NFL Playoff Predictions: Bold Predictions for the Conference Championships

Tony Santorsa@@TonySantorsaSenior Writer IIJanuary 20, 2012

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 14:  (L-R) Tom Brady #12 and Rob Gronkowski #87 of the New England Patriots celebrate after Gronkowski caught a 10-yard touchdown reception from Brady in the first quarter against the Denver Broncos during their AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Gillette Stadium on January 14, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

By the end of Sunday night, we will know who will be squaring off in Super Bowl XLVI. 

For the AFC championship, we have the Baltimore Ravens making a trip up to Foxborough to take on the New England Patriots, while in the NFC, the New York Giants will be traveling coast-to-coast to battle it out with the San Francisco 49ers. 

In that spirit, let's take a look at my weekly bold predictions for the NFL's conference championship weekend. 

Joe Flacco Will Throw Two or More Interceptions

Coming into Sunday, I believe New England's defense game-plan will be rather simple: Stop Ray Rice and force Joe Flacco to throw.

Flacco has been a terrible playoff quarterback, as he's completed just 53.1 percent of his career postseason passes while averaging only 153.3 yards per-game and tossing six touchdowns compared to seven interceptions. 

If Rice is contained and the Ravens are forced to throw, then Flacco will be picked off two or more times. 

Tom Brady Will Throw Three or More Touchdowns

There is no one that is playing at the same high level that Tom Brady is right now—and I mean no one.

I firmly believe that he will have his way with Baltimore's defense, no matter how much pressure they put on him. 

Brady simply has too many weapons that create mismatches across the field. He will throw at least three touchdowns Sunday afternoon. 

Rob Gronkowski Will Catch Two Touchdowns

While Tom Brady throws at least three touchdowns, two of those scores will be in the hands of Rob Gronkowski.

Gronkowski is coming off of an incredible game against the Denver Broncos last Saturday night, as he reeled in 10 catches for 145 yards and scored three times. He may not be that unstoppable, but he will have his way with Baltimore's defense. 

New England Will Beat Baltimore, 31-17

This is going to be New England's sixth AFC championship appearance in the last 10 years, and they will be advancing to their fifth Super Bowl in the last 10 years. 

Brady and New England's offense are playing on another planet right now and will be simply too much for Joe Flacco and the Ravens to handle. 

Frank Gore Will be Held Under 100 Yards Rushing

A week ago against the New Orleans Saints, Frank Gore ran for 89 yards on just 13 touches.

I foresee a similar game for Gore, as I have a feeling that Jim Harbaugh will put the ball in Alex Smith's hands more and let him sling it around the field. 

Victor Cruz Will Compile 100-plus Receiving Yards

When these two teams met back in Week 10, Victor Cruz had a solid game, as he snagged six passes for a total of 84 yards. 

This Sunday night, I see Cruz bettering this stats significantly, as he'll compile at least 100 yards receiving. 

Alex Smith Will Throw At Least Two Interceptions

As I previously predicted that Gore's touches will be limited, that means that Alex Smith will be throwing the ball around.

With that being said, I believe that he'll have a game that he'll want to forget, as he'll be picked off at least two times. 

New York Will Beat San Francisco, 27-20

Back in Week 10 when the Giants made the trip out to San Fran, they fell short by just a touchdown—but I believe that the score will reverse this time around.

The Giants are simply the hottest team in football right now and will continue to be road warriors this postseason, much like they were in 2007, and advance to the Super Bowl. 

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