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PFT’s conference championship game picks

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I’m waving the white flag. As if I had a choice.

Through eight games of the postseason, MDS is a perfect 8-0. With three games to go and yours truly three games behind him, the fact that we agree on both conference championship games means there’s no way I can catch him.

Sure, I could have changed both picks once I saw he had selected the same ones I had. But then I would have had to suspend myself for the first four weeks of the 2016 season. And then I would have had to sue myself to get reinstated.

Patriots at Broncos

MDS’s take: The Broncos have been winning all year with their defense, but the Patriots’ offense looks well-suited to beating the Broncos, with Tom Brady throwing short, quick passes to Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman. Brady throws the ball so quickly that the Broncos’ pass rush won’t have a lot of time to get to him, and that gives the Patriots an edge. New England will surely score a lot more than the 16 points the Steelers managed in Denver on Sunday. So the question is, Can the Broncos’ offense keep up? I have my doubts. Bill Belichick will dare Peyton Manning to try to go deep against the Patriots’ defense, and Manning just doesn’t have the zip and accuracy on his deep balls that he once did. The Patriots’ defense will frustrate Manning into a rough game, and the Patriots will win.

MDS’s pick: Patriots 27, Broncos 17.

Florio’s take: Tom Brady has won only 25 percent of his career starts in Denver, beating Danny Kanell and Tim Tebow and losing to the likes of Brian Griese and Kyle Orton. Last time, the Pats fell in overtime after losing Rob Gronkowski late and not having Julian Edelman at all. This time, Brady has both — and star Broncos cornerback Chris Harris Jr. has a shoulder injury that left him playing with one arm against the Steelers. The one arm that matters most will be the right arm of Brady, who continues his post-#DeflateGate quest to spoil the NFL’s golden Super Bowl party by grabbing something silver from Roger Goodell — and perhaps then telling him to stick this in his trophy case.

Florio’s pick: Patriots 27, Broncos 23.

Cardinals at Panthers

MDS’s take: Two Cardinals injuries are going to make this game tough on Arizona: Without Tyrann Mathieu, I see the Cardinals having a tough time covering Panthers tight end Greg Olsen. And without Chris Johnson, I see the Cardinals having a tough time getting big plays on the ground. Because of those injuries, I’m picking the Panthers to win a close, low-scoring game. Look for Olsen to be Carolina’s leading receiver, and for the Panthers’ defense to hold the Cardinals’ offense mostly in check. The Cardinals are the best team the Panthers have faced, but the Panthers will manage a hard-fought win.

MDS’s pick: Panthers 17, Cardinals 14.

Florio’s take: The Panthers have the best nucleus of talent of any team in the NFL, by far. From Cam Newton to Greg Olsen to Luke Kuechly to Kawann Short to Josh Norman, no one else has four players who are that good at what they do. It’s the rest of the team that could be a problem against the Cardinals, especially since Norman can only cover one of Arizona’s excellent receivers, consisting of Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd, John Brown, and speedster J.J. Nelson. Maybe Kuechly could cover Fitzgerald in the slot (not for many snaps, but for a few). Even then, Norman can’t handle the rest by himself, which means that Cortland Finnegan (who got a right place/right time interception against the Seahawks) will have to contribute, in some way. Or maybe Finnegan won’t matter. Maybe the Panthers are good enough (and their home field will be bad enough) to allow them to beat a team that lost by 30 in Week 17 to the team the Panthers were beating by 31 at halftime. Fitzgerald played against the Packers like a man who won’t be denied a championship, but he’ll have no control over what Cam Newton and company do when they are on the field.

Florio’s pick: Panthers 30, Cardinals 27.

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121 Responses to “PFT’s conference championship game picks”
  1. Calikid says: Jan 21, 2016 9:29 AM

    Scam newton will be exposed against that secondary.

  2. captainwhodat says: Jan 21, 2016 9:31 AM

    like both coaches in the NFL Championship game…hopefully, a great game to watch regardless of who wins…keep pounding…

  3. peopletrains says: Jan 21, 2016 9:33 AM

    The Panthers DO NOT have the best nucleus of talent in the NFL by far.

  4. harrisonhits2 says: Jan 21, 2016 9:33 AM

    Go Pats !

    Here’s hoping for a great, injury free game Donks fans.

