The Knight Crier’s NFL Conference Championship predictions

Arizona+Cardinals+running+back+David+Johnson+%2831%29+is+hit+by+Green+Bay+Packers+inside+linebacker+Jake+Ryan+%2847%29+during+the+first+half+of+an+NFL+divisional+game+last+Saturday+in+Glendale%2C+Ariz.+%28Ross+D.+Franklin+%7C+The+Associated+Press%29
Back to Article
Back to Article

The Knight Crier’s NFL Conference Championship predictions

Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson (31) is hit by Green Bay Packers inside linebacker Jake Ryan (47) during the first half of an NFL divisional game last Saturday in Glendale, Ariz. (Ross D. Franklin | The Associated Press)

Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson (31) is hit by Green Bay Packers inside linebacker Jake Ryan (47) during the first half of an NFL divisional game last Saturday in Glendale, Ariz. (Ross D. Franklin | The Associated Press)

Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson (31) is hit by Green Bay Packers inside linebacker Jake Ryan (47) during the first half of an NFL divisional game last Saturday in Glendale, Ariz. (Ross D. Franklin | The Associated Press)

Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson (31) is hit by Green Bay Packers inside linebacker Jake Ryan (47) during the first half of an NFL divisional game last Saturday in Glendale, Ariz. (Ross D. Franklin | The Associated Press)

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Football is really funny sometimes. Two weeks ago, the world saw all of the wildcard underdogs prevail against the division winners. Last week, the world saw all of the wildcard underdogs dismantled by the higher seeds. It’s incredible, really, how things work out. So here we are, at the League Champion games, dominated by #1 and 2 seeds. With no team dominating the scene at the moment, this could be the week where one of the teams emerge as the Super Bowl favorite. But who will see themselves at the promiseland? The Knight Crier staff once again look into their magic crystal ball.

LEADERBOARD
Dante’: 8-0
Ryan: 6-2
Kee:3-5

#2 New England Patriots at #1 Denver Broncos – AFC Championship Game
Kee:
At this point, New England seems to be the favorite to take home the Lombardi trophy; not because they have been invincible, but because the other teams have shown signs of critical weakness. Amongst the mortals have been the Fightin’ Belichicks, who never seem to go away and instead stay right there in contention. Once they get ahead on the lead, they seem to never look back, as they forced Kansas City to make Alex Smith throw the ball incredible amount of times. With Peyton Manning manning (sorry) the helm, as great as he is (was), it’s going to be a problem. Denver really struggled to move the ball against the vulnerable Pittsburgh secondary, and the receivers are simply not making enough plays for the ol’ gunslinger. Now facing the much tougher Patriots secondary, Denver is seriously wondering how they are going to put up enough points to compete with the Patriots offense that looked even more dangerous now with Edelman back. As exciting as it is to see Brady and Manning face off for the last time, the game itself won’t be a thriller. I’m expecting New England to cruise to victory.
Prediction: 31-14 New England

Ryan: Tom Brady is the best of all time. Manning always chokes in the playoffs and they probably shouldn’t have won last week but the Steelers had a costly fumble which sent the Broncos to the next round. They cruised by the Chiefs and will cruise into the Super Bowl too with an easy win in Mile High. I’m expecting a touchdown from both Gronk and Edelman.
Prediction: 27-21 New England

Dante’:
The Broncos narrowly escaped the divisional round last week against the battered and bruised Pittsburgh Steelers. That was very alarming to watch. I think the Broncos are in deep trouble on defense. They had a hard time getting to Ben Roethlisberger, which lead to him passing for 339 yards, and they could not stop Martavis Bryant, even with the absence of Antonio Brown, which resulted in him catching 9 receptions for 154 yards, as well as, 40 yards rushing. The Patriots are coming into championship week with no injuries, unlike the Steelers last week. The Broncos offense got off to a slow start last week against the Steelers. Their slow starts to games can not occur again this week, because the Patriots are a quick strike team and they can score points in a hurry. The Patriots got out to a fast start last week against the Chiefs, and never gave up the league throughout the whole game. By doing this, they forced Kansas City to abandoned the run, which is their strength, and caused them to throw the ball 50 times with Alex Smith. The New England Patriots are probably the best team in taking the opposition out of their element. That will be the case once again this week. The Denver Broncos have relied on their running attack a lot more the past few games, especially now that the aging Peyton Manning is starting to lose the battle to father time. If the Patriots defense can do what what they did last week to the Chiefs, and shut down the run and force the Broncos to pass, then they can come out with a win. Brady vs. Manning XVII could likely be the last time we see these two Hall of Fame signal callers face off in the AFC Championship.
Prediction: 30-24 New England

