It’s my honor to have been following the Seahawks during such a successful season. So it is with some regret that I find myself giving my gut feelings for Conference Championship weekend without a Seahawks team to keep the local spirit up.
NFC. Will Asante Samuel make work against Kaepernick’s throwing? Will the 49ers QB have so many rushing yards? How will special teams be factored? Last year, a faulty Niners’ special teams fumbled away its shot at the Super Bowl. Can Matt Ryan keep the pedal to the metal? Them boys (Falcons) are thirsty in Atlanta. I expect a few delays of game on the part of Kaepernick. The Georgia Dome (at least on TV) sounds like it rivals CenturyLink Field in Seattle where Kaep had a couple or so delays of game. That kind of noise can interfere with a QB’s sound decision making. I’ll take Atlanta. Prior to the victory over the Seahawks, Atlanta didn’t have much of a run defense. Last week Atlanta kept Marshawn Lynch under a hundred yards. I think they will do their best to keep Kaepernick in the pocket, or if they allow him some running, it’ll happen between the numbers and not on the outside. The Falcons will have to give themselves opportunities to hit Kaepernick when he decides to run. The sideline runs are dangerous. They typically cause the defense to pull back as a matter of avoiding the late hit and personal foul penalties. I think Kaepernick can be very dangerous in the middle runs too, but at some point he’ll have to consider sliding for less yards. I won’t give a score prediction, but I think Atlanta takes the game. When Matt Ryan gets to scoring, he knows how to stay ahead. Just ask Drew Brees. If anyone’s challenged Matt Ryan to just keep scoring in Atlanta, it’s Brees. While Kaepernick isn’t Drew Brees, it’s hard to say anyone could score at a higher pace than Brees in the NFC South division rivalry.
AFC. Tough to go against the Patriots at home. Even with the passionate story behind the Ravens’ heavyweight champion Ray Lewis, I don’t see the Ravens prevailing here. I know many of you want to see the Geezer Bowl, with Tony Gonzalez and Ray Lewis. I just don’t think both geezers will make it. The Patriots have had their troubles with the Ravens. But my gut has spoken. It may have been biased by Boston Baked Beans I had last night. So there it is. I predict a Patriots/Falcons Super Bowl.
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