  5. username says: Jan 21, 2016 9:34 AM

    0-4

  6. msarcher1 says: Jan 21, 2016 9:36 AM

    AZ in the Super bowl!

  7. crush22 says: Jan 21, 2016 9:36 AM

    Broncos vs Cardinals

  8. jackodn says: Jan 21, 2016 9:36 AM

    I just hope the games are decided by players, not refs.

  9. mammothfan says: Jan 21, 2016 9:37 AM

    The Broncos have played to the level of their competition all year. They remind me of the 2012 Ravens

  10. weepingjebus says: Jan 21, 2016 9:37 AM

    Both should be great games, and close ones. This weekend is one of the few things Goodell hasn’t managed to screw up yet. Which means it must be high on the list. Hopefully the refs and various power outages won’t be too blatant about it.

  11. kcchefs58 says: Jan 21, 2016 9:37 AM

    I wonder if either game will end in a tie.

    -McNabb

  12. pauldeba says: Jan 21, 2016 9:39 AM

    How are the Broncos going to score 23 points? On defense?

    Pats 45
    Broncos 7

  13. skinsgal4life says: Jan 21, 2016 9:41 AM

    I think the Cardinals have more of a chance than people think. I have no “scientific” reason to type that, just a gut feeling. Go Cardinals!!!!

  14. joetoronto says: Jan 21, 2016 9:42 AM

    nd without Chris Johnson, I see the Cardinals having a tough time getting big plays on the ground.
    ………………..
    You do? Because David Johnson has been just fine since he got hurt.

  15. j huber says: Jan 21, 2016 9:42 AM

    And the NE Cheaters will get destroyed by the black putty tats.

  16. anonymousnevermindfishdeath says: Jan 21, 2016 9:42 AM

    Will cousin Sal reprise his role of impersonating the Panthers place kicker on media day?

  17. richcranium2112 says: Jan 21, 2016 9:43 AM

    Cards could barely escape a mortally wounded GB team running on empty WR group and fat RB. Palmer will continue his shaky performance and his bad passes will not be dropped by DBs. Also will not be temp controlled in NC.

    Bronco pass rush needs to show up to give them chance against NE. Can’t count too much on P-Money’s arm strength. Will be great battle.

    Carolina by 10.
    Denver by 3.

  18. tqaztec says: Jan 21, 2016 9:44 AM

    If teams continue to give Edelman eight yard cushions it won’t be even close.

  19. sb44champs says: Jan 21, 2016 9:44 AM

    As long as Scam loses this week or next….

  20. jag1959 says: Jan 21, 2016 9:47 AM

    After watching the Broncos struggle with the Steelers banged up offense and below average D it’s hard to imagine they can take NE on a level playing field now that NE has more bullets in the gun than the last time they met. The question is will the playing field be level? The league office’s credibility has sunk to the point that it’s sad, but fair, to worry that the league will influence the outcome. This game will go a long way towards telling us if we really are watching the NFL/WWE.

    Home field, such as it can be called a field, is probably the difference between Carolina and Arizona, it looks that close.

  21. junkmtb says: Jan 21, 2016 9:47 AM

    Oh how I yearn for a Patriots/Panther Super Bowl rematch!!!

  22. truthprofessor says: Jan 21, 2016 9:47 AM

    Mike, you can be suspended for 4 games, anyway.

    In football that can happen even when you do not do anything wrong at all.

  23. jgedgar70 says: Jan 21, 2016 9:47 AM

    Florio is right that Courtland Finnegan is a bit of a liability on our defense. What he didn’t mention is Kurt Coleman, who had 7 picks this year. He’s much better than he played against Seattle, and will help tremendously in pass coverage. Where we have a large advantage is in running the ball. We have a much better running game than the Green Bay Cheese Doodles, and we can have some long drives that will keep the Cards powerful offense on the sidelines long enough to keep them from scoring enough points. I agree with Florio that there will be plenty of points. It’s going to be plenty close enough, but I think we have just enough of an edge to pull it out.

    Panthers 31
    Cards 27

    In the AFC? I don’t care. Whoever wins is going to get crushed in the Super Bowl, no matter who wins the NFC. Both are 1-demensional, and the NFC winner will have a good enough D to shut that 1 dimension down. The Patriots probably win with a better offense.

