Come Sunday night we will know the two teams that will fight it out for Super Bowl 46 as there are just two games to go until Indianapolis. The Patriots take on the Ravens and the Giants head into San Francisco in the Conference Championships.
Giants at Niners
The last time Eli manning and the New York Giants were in the NFC Championship they went on to win the Super Bowl.
The New York Giants travel to San Francisco on Sunday in a clash for the NFC title and more importantly, a Super Bowl birth. Giants quarterback Eli Manning has brought back memories of New York’s 2007 playoff run, which ended with the Giants defeating the undefeated Patriots in Super Bowl 42.
The Giants met the 49ers on November 13th, Manning threw for 311 yards with 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions and had an opportunity to tie the game but came up just short as Justin Smith batted down a 4th down pass inside the red zone. The Giants defensive line will look to pressure Alex smith, having forced 4 sacks last weekend against the Green Bay Packers.
The 49ers were able to beat the favored New Orleans Saints last weekend, their first playoff win in 9 years. San Francisco comes into Sunday’s game with the league’s top rushing defense, only allowing 77.3 yards per game and having one of the NFL’s top pass rushers in Aldon Smith. Smith, who is only a rookie, leads his team in sacks with 14. The 49ers also are tied for first in league take aways, they were able to stifle the Saints offense causing 5 turnovers. One of the unsung heroes for the 49ers is former first pick Alex Smith. Smith threw for 299 yards and 3 touchdowns accumulating an impressive 103 rating, he will look to continue his success on Sunday.
I believe the 49ers, with home field advantage, should take this game. Their defense has looked good forcing 5 turnovers against what might be the best offense in the NFL and Smith is playing well. I like the 49ers -2.5 as the first of my NFL picks this weekend.
Ravens at Patriots
The Baltimore Ravens travel to Foxborough on Sunday to take on the New England Patriots and will look to get back to the Super Bowl and much like they did in 2000, they will use defense to get there. Joe Flacco and the Ravens offense looked a bit rocky last Sunday against the Houston Texans, a team that has been hampered by injuries. Flacco only threw for 176 yards as he failed to lead the Ravens offense down the field numerous times. It took 4 turnovers by the Texans’ offense to give the Ravens a victory. The Ravens defense ranks third in the NFL 16 points and 288 yards allowed per game. They will need a strong defensive performance to undermine Tom Brady and the Patriots.
The last time Tom Brady faced the Baltimore Ravens in the playoffs, things did not fair well for Brady. The Patriots lost to the Ravens in a lopsided 33-14 defeat causing Brady to have quite possibly his worst playoff performance of his career. Brady threw 3 interceptions, was sacked 3 times and only threw for 154 yards, he will need to have a much better game if the Patriots want to reach another Super Bowl. A big key for the Patriots is tight end Rob Gronkowski who broke the NFL single season records for his position with 1,327 yards and 17 tds. Gronkowski played well last weekend against Denver catching 10 passes for 145 yards and 3 touchdowns. He will be needed to make big plays for the Patriots against a tough Baltimore defense.
I like Baltimore here, the Patriots have had a dynamic offense the last 3 seasons yet seem to stumble every year in the playoffs, I believe it is because of their defense. Baltimore has the defense and the running game to knock the Pats off.