Saturday, January 18, 2014

Clown Without Pity's 2014 Conference Championship picks

Well well well, looks like I was wrong about that Chargers-are-goin’-to-the-Super-Bowl! pick. But after rubbing my temples yet again in a prognosticating fashion and allowing some synapses to fire, who do I think will win the Conference Championships?

Here’s the short ‘n sweet of it:

New England at Denver
At some point, their brutal procession of injuries on the defensive side is going to cost New England a shot at the Super Bowl, and I think they will reach that point Sunday afternoon at Mile High Stadium where sunny skies are on the forecast. No Vince Wilfork and Tommy “I Used to Be an Overpaid and Underachieving Raider” Kelly to help plug up the middle; no Jerod Mayo to patrol the field; a banged up Kyle Arrington to try and keep up with the Broncos quartet of dangerous receivers. Good luck with that, New England! This season may be one of Sith Lord Belichick’s finest coaching performances ever, but I don’t think he’ll come up with enough schemes to overcome all the injuries on defense. They played great last week against the Colts, but how can they sufficiently slow down Denver’s cagey and talented Four Horsemen, and a decent rushing attack? I think Manning will have a competent game and avoid making too many mistakes, and I think Brady's going to miss Gronkowski in this game. Denver’s got this one.

San Francisco at Seattle
Oh boy oh boy oh boy! I can’t wait for this one!

If you’re reading this, you’re probably aware of how much the Seattle offense has struggled in the past few weeks to advance the ball downfield, let alone generate points. Last week’s game against the Saints should have been a convincing victory, or even a blowout, but outside of Marshawn Lynch the Seahawks weren’t able to muster much offense. Yes, yes, it was raining hard, but it’s been no aberration. And to make matters worst for the Seahawks, Percy “I Can’t Stay On the Field” Harvin has officially been ruled out for the game, so Russell Wilson—who I’ve had a man-crush on since last year—is back to throwing to an underwhelming 2nd round draft pick out of Notre Dame, an undrafted free agent receiver from Stanford, and a competent tight end. A few weeks ago, the Cardinals showed how an aggressive defense with a shutdown corner like Patrick Peterson can take the Seahawks down at home even when they easily won the turnover battle.

As for the Niners, they’re peaking at the absolute best time: eight straight wins, offense is averaging nearly 26 points per game in that stretch, which include games against the Seahawks (albeit at home) plus road games against the Cardinals and Panthers. Though they got outplayed by the Panthers for the first half of last week’s game, they hung on, got bailed out by their red zone defense and earned a convincing victory on the road against a very tough and physical defense. I was very impressed by the Niners, which was definitely not how I felt about the Seahawks last week.

The Niners blowout loss at CenturyLink Field during Week 2 of the season wasn’t on the defense; they held up until late third quarter despite all of the turnovers. I don’t think their defense will have troubles against the Seahawks. The 49ers play calling process and Kaepernick’s decision-making is what I would worry about if I were a Niner fan.

But somehow, I doubt the Niners will have as many turnovers this week as they did in their Week 2 shaming. It will be close, but I think the Niners are going to squeak this one out. After Newton threw that game-sealing interception late in the 4th quarter of last week’s game, I just had this sense that this will finally be the Niners season. (But then again, need I remind you that I went whole hog with the Chargers as my Super Bowl dark horse and where did that prediction go?)

We’ll find out on Sunday!

No comments:

Post a Comment