#2 Arizona Cardinals at #1 Carolina Panthers – NFC Championship Game
Kee:
Carolina not only looked like a number one seed last week, but also the best team in the league. The problem is that they only could keep it up for one half. Seattle was making a furious comeback, and that seems to be a trend against the Panthers this season. The NFC South Champs have looked really good for the majority of the game this season, but they have blown away too many leads to elite quarterbacks, like Carson Palmer. Carolina was able to establish a run game very early, with Jonathan Stewart breaking out for a long gain on the first play of the game. However, I feel like it was more of a lucky start that set tone than establishing a legitimate ground game. After the first drive which saw the Panthers ran the ball on every single play, Carolina was able to set Cam Newton up for read options and deep throws to Ted Ginn and Greg Olsen. Their defense was able to put pressure on Wilson to force him into throws he did not want to make, and it set up easy scores for the number one seed. The problem is that Wilson did not have any receiver that could make play for him when he really needed one. Palmer has one of the best receivers in the game, Larry Fitzgerald. When he gets in trouble, he just needs to give Fitz a chance to catch the ball, and he will go get it. While Tyrann Mathieu will still be missed against the Superman, Arizona has enough playmakers in the secondary to make the Panthers one-dimensional. It will be close, but Arizona will come out on top.
Prediction: 21-18 Arizona

Ryan: I was a little skeptical about the Panthers winning in the playoffs but after they man-handled the Seahawks in the first half of the Divisional game, I’m expecting another game like that against the Cardinals. Cam Newton is an unstoppable force and rallies the team around him, plus the defense is thriving right now. Panthers vs Pats Super Bowl.
Prediction: 35-31 Carolina

Dante’: It took the late game heroics of 32 year old Larry Fitzgerald, as well as a non-flipped coin in overtime, for the Cardinals to get past the Green Bay Packers. The Packers lack of depth on defense made it easy for the Cardinals to just throw the ball down field number eleven, when the fourth quarter and overtime came. I have never seen Larry Fitzgerald open on consecutive plays more than I did last week. The physical and mental fatigue just caught up with the Pack. For goodness sake, he basically out ran the whole Green Bay defense on a 76 yard reception in overtime and then scored the game-winning touchdown off of a shovel pass. The Green Bay defense simply had no answer for him, and that stems from their lack of depth. The Carolina Panthers don’t have that problem though. Their defense is the best in the NFL, and it showed last week against the defending NFC champion Seattle Seahawks. The Panthers blanked the Seahawks in the first half and lead the contest 31-0 at halftime. Yeah Carolina got into relax mode in the second half, but the lead was to difficult to overcome. They can stop Larry Fitzgerald, most likely with Pro Bowl cornerback Josh Norman shadowing Fitz’ all game. The rest of the defense will stay keen on their assignments and limit the big plays. Getting to Carson Palmer, and putting constant pressure on him for four quarters, will cause him to make errant throws that will fall in the hands to a Carolina defensive player. Carolina leads the league with 37 turnovers this season, and that is the difference. When the Panthers generate a turnover, the offense, lead by MVP front runner Cam Newton, finishes the job and puts points on the board. If Arizona does not give the ball away, they have a chance. I don’t see that happening, however. Cameron Newton is playing his best football and he is focused and having fun while doing so. I don’t see the Carolina Panthers messing this one up.
Prediction: 38-30 Carolina

Print Friendly, PDF & Email