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Predictions for the AFC and NFC Championship Games

January 18th, 2014 at 7:28 AM
By Jeff D. Gorman

San Francisco at Seattle

These NFC West rivals have built a lot of animosity over the last two seasons, and with Super Bowl on the line, both teams need to watch out for costly penalties.

Seattle’s 12th Man edge is considerable, as they have been nearly impossible to beat at CenturyLink Field.

In order to pull off the upset, San Francisco will have to concentrate on stopping Marshawn Lynch’s ground attack. The Seattle passing attack has sputtered recently, so the 49ers have to challenge the Seahawks to beat them through the air.

Colin Kaepernick has emerged as a cool-headed, clutch playoff quarterback in only his second year in the league. He and the 49ers have won on the road in freezing Green Bay and in Carolina and will have to do it one more time to reach the Super Bowl.

It won’t happen, though. Seattle has been building toward this moment all year. With the best defensive in the league and the crowd behind them, the Seahawks will move on to their second Super Bowl.

Prediction: Seahawks 17, 49ers 13

 

New England at Denver

Fans and pundits are talking so much about the matchup between Tom Brady and Payton Manning, that’s easy to overlook the important of the running attack in this AFC title game.

The Patriots neutralized Andrew Luck last week by running all over the Colts defense. LeGarrette Blount ran for four touchdowns and Stevan Ridley added two more.

Denver running back Knowshon Moreno has already left his mark on the Patriots, as he ran for 224 yards when the teams met in New England on Nov. 24.

After both teams battle for ground dominance, the quarterbacks will take over. Both can lead a heroic last-minute driver, so whoever has the ball last will lead his team to the Super Bowl. Payton Manning will get the job done to continue his amazing season

Prediction: Denver 30, New England 28

Tags: Cleveland, Cleveland Browns, Football, NFL

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