The Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs was absolutely more entertaining than the Wild Card Round, with each game being decided by seven points at the most. The Seattle vs. Carolina game even got entertaining after the Seahawks tried to make a comeback in the second half; scoring 24 unanswered points compared to the Panthers zero second half points. But, it wasn’t enough, as the Panthers went on to win it anyway. Now that we have our teams set, without further ado, here are Weekly Sports World’s Weekly Picks for the Championship Round of the NFL Playoffs;
New England Patriots vs. Denver Broncos: On Sunday, we are going to be seeing another installment of the Brady/Manning rivalry; which will take place in Denver for the AFC Championship. The Broncos are going into this game with the best defense remaining of the four teams versus, well, Tom Brady. But how good is Tom Brady normally in the postseason against top ranked defenses?
Well, according to Cameron DaSilva of Fox Sports, Tom Brady is currently undefeated (3-0) against top defenses in the playoffs. That’s especially something to be said with the ever-changing carousel of receivers that Brady goes through. It shows that even though the receivers change, Tom can still be the elite quarterback that he is and carve up even the best of defenses.
On the other side, we have Peyton Manning; (insert endorsement jingle). Peyton Manning came on strong recently, finishing his game against the Steelers with 222 yards on 56.8% completion. The problem with that is he did not throw a single touchdown in that game, with all of the Broncos offense coming from C.J. Anderson and the right leg of Brandon McManus.
Overall, the Patriots are currently favored by 3 for this game, and it’s really tough to pick against a quarterback as elite as Tom Brady. But, in the end, I think I’m going to have to go with the Broncos to win this game by a score of 27-24. Denver already beat New England earlier in the year in overtime, and I believe that they will repeat that magic and beat the Patriots once again. I also do not believe that the Patriots receivers will last against the elite secondary that Denver currently has.
Arizona Cardinals vs. Carolina Panthers: These two teams were on complete opposite sides of the spectrum last week when it came to their respective games. Arizona, on one hand, had an extremely close game against the Green Bay Packers that had to be decided in overtime. Then Carolina, on the other hand, demolished the Seattle Seahawks to start the game; putting up 31 unanswered points. But, they started to take their foot off the gas, as they allowed Seattle to climb all the way back to within a touchdown before sealing the game up in the 4th.
Arizona, to start, had one of the best offenses this season; averaging a league leading 408.3 yards per game to go along with their second best 30.6 points per game. They were also in the Top 5 for defenses in the league, giving up an average of 321.7 YDS per game, and 19.6 points per game. The big problem that I have with them is that they had to go to overtime against a Green Bay team that hasn’t been the top notch team that we are use to seeing from them.
Then, you have Carolina, who has been the best team in the league for the entire season; finishing the year off at 15-1 and beating the Seattle Seahawks in the Divisional Round of the playoffs. When it comes to offense, the Cardinals might’ve had the second best scoring offense in the league; but the Panthers had THE BEST scoring offense at 31.3. We also saw how stellar their defense could be, holding Seattle to zero first half points last week. But, sticking with that game, we all saw that Carolina couldn’t hold off Seattle as the Seahawks were able to climb back to within 7.
In this game, we are going to be seeing two of the best offenses in the league squaring off for the right to be called NFC Champions. So with that being said, it looks like this is going to turn into a game centered around the defenses, and who can stand up the strongest. So because of that, and from what I saw last week, right now I am going with Carolina to win by a score of 27-24. This is going to be a relatively high scoring game, with both sides trading shots back and forth. But, in the end, I think Carolina will continue their dominance and move on to the Super Bowl to face the Denver Broncos. But, as a side note, don’t be surprised to see this game go into overtime, or even the Cardinals winning this game with the way we saw Carolina’s defense fall apart last week.
COMMENT BELOW with your picks!
DaSilva, Cameron. “Brady’s Record against No. 1 Defenses Is (probably) What You’d Expect.” FOX Sports. Fox Sports Interactive Media, LLC., 20 Jan. 2016. Web. 21 Jan. 2016. <http://www.foxsports.com/nfl/story/new-england-patriots-denver-broncos-playoffs-tom-brady-defense-012016>.
ESPN.com. “NFL Total Offense/Defense Statistics-2015.” ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures, 2016. Web. 21 Jan. 2016. <http://espn.go.com/nfl/statistics/team/_/stat/total/seasontype/2>.