    Patriots 28
    Broncos 17

  24. shlort says: Jan 21, 2016 9:49 AM

    I am taking the Broncos and the Cardinals.

    The Patriots seem to always have a way to win in the post season. It is uncanny. Their luck runs out when they run into the Broncos D in a thin air winter atmosphere. Manning gets to another super bowl only to get pounded like he did last time he went. Peyton is no Eli in super bowls.

    Broncos 28 – Patriots 24

    The Cardinals at Panthers match up is going to be the battle of the best two teams in the NFL. It will be close, but Carolina’s inability to finish is going to hurt them this week. Arizona plays for 60 minutes and Carolina only plays for 50 minutes. 50 minutes won’t be good enough.

    Cardinals 21 – Panthers 20

  25. steelerdeathstar says: Jan 21, 2016 9:50 AM

    The Steelers have the best nucleus of talent in the NFL…when healthy. Roethlisberger, Brown, Bryant, Bell, Pouncey, DeCastro, Shazier, Heyward, Miller, Boswell, etc., not the Panthers, though they will likely beat AZ on Sunday.

  26. TeeHeeLOLatPatsHaters says: Jan 21, 2016 9:51 AM

    spoil the NFL’s golden Super Bowl party by grabbing something silver from Roger Goodell — and perhaps then telling him to stick this in his trophy case.

    —–
    Too bad Brady can’t just tell him he’s fired after he accepts the Lombardi.

    I can’t believe the NFL makes a big deal of #integrity and controlling footballs after the clown show otherwise known as deflategate…and then last Sunday game officials “forgot” the K-Balls in the hotel last Sunday and needed a police escort to get them.

    It’s clear the NFL can pound their chests about INTEGRITY and they still doesn’t give two farts about the footballs…. or integrity.

    #GoodellIsAJoke
    #GoodellMustGo
    #FireGoodellToday

  27. patsfan1820 says: Jan 21, 2016 9:52 AM

    Patriots 24 Broncos 17 Edelman will go off in this game and I can’t see the Broncos offense scoring too many points, but this will be a close game
    Panthers 31 Cardinals 21 Panthers will force Palmer to turn the ball over multiple times carrying them to victory.

  28. 20barrysandersfan20 says: Jan 21, 2016 9:52 AM

    Chris Johnson is a key piece to the Cards? Have you not seen David Johnson play the last month or so? Guy’s a beast.

    I can’t wait for the one play that the refs screw up.

  29. tonyzendejas says: Jan 21, 2016 9:53 AM

    Broncos: 7-0 in games refereed by Ed Hochuli since 2000

    The Patriots have more than Denver’s D and Peyton’s “flaccid ziti” arm to worry about.

  30. milehighdonkeys says: Jan 21, 2016 9:54 AM

    Happy to be the underdog. Miller time. See you at the game.

  31. rollotomasi14 says: Jan 21, 2016 9:54 AM

    The fix is in. Hochuli will decide the game on a call. You think it’s a coincidence the NFL chose him when Denver is undefeated when he has been the ref for their games?

  32. eventresourcespresents says: Jan 21, 2016 9:54 AM

    And without Chris Johnson, I see the Cardinals having a tough time getting big plays on the ground.

    —————————————————————-

    I’m not a Cardinals fan, but hasn’t David Johnson been better (and had bigger plays) than Chris Johnson was all year?

  33. goodellsucks43 says: Jan 21, 2016 9:56 AM

    Panthers are going down big.

  34. bornahawker says: Jan 21, 2016 9:59 AM

    Arz vs Den
    Go Hawks!

  35. TeeHeeLOLatPatsHaters says: Jan 21, 2016 9:59 AM

    Fire Roger Goodell and Let’s Make the NFL Great Again! ™

  36. nhpats says: Jan 21, 2016 10:01 AM

    jgedgar70 says:
    Jan 21, 2016 9:47 AM

    In the AFC? I don’t care. Whoever wins is going to get crushed in the Super Bowl, no matter who wins the NFC. Both are 1-demensional, and the NFC winner will have a good enough D to shut that 1 dimension down.

    ————-
    I seem to remember the same predictions last season. How did that turn out?

