NFL Playoffs: Conference Picks

marshawn-lynch-d718a93572a27ea7The Colts showed last week that they don’t have to be one-dimensional, actually cobbling together a running game against the Broncos, who really looked lost for most of that game. Give credit where credit is due, but does that mean Andrew Luck and company have a legitimate shot in New England? I think it does, and I think they could use a lot of looks to confuse that defense of the Patriots. If they can also shut down the Pats’ running game, they may well be headed to the Super Bowl (a year early, some would say).

And what about Green Bay, who got embarrassed in Seattle in the first game of the season, and somehow escaped against the Cowboys on what many have said was a questionable call? Do they have the cojones to throw it at Richard Sherman? What about Aaron Rodgers’ calf? Will any of it matter against a defense that has played nearly as tough as the squad from last year who won it all? I think it matters, and if Rodgers is healthy enough it will make for riveting drama in the Great Northwest.

Here’s how I see the conference championships playing out…

INDIANAPOLIS @ NEW ENGLAND

It’s Tom Brady, at home, against the Colts, a team he (and Jonas Gray) picked apart in their most recent meeting, which incidentally enough was at Indianapolis. But this Colts team is different from that one, and they showed true mettle in taking out the Broncos in the divisional round in Denver. I think a reinvigorated Colts squad shows up in Foxboro this weekend and takes out the number one team in the AFC with a balanced attack, a solid offensive line, and a monster game from “Boom” Herron. That Colts defense will come ready to play, to shut down that New England rushing attack, and force Brady to throw it into tight coverage. They will focus on Gronkowski and dare Amendola, Edelman, and LaFell to beat them. Won’t happen.

GREEN BAY @ SEATTLE

In that first game of the season Aaron Rodgers famously decided not to throw in Richard Sherman’s direction, and the Packers got blown out. He’s going to have to be more creative this time out, and that offensive line will have to protect him against an opportunistic defensive front of Seattle, especially since that calf will probably still be bothering the Packers’ quarterback. Eddie Lacy will have to be tougher this time out too (he got carted off in that last matchup). But the deciding factor, in my opinion, will be how the Seattle offense fares against that Green Bay defense that played decidedly better against the Cowboys than they have been lately. I don’t think they are able to contain Russell Wilson, who will burn them on third down conversions, and the Seahawks head back to the Big Game.

The Fantasy Ace

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