Championship Sunday Preview

Championship Sunday Preview

- January 24, 2016

Championship Sunday is coming upon on us this weekend. The Final Four of the NFL Playoffs. Four teams are trying to take the step to play in Super Bowl 50 in Santa Clara, California on Sunday, February 7. In these conference championship games, you have two quarterbacks that are future Hall of Famers, who have met in the playoffs numerous times, and you have two quarterbacks that are making their first appearances in the Championship Game, who trying to stake their claim in NFL history. These games feature some great matchups that could go down as classics for years to come. Here is a preview of this weekend’s matchups and my predictions.

AFC Championship Game

New England Patriots @ Denver Broncos Sunday @ 3:05 P.M. TV:

Once again, it’s Brady vs. Manning in the AFC Championship Game. This is the 2nd time the Broncos and Patriots will play for the opportunity to advance to the Super Bowl in 3 years. Payton Manning is 2-1 against Tom Brady in the AFC Championship Game. Both quarterbacks are trying to solidify their legacies. Manning is trying to get back to his first Super Bowl since playing in Super Bowl XLVIII three years ago. Brady is trying to go back to the Super Bowl for the second straight year.

The Denver Broncos are coming off a come-from-behind 23-16 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Divisional Playoff. Payton Manning didn’t have a great game large in part due to the Steelers defense. He had 222 yards, 0 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. In fact, Manning hasn’t been playing like himself most of the season. But, the Broncos defense can make the big play during the game as well as turn the game around. The defense is anchored by Von Miller, Demarcus Ware and T.J. Ward. They are in the Top 10 in every defensive category in the NFL. And, they got the big play late in the 4th Quarter by forcing a fumble off of Steelers running back Fitzgerald Toussaint. Broncos can pressure the quarterback, get to the quarterback and stop the run.

The Patriots held on to beat the Kansas City Chiefs with a 27-20 win in their AFC Divisional Playoff. Tom Brady was his sensational as usual with 302 yards, 2 touchdowns and 0 turnovers. Brady has a few go-to weapons that can burn any defense for a touchdown. Rob Gronkowski leads all tight ends in the NFL in touchdowns. Gronk had 11 touchdowns along with 1,176 yards during the regular season. Also, there’s wide receiver Julian Edelman, who was on his way to having a great year before he was slowed down by an injury. Before his injury, Edelman averaged 61 receptions, 692 yards and 7 touchdowns. The Patriots defense has been much underrated during the season. The Pats defense is led by Chandler Jones and Malcolm Butler. They can put pressure on the quarterback, get sacks and create turnovers.

Prediction: Patriots 27, Broncos 24

This will be a close battle between Brady and Manning as they bring the best out of each other when they play against each other, but Brady and the Pats will find a way to win to advance to the Super Bowl for the 2nd straight year.

NFC Championship Game

Arizona Cardinals @ Carolina Panthers Sunday @ 6:40 P.M. TV:

The Panthers and the Cardinals continue on the best runs in their team’s history. Both franchises are seeking their second Super Bowl appearance in franchise history. These are the two best teams in the NFC in this matchup. And, these are the top three teams in the NFL this year. This game is setting up to be a classic Conference Championship matchup for decades to come.

The Panthers held on to knock off the defending NFC Champion Seattle Seahawks in a 31-24 win in the NFC Divisional Playoff. Cam Newton is having the best season of his young career. He is also the odds-on favorite to win the MVP. Even though, he is not throwing to big-name wide receivers. The team's best receiver is tight end Greg Olsen, who leads the team in receptions and yards. The Panthers have a great running game led by Jonathan Stewart and Mike Tolbert. Plus, the team also has an excellent defense that is fast, physical and punishing, which is led by Luke Kuechly, Thomas Davis and Josh Norman. The defense are in the Top 10 in every defensive category in the NFL.Meanwhile, the Cardinals pulled out a thrilling 26-20 overtime against the Green Bay Packers in their NFC Divisional Playoff game. The game had every thrill an NFL fan would want in a playoff game. The Aaron Rogers Hail Mary with no time left to send it into overtime. Then the Larry Fitzgerald shovel pass to win the game. Carson Palmer has been flying under the radar as he has had an MVP-like season. Larry Fitzgerald has regained his Pro Bowl form, and Michael Floyd has become a very solid #2 receiver. Like the Panthers, the Cardinals have an excellent defense that can get to the quarterback as well as create turnovers, and they are anchored by Patrick Peterson, Calais Campbell and veteran Dwight Freeny. They are also in the Top 10 in every defensive category in the NFL.

Meanwhile, the Cardinals pulled out a thrilling 26-20 overtime against the Green Bay Packers in their NFC Divisional Playoff game. The game had every thrill an NFL fan would want in a playoff game. The Aaron Rogers Hail Mary with no time left to send it into overtime. Then the Larry Fitzgerald shovel pass to win the game. Carson Palmer has been flying under the radar as he has had an MVP-like season. Larry Fitzgerald has regained his Pro Bowl form, and Michael Floyd has become a very solid #2 receiver. Like the Panthers, the Cardinals have an excellent defense that can get to the quarterback as well as create turnovers, and they are anchored by Patrick Peterson, Calais Campbell and veteran Dwight Freeny. They are also in the Top 10 in every defensive category in the NFL.

Prediction: Panthers 28, Cardinals 24

This game will be a battle as both quarterbacks will go back and forth. And, both defense will play very hard to stop each other offense. But, the home crowd will be the main factor to help the Panthers to get back to the Super Bowl. 

Brodey Sheppard

Brodey Sheppard

Brodey Sheppard’s interest in keeping up with the ‘bleeding edge’ of technology has kept him working in the digital marketing industry for over six years. Aside from searching for opportunities to increase his online marketing knowledge, Sam also scours the Internet for useful bonuses and coupon codes that he can use to fuel his love for photography. During his free time, he watches professional photo retouching tutorials in between streaming his favourite TV shows. Fun fact: Sam has never met a cupcake he didn't like.

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