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As my betting slips from my recent trip to Las Vegas will confirm, I am hardly an expert when it comes to predicting the outcome of football games.
I am very good, however, at explaining why a team SHOULD win or lose. What should happen doesn’t always happen, however.
But even though my recent track record is nothing to write home about, I feel pretty confident in sharing my picks for the AFC and NFC championship games in this forum.
Got a different opinion? Share it.
I triple-dog dare you.
San Francisco at Atlanta (Fox, 1 p.m.)
I’ve seen the analysis. I’ve heard the arguments from both sides. I saw that Bud Light commercial where the guy goes back to his old apartment where he lived when the 49ers won the Super Bowl the last time.
Here’s the real deal:
The NFL hasn’t figured out Colin Kaepernick yet. Kaepernick, who took over at the QB spot for Alex Smith midway through the season, is an excellent rusher who can, unlike Tim Tebow, throw passes when he absolutely needs to.
The Packers last week sure showed they hadn’t figured Kaepernick out. He rushed for a NFL record (not playoff record, NFL record) 181 yards from the quarterback position, along with two rushing touchdowns, one of which went for 56 yards. The way the Packers defense was set on that play, it could’ve gone for 56 miles.
Atlanta had its game against Seattle sewn up, blew it in the last 30 seconds, kicked a go-ahead field goal with 8 seconds left, then somehow managed to give the Seahawks life at the end of the game once again.
The Falcons have been hanging by the seat of their pants all year. Their seam breaks this week. San Francisco 34, Atlanta 20.
Baltimore at New England (CBS, 4:30 p.m.)
The Ravens have been among the best stories in the league this year. They’re old as dirt, they’ve taken as much physical punishment as a rented Ford Focus, and yet, they’re still here.
But Baltimore will have to be content with getting this far this year. There will be no commemorative Super Bowl ring for Ray Lewis or his geriatric crowd.
The Patriots are simply too tough this year.
Granted, the Patriots looked too tough last year, too, and fell short. This year, I don’t see it.
New England has one of the top rushing offenses in the league to go along with one of the top passing offenses. Its O and D line play has been very good for the past six weeks. To top that off, the Pats are playing in Foxboro, a very tough place to win if you’re name isn’t Tom Brady.
Baltimore isn’t playing consistent enough offense right now and was one Worst-Defensive-Play-In-The-History-Of-The-NFL long touchdown reception from not being in the AFC title game at all. New England 38, Baltimore 17.