  37. MostlyRight says: Jan 21, 2016 10:02 AM

    David Johnson > Chris Johnson for those who have been paying attention. David Johnson > J Stewart. Ted Ginn as WR1 couldn’t make WR6 on the Cardinals. And he has to go up against Patrick Peterson. A true shutdown corner vs a guy who can’t catch unless he’s standing still with his back to the end zone and can call a fair catch without fear of being tackled. Panthers DLine is great but Palmer has not struggled with good Ds and has plenty of weapons to dump off to. David Johnson and Andre Ellington will get their yards as receivers, and pass catching RBs have eaten the Panthers alive.

    On offense, if Carolina wins it will be on the legs of Cam and a ton of catches by TE Olson. Cards will key on containing the running backs and Cam’s designed runs and getting loose on blitzes on the edges.

    So I won’t be shocked at all if the Cards pull off the “upset”.

  38. flbills says: Jan 21, 2016 10:03 AM

    Please! anyone other than the pats!!

  39. iamapatsfan says: Jan 21, 2016 10:07 AM

    jgedgar70 says:Jan 21, 2016 9:47 AM

    In the AFC? I don’t care. Whoever wins is going to get crushed in the Super Bowl, no matter who wins the NFC. Both are 1-demensional, and the NFC winner will have a good enough D to shut that 1 dimension down. The Patriots probably win with a better offense.

    ——

    You mean like last year when everyone thought the Seahawks D was going to crush the Pats just like they crushed the Broncos the year before?

  40. niners816 says: Jan 21, 2016 10:11 AM

    Who I want to win: Denver, because it’d be cool to see Manning in probably his last superbowl. Arizona, because Fitz deserves a ring. And as much as Carolina deserves to be there, I can’t stand Cam Newton anymore. He’s an awesome athlete and is the MVP, but I seriously can’t take the celebrations after a 3rd down pickup anymore. Just stop, dude, they are annoying.

    Who I think will win: Patriots, because it’s Tom Brady
    Carolina: Because Arizona doesn’t look as good as they did before and I think the Panthers D will give Palmer problems.

  41. TeeHeeLOLatPatsHaters says: Jan 21, 2016 10:12 AM

    Patriots by 3. Vinatieri I mean Gostkowski game winner as time expires, just like the old days.🙂

    Panthers knack for giving up big leads will bite them this time. Cards by 6.

  42. pastabelly says: Jan 21, 2016 10:12 AM

    junkmtb says:
    Jan 21, 2016 9:47 AM
    Oh how I yearn for a Patriots/Panther Super Bowl rematch!!!
    =========================================
    Not much of a rematch considering there is only one player from either team who would be playing.

    I do think it would be the best match up. As a Patriots fan, I know full well that we will be the team everyone roots against.

  43. rogerdw66 says: Jan 21, 2016 10:12 AM

    Pats record when Florio picked them to go undefeated, 10-0. Record after this Nostradamus like pick, 2-4. Sooooo, grain of salt if Florio picks you to win.

  44. duffelbagsports says: Jan 21, 2016 10:14 AM

    The jealousy against the Pats continued success knows no bounds. Tell your team to make sure they don’t miss their tee times.

  45. rogerdw66 says: Jan 21, 2016 10:14 AM

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t both you clowns pick the Pats their last visit to Denver? How did that pick work out for you?

  46. chesswhileyouplaycheckers says: Jan 21, 2016 10:15 AM

    weepingjebus says:
    Jan 21, 2016 9:37 AM
    Both should be great games, and close ones. This weekend is one of the few things Goodell hasn’t managed to screw up yet. Which means it must be high on the list. Hopefully the refs and various power outages won’t be too blatant about it.
    ———————————-

    Ridiculous that so many of us have that concern but that’s what we’ve come to. When Manning was back under center I was thrilled that we would have one last matchup in the greatest rivalry of this era but then reality kicked in and I have this horrible feeling that the guys in uniform will have less to say about the outcome than the clowns in suits. Just want an honest game.

  47. doubleogator says: Jan 21, 2016 10:16 AM

    Carolina played a really soft schedule while compiling the 15-1 regular season record. Arizona will give them fits…

  48. zappa69 says: Jan 21, 2016 10:16 AM

    Packer fans still think they have home field for the playoffs!

