NFL Conference Finals

NFL Conference Finals

One was expected, one was unbelievable, one had a late but not enough come back and one a fatal fumble. That’s how I would sum up the Divisional Playoffs last weekend.

The Patriots had a little trouble when they relaxed in the end of the game, but nothing to worry about. The Packers-Cardinals game was one more for the list of unbelievable games this year. I mean, again, the game was over. And Aaron Rodgers gets a Hail Mary to work out, AGAIN? And the coin doesn’t flip in the overtime toss? Afterwards the Packers defense made an unforgivable mistake letting Larry Fitzgerald run like that on overtime.

In my humble opinion, the Seahawks seemed a little startled with the Panthers intensity in the beginning of the game. Add to that a touchdown on the first drive and it proved to be fatal. When they noticed what was happening the game was gone. Not to take anything out of the Panthers, especially Newton and Kuechly who are playing wonderfully, but if the Seahawks had awakened earlier, they might have had a shot. Broncos-Steelers was an even game. Unfortunately for the rookie Fitzgerald Toussaint his fumble was decisive. Kudos to the Broncos defense that was great on that last drive and let’s hear it for the Steelers and Mike Tomiln who played great with an injured quarterback, rookies for running backs and without their main wide receiver.

All in all, I’m 7-1 in the playoffs – and much because I really wanted the Seahawks to beat the Panthers, but that’s no excuse. Let’s see how my record in gonna get with the Conference Finals.

AFC

Denver Broncos vs. New England Patriots: Yet again another chapter in the Manning-Brady rivalry. Two of the all-time very best and we must relish the opportunity to watch then every time they take on the field. Unlike other decisive duels between them, this one will be on Manning’s home field. That can be a factor. However, I’m not sure Payton is 100% healthy. On the other side of the ball I’m positive Brady is 100% and Gronk, Amendola and Edelman are assets that cannot be overestimate as the game against the Chiefs showed. Of course, the Broncos defense can show up like they did on that Steelers last drive yesterday throughout the whole game and that would make things rather complicated for the Pats, but I’m seeing New England heading back to the Super Bowl for the second year in a row. Patriots 32-24.

NFC

Carolina Panthers vs. Arizona Cardinals: This one is much, much, tougher to predict. As I said above, Cam Newton is playing at MVP level and Kuechly is powerhouse on defense, but the way they suffer when Seattle started playing well in the end made me scratch my head. And the boost of morale that Arizona got after finishing the game against the Packers the way they did, cannot be underestimated. However, if Eddie Lacy, as almost the only running threat the Packers had, ran through Arizona defense the way he did, what can we expect from Cam Newton and Jonathan Stewart? And if they allowed a Hail Mary with zero seconds on the clock what can Greg Olsen and Ted Ginn do? But, if the Cardinals start the game matching Carolina intensity (something Seattle didn’t do), who knows what may happen? This one is really tough but okay, I’ll leave my Saints fan bias at bay and say that we’ll have a rematch of Super Bowl XXXVII. Panthers 36-24

The hardest thing will be waiting until Sunday.

Current playlist:

Watching:

The Beatles – 1+ (double Blu-Ray)

Reading:

Eight Man Out: The Black Sox and the 1919 World Series – Eliot Asinof

Be sure to check out my book “Straight and Lethal”

You can contact me at: carloantico666@gmail.com

Add me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/carlo.antico

Follow me on twittter: @CarloAntico   

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