Overtime’s Jeff Thurn Picks This Weekends NFL Games
Looking at my past history over the playoffs, you may want to book one of my picks and be leery of the other.
I am sitting directly at .500 for the entire playoffs. This week though, I think I make it over the hump to the promise land and go 100%.
With the two Conference Championship games on the horizon on Sunday, I believe that both underdogs will win and move on to the Super Bowl.
Let's look first at the AFC Championship Game between Baltimore and the home team, the New England Patriots.
This match-up is a rematch of last years AFC Championship Game where Baltimore had New England on the ropes.
If Baltimore's wide receiver Lee Evans would of held onto the football in the end-zone the Ravens would of won. After that missed opportunity, if kicker Billy Cundiff would of made his field goal instead of sending it wide left, the game would've gone into Overtime.
Instead the Patriots moved on to eventually lose to the Giants in the Super Bowl.
In this game, I think again, you will see a close game. However, I believe the Ravens will come out on the winning side this go around.
The gap between Joe Flacco and Tom Brady is not as big as some may think and Flacco is playing right now at a MVP level in these playoffs.
Throughout the season for the Patriots, the secondary has been a issue as far as consistency and I think the Ravens offense will be able to exploit it.
Brady will get his, but possibly a turnover or two from the offense will set the Ravens offense up nicely to turn those mishaps into points.
Plus, don't discount the motivation and inspiration factor of Ray Lewis and how that may play a factor in the contest.
I'm taking the Baltimore Ravens to win 27-21 over the New England Patriots in this years AFC Championship game.
Let's switch gears and look at the NFC Championship game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Atlanta Falcons.
During the regular season Atlanta was 7-1 at home and the only loss came in a meaningless game in the final week of the season.
Atlanta is a different team at home than on the road and I think the same is true for San Francisco. Colin Kaepernick has only started one playoff game. Granted it was a tremendous performance last week vs. the Packers, but it was at home.
Playoff games on the road are a completely different animal and Kaepernick will find that out on Sunday.
I'm not convinced he will be up to the challenge and may struggle at some points of the game and look for couple of turnovers in the process.
The 49er's have the edge as far as physicality goes, but the Falcons has the edge with their team speed. The big match-up you need to pay attention to is the WR's of the Falcons vs. the DB's of the 49ers.
Roddy White and Julio Jones of Atlanta are the best duo at the wide receiver positions in the NFL period. Going against the one weakness of the 49er's in their secondary will play into the hand of Falcons QB Matt Ryan and those wide receivers.
Look for big plays all day from the passing game of Atlanta as they move on in the NFC.
I predict the Atlanta Falcons will defeat the San Francisco 49ers 31-23 on Sunday, setting up a Ravens/Falcons Super Bowl in New Orleans.