Finally we made it to, in my opinion, the best Sunday for the NFL. The NFC and AFC Championship games tomorrow should be as good as advertised. Both games will be complete coin flips for the gambler, and really nobody should be surprised by any four of the teams going on and winning the Super Bowl on February 5th. But, being the chronic sports gambler that I am, I have to bet on something tomorrow so here’s what I am thinking as of now.
The first game of the day starts at 3 and its between the Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots. The line is the Pats by 9 which I think is way too high. This game will be won at the line of scrimmage, if the Ravens front seven can find a way to get to Brady, the chances of Baltimore winning are very good. This may be the last hurrah for Ray Lewis and Ed Reed playing together, and I do not see the mystique of Gillette Stadium in the playoffs proving too pivotal in this game. The Ravens are composed of veterans who all have playoff experience, and the big stage will not leave them feeling star struck. The key match-up will come down to how the secondary will deal with the Pats’ dynamic duo at tight end with Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski. Brady will be thirsty to get back to his fifth Super Bowl following their loss to the Giants in ’08. And, the Ravens on offense are nowhere near the threat that the Pats deliver. Offensively, they should rely heavily on Ray Rice, and should not allow Flacco opportunities to lose the game for them. I still think the Pats will pull this one out in a close one, but again, I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Ravens win either. That being said, I’m going to take the Ravens and the points; I will also predict a touchdown by Ed Reed in this game. I’m rooting for the Ravens, but my gut says that Brady won’t let his team down.
The second game of the night starts at 6:30 out in San Fransisco between the New York Giants and the 49ers. The spread in the game has the 49ers being favored by 3 points. Again, when it comes to betting on this game I will definitely take the “Underdog” in the Giants. I just think they are too hot right now, offensively and defensively. I know the 49ers have if not the best, one the three best defenses in the league, but I just don’t think any body will stop Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks, at least for the rest of this year. Eli has been reminding us all of his older brother lately, and Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs give the Giants a legitimate running game. The game will come down to the 49ers quarterback Alex Smith. As long as he doesn’t make costly mistakes, and they can rely heavily on handing the ball off to Frank Gore they will be in good shape come time for the fourth quarter. The Giants defensive front four, which seemingly consists of fifteen inter-changeable people, will make Smith’s life uncomfortable in the pocket. If they can rattle Alex Smith, the 49ers will be in deep trouble. The Giants will win this game, and honestly, I don’t really think it will be very close.
So, I’m looking at a rematch of the 2007-08 NFL season’s Super Bowl between the Giants and the Pats. But, I don’t want to jump ahead of myself, I’m really looking forward to these games tomorrow. Enjoy watching the games, Goose Island 312’s will be by my side, as it should be.