  49. seacougvegas says: Jan 21, 2016 10:20 AM

    Arizona all the way! I’m a hardcore Seahawk fan and having watched both teams twice there really is no comparison. Arizona is a far better team than Carolina. Both games against the Panthers I came away shaking my head as to how we could have lost to such an inferior team. They got very lucky in both games. Against Arizona it was a dog fight. Even though we blew them out in week 17 I felt very fortunate for the win. Go Cardinals, lots of love for the NFC West!

  50. carloswlassiter says: Jan 21, 2016 10:23 AM

    I think Carolina wins big – Palmer looked very shaky against GB and was lucky to escape with the win. On the road against a more opportunistic defense I think he makes some crucial mistakes.

    The Denver-NE game is a pick ’em to me. I root for NE, but they never seem to play their best in Denver and I think this one goes down to the wire.

    If NE advances, I think they beat Carolina in the SB 27-17.
    If Denver advances, I think Carolina crushes them in the SB.

  51. TeeHeeLOLatPatsHaters says: Jan 21, 2016 10:24 AM

    Gostkowski is the best kicker in football.

    Prediction: In that altitude he will kick a 60 yarder and he will also kick the game winner. He’ll be MVP of the Patriots for this game and they’ll move on.

  52. logast says: Jan 21, 2016 10:26 AM

    No Edelman in the first game. Which went to overtime. Gronk left injured. And the game went to overtime.

    No overtime needed. Pats win by 10.

    Don’t really give a rip who wins the NFC game. It is very easy to like both Arians and Rivera.

  53. barrymichaels61 says: Jan 21, 2016 10:30 AM

    Patriots will win easily 28-10, this is not 2006 Peyton.
    Cardinals will get revenge for last year and beat Panthers
    20-13

  54. virgiltab says: Jan 21, 2016 10:35 AM

    I love seeing silly comments like “Carolina played a soft schedule”

    1. You play the schedule you are given. No doubt the Cards would trade records at 15-1 vs 13-3

    2. The whole NFL is watered down… The Panthers beat all the teams with winning records they faced this year, period!!

    3. The cards OL will have a very hard time containing the Panthers front 7. Palmer is not a mobile QB and will not be able to elude the pass rush as well as a moble QB

    4. Carson Throws 3 picks in this game. just sayin.

    5. Its going to be 40 degrees at kick off so that will be a factor too. Palmer hasn’t really played in cold weather since his cincy days.

    6. The Panthers are for real, hands down. You can hate on Cam all you want. There is not a team in the NFL who wouldn’t want him as their starter right now.

    Looking forward to a tough game against the Cards but the preverbial snowball is rolling down the hill and the Panthers win this game, 34 -17

  55. rollotomasi14 says: Jan 21, 2016 10:35 AM

    Concerning for Denver fans is that Manning is 0-5 with temps under 40. Game time temp will be under 40

    1 offensive TD in their last 23 possessions in the postseason.

  56. 11zfan says: Jan 21, 2016 10:36 AM

    We play better as the underdog so thank you for your picks this week! Cardinals will upset the nation and win it all!!

    #BeRedSeeRed #SB50

  57. thatsrightmike says: Jan 21, 2016 10:37 AM

    Where is the logic that Olsen will have a big game? The Cardinals have given up a four touchdowns to TEs – for the whole year. They play a safety at LB (Deone Bucannon) and should be able to keep him in check. That game is going to be won in the trenches.

  58. tattooit says: Jan 21, 2016 10:39 AM

    Crazy to think that more Pressure is on Brady to win the game than Manning.

    A 6th round draft pick who’s played in SIX SB’s and WON FOUR… still seems as though HE is the one with something to prove.

    While MR HGH gets a free pass because he makes catchy commercials and plays pocket pool with the media.

    Crazy world we live in.

  59. EJ says: Jan 21, 2016 10:41 AM

    This is Manning’s final run… his last playoff game. This is the last time we will see the Brady/Manning bowl, so I believe Peyton will be playing at his very best. We will see him make throws he couldn’t normally accomplish look easy all day long. Manning wants to ride out into the sunset on top and with another championship. The Broncos D is energized thanks to a few words said by Gronkowski… so expect to see Brady on his back for most of this game… Broncos 31, Patriots 17.

    Fitzgerald and the rest of Arizona will pull the upset and give the Panthers D the roughest day they have had all year… Newton will be slowed down in the passing game by Arizona’s DB’s and be forced to win with his legs, but this time it will not be enough… Cardinals 24, Panthers 17.

