The Dr of the NFL’s Fearless Forecast

AFC Championship Game-New England @ Denver
Is there some sort of immutable law that states that if, in the pre-season, you pick a team to go to the Super Bowl, that you are not allowed to pick against them in the championship game? If so, I’m in a difficult spot. Before the year began, my prognostication was a Patriots-Seahawks Super Bowl, more on Seattle shortly, but I’m leaning against Brady and company today. Here’s why. Too much is being made about last week when New England ran over Indianapolis. As we pointed out, Indy couldn’t stop the run all year, so let’s make LeGarrett Blount out to be Jim Brown just yet. The Broncos run defense has been stout all year [ranked 7th in NFL] and they will provide much more resistance than the Colts did. Look for Brady to come out throwing in this game vs. a porous Broncos secondary that just lost its’ best corner in Chris Harris and is without their best pass rusher in Von Miller. I fully expect the Pats to consistently move the ball and Brady to amass at least 350 yards passing.
Bill Bellichick has a conundrum in this match up vs. Peyton, if he stacks his chips to stop Denver’s running game, Manning will devour his secondary, and if he stays in a cover 2 to prevent the big play, Peyton will audible into a run and Knowshon Moreno and company will run up and down the field on a terrible Patriot run defense [ranked 30th in NFL]. People forget that because the Colts couldn’t take advantage of it because they were a poor running team, Denver will.
In what promises to be a high scoring shootout, TD’s over FG’s will be the difference. Which team will convert in the Red Zone? Peyton completed 72% of his Red Zone passes and threw 37 red zone TD’s with zero INT’s during the regular season, look for that trend to continue. In addition, New England will be playing a road playoff game for the first time in 7 years. The Patriots are 1-5 vs. the spread in their last 6 road contests, and are 0-5 vs the number in their last 5 games played on glass. Broncos advance to the Super Bowl.
Denver 37 New England 30.

NFC Championship Game-San Francisco @ Seattle
I’ve been going back and forth on this one all week. Seattle’s been the best team all year but the 49ers are red hot and playing better right now. Home field is huge in this one but the 49ers front 7 vs. Seattle’s erratic O-line can quiet things down. Russell Wilson concerns me, he’s not played well the last 4 or 5 games and he’ll be without Percy Harvin. But Colin Kaepernick has been awful in both games he’s played in this building.
As good as Seattle’s defense is, you can run it occasionally on them. The 49ers ran for 163 yards in week 14 win against Seattle, can Gore and company repeat this on the road? This is the key to the game, if Gore is producing, the 49ers can sneak out with a win, if not, Seattle will pressure Kaepernick, contain his rushing lanes, and force him into mistakes. Much has been made of the 49ers resurgence on offense since the return of Michael Crabtree, but Richard Sherman will effectively eliminate him and Vernon Davis will have his hands full with Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas who are the best Safety tandem in the league.
I think San Francisco must get off to a healthy start to take the crowd out of it, otherwise things could snowball. Kaepernick completes just 54% of his passes when he’s trailing. Their offense is built for long drives, not short ones. This is why Gore is the key to the game, by establishing the run and sending a physical message, it could set the 49ers up for the upset. We all know that Seattle is near invincible at home but San Francisco is better equipped than any other team to pull this off.
So who wins? In a game that promises to be a tight, low scoring affair, I think it’s Seattle’s year. I trust Russell Wilson more in this spot not to make a critical error than I do Kaepernick. If both teams struggle to run it, which I expect, it gets to which QB will avoid the big mistake. No defense is better than Seattle’s at stopping the opposing QB, with the combination of pass rush and coverage ability. Look for Seattle’s secondary to get the best of Kaepernick and with the homefield to back them, Seattle returns to the Super Bowl.
Seattle 19 San Francisco 13

NFL HARD KNOCKS

Oct 10, 2012 -- 7:26pm

{musings and observations from 14 nonstop hours of Sunday viewing and eating}

Vikings 30 Titans 7    Vikes are 4-1 tied for the 2ndbest record in the NFL, but are they legit? Not Yet, Christian Ponder continues to improve ,he can run and make the short throw, but he is limited by arm strength. Love the way Minny uses Percy Harvin, split out wide, in the backfield on runs, speed sweeps, when he is healthy, he’s explosively fast. Nice to see Adrian Peterson running over people again, his recovery is remarkable.

The Titans offense is a mess right now. If Chris Johnson can’t run it, and Sunday he couldn’t, there seems to be no plan B. Thru 3 quarters, the Titans had 86 yards of offense.

Patriots 31 Broncos 21   2 weeks in a row the Pats have run for 200 yards plus. Tom Brady and a balanced attack will give future opposing d-coordinators nightmares. What happens to Wes Welker’s recent productivity when TE Aaron Hernandez returns?

Denver drops to 2-3 despite the efforts the great Peyton Manning. He dissected the Pats secondary to the tune of 31 of 44 for 345 yards 3 tds and 0 ints. He hasn’t thrown a pick since the 1stquarter of the Falcons game. The team around him must improve, especially the defense. The orange crush allowed 250 yds rushing, and New England converted 11 of 17 3rddowns. Denver is in S.D. next, and could be looking at 2-4.

49ers 45 Thieves 3  San Fran is one of, if not the best team in the NFL. However, no one ever confused Alex Smith with Joe Montana or Steve Young, An offensive juggernaut they are not. That was before they had the pleasurable experience of opposing the Buffalo defense. The 49ers last 5 possessions results: TD TD TD TD TD nice job defense. A truly horrendous effort by the Bills devoid of any level of intensity or professionalism. Frank Gore running thru cavernous holes, 49ers WR’s WIDE OPEN without a Bills defender in the same area code, the pass rush non-existent, and the tackling hideous. I wonder if the Bills defenders can look their employer in the eye this week when they pick up their paychecks? San Francisco rushed for an astounding 300 yds!!!!  They totaled a mind boggling 621 yds!!! Its hard to do that vs air. The Bills defenders are stealing money.

Ravens 9 Chiefs 6 Why hasn’t Romeo Crennel benched Matt Cassel? Thru the first 38 KC offensive plays, he allowed the QB to pass 4 times. If you have no trust in the player, which is obvious, then replace him. Give your team some hope. When Cassel was KO’d amidst cheers, Brady Quinn nearly rallied them to victory.

The Ravens have been uncharacteristically leaky against the run. KC, with no threat at QB, had 179 yds rushing at the half.

 

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