Wednesday, January 19, 2011

2011 NFL Championship Round Predictions

After another weekend of good football, we are now down to four. Here are my picks for who will be going to Dallas. Remember, all picks are made strictly based on who I think will win and do not take the spread into consideration.

Record Last Week: 3-1, .750
Playoff Overall: 4-4, .500

Sunday Games:

NFC Championship
Packers @ Bears
You've heard it before but it bears repeating: these two teams have played each other 181 times in their long history and yet this is only the second time they will meet in the playoffs. That's remarkable. What's also remarkable is how quickly the Packers have gone from the 6th seed in the NFC to Super Bowl favorites. While everyone picked them in the preseason to go the distance, they stumbled at midseason as they dealt with injuries, losing to the lowly Redskins and the Dolphins in overtime. A late season injury to Aaron Rodgers set them back, too, which is how they became possibly the best 6th seed ever. These two teams have met twice this season and played close, low-scoring games, with each team winning at home. With the way Aaron Rodgers is playing right now and the Packers having at least some semblance of a running game, I expect them to put up plenty of points. It will be up to the Bears to keep up and I simply don't see it happening. My pick: Packers

AFC Championship
Jets @ Steelers

Despite all the bluster and all the controversy, Rex Ryan has done one hell of a job with the Jets, taking them to back-to-back AFC Championship games in his first two years as head coach. He has a way of getting his teams motivated to win games they have no business winning, like their upset over the Chargers last year and their unlikely win over the Patriots last week. If they want to pull of another upset this week, Mark Sanchez is once again going to have to play way above his ability and the Jets defense is going to have to create havoc for the Steelers banged-up offensive line. Ben Roethlisberger is going to have his hands full trying to perform his escape act against a hungry Jets defense but I like the Steelers chances of putting up some points because they have something the Patriots don't have: a deep threat. Mike Wallace should be able to spread the field, something the Pats couldn't do, and that will take the Jets out of what they did last week and force them to have some help deep. I expect this one to be close and low-scoring but I expect Pittsburgh to edge out the Jets after they put pressure on Sanchez and force him into a few bad turnovers. My pick: Steelers

Those are my picks for the Championship round of the NFL Playoffs. Check back in two weeks for my Super Bowl pick. Feel free to discuss, argue or make your own picks in the comments section!

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