Written by: Gary Vass
AFC Championship Game
Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots (-7 50)
A couple years ago this was the wild card matchup and the Ravens beat the Patriots 33-14. This year we have one of the top defenses against Tom Brady and his tight ends, two 1,000 yard tight ends. Rob Gronkowski broke the single season record for a tight end with 17 touchdowns. Brady looked unstoppable last week against Denver, with six touchdown passes. It’s been over a decade since the Ravens won the Super Bowl. John Harbaugh has a chance to coach against his brother, Jim, in the Super Bowl. That said, I am going with Billy Belichick and the offensive juggernaut of the Patriots.
My Picks: Patriots, Over 50
NFC Championship Game
New York Giants at San Francisco 49ers (-2 ½ 41 ½ )
These teams met in Week 10 with the 49ers winning 27-20. The 49ers showed some offense to go with their elite defense last week and pulled out a classic win over New Orleans. San Francisco will need to follow that up against a hot Giants team. New York’s defense is finally healthy with 17 sacks in the last four games. Eli Manning and the offense are peaking at the right time. The Giants are 4-0 in conference championship games. The 49ers caught a huge break with the Packers losing, getting the home field for the NFC Championship game as a result. If they can control the red zone and force turnovers (they had five against the Saints) they have a great chance to get to the Super Bowl. Alex Smith has been quite impressive this year and he is at his best at home. The 49ers are the best team this year covering the point spread covering 13 times.
My Picks: 49ers, Over 41 ½
If you like trends here are a few to clear your mind or confuse you more:
- Teams that beat the defending Super Bowl champs in the Wild card or Division round are 0-9 in the following round since 1980.
- In Conference Championship games the winning team has covered the spread 39 out of 40 times since 1983.
- The favorites are 6-2 in the last eight Championship games.
- Favorites covered both games last year.
- Favorites giving up 7-10 points have covered 15 out of 19 times.
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