  60. seabrawk12 says: Jan 21, 2016 10:50 AM

    NE vs CAR = Biggest douche QB showdown ever

  61. poison66 says: Jan 21, 2016 10:53 AM

    Virgil is delusional, obviously a homer. Cardinals are one of the best road teams in the NFL. Their receivers will light Carolina up. Cards win it 30-20. Scam Newton will spend a lot of time on his back this game. ….

  62. straightfactshomie says: Jan 21, 2016 10:54 AM

    Patriots are 10-0 this year, and have won 15 straight games when Edelman has been on the field. He is the difference maker in this game, as he makes the offensive line woes irrelevant. He is Welker 2.0, a faster and more athletic version with just as good of a connection with Brady. If the Patriots have him and Gronkowski available, they are unstoppable on offense and haven’t scored less than 27 points since December 7th 2014. Nobody has been able to stop him.

    Patriots 27 Broncos 20

  63. clbrwns says: Jan 21, 2016 10:56 AM

    It will be Pats vs Cardinals in the big game.

  64. saints12013 says: Jan 21, 2016 10:59 AM

    It seems like most people are predicting Patriots vs Panthers so it will probably end up being Denver vs Arizona cause that’s just how the NFL is.

    And then the Broncos will win riding their D and running game. Peyton will get the SB MVP cause the QB almost always wins it regardless of his game stats.

  65. bleck5 says: Jan 21, 2016 10:59 AM

    Patriots vs Cardinals will be Super Bowl 50

  66. jchipwood says: Jan 21, 2016 11:01 AM

    The Goodell/Kraft/Belichick trio will be hard to beat.

  67. bears5683 says: Jan 21, 2016 11:04 AM

    I really want Denver to win, but would be very surprised if they did. However, watching the Patriots lose to the either NFC team in the SB, who I truly believe are the 2 best teams is an appealing thought.
    Power Rankings
    1. Carolina
    2. Arizona
    3. Seattle
    3a. New England

  68. bullcharger says: Jan 21, 2016 11:04 AM

    mammothfan says:
    Jan 21, 2016 9:37 AM

    The Broncos have played to the level of their competition all year. They remind me of the 2012 Ravens

    —————-

    Because there’s an old guy named Peyton Manning who wants to go out with a Super Bowl like Ray Lewis?

  69. ikeclanton says: Jan 21, 2016 11:10 AM

    You don’t need to be a professional scout to see the fluttering duck show that Manning put on last week. He got away with it against the unlucky and depleted Steelers but the luck runs out this week:

    Patriots 27 – Broncos 13

    The only hope they have is Ed Hochuli gift-wrapping the game for the Broncos with mystery flags if the Patriots are losing the turnover battle and the game is close, because that’s the only way it would even be close.

    The NFL is shamelessly trying to tip the field so the Pats will have to overcome that as well as the altitude, but it still shouldn’t matter.

  70. rutledge3197 says: Jan 21, 2016 11:12 AM

    A 6th round pick blah blah blah …. My god you tools go on and on Brady is 38 it’s not 1999 anymore … If NE losses there will a list of excuses a mile long …. If they win it will be :: look how great we are !!!…. Pats fans are by far so blind & delusional can’t wait to hear you clowns roar when you fall on your face

  71. midenginerearwheeldrive says: Jan 21, 2016 11:18 AM

    We all now that Carolina slayed bums all season.

    For me the key to that game will be their second half performance. They brain farted in the second half of many games this season. That can’t happen again for them.

    Kind of refreshing to not have any dogs in this hunt. Just looking for good entertaining football that is decided on the field and not by the guys in black and white stripes.

  72. niners816 says: Jan 21, 2016 11:20 AM

    bears5683 says:
    Jan 21, 2016 11:04 AM
    I really want Denver to win, but would be very surprised if they did. However, watching the Patriots lose to the either NFC team in the SB, who I truly believe are the 2 best teams is an appealing thought.
    Power Rankings
    1. Carolina
    2. Arizona
    3. Seattle
    3a. New England
    —————
    Why the hell did you put Seattle on that list? They got destroyed 31-0 at halftime. They were 10-6 and barely beat the Vikings on a gift from their kicker. I’