’s veteran skills, coupled with his speed and rapport with Ryan, will help him to record some big plays for his team in their quest for their second Super Bowl trip in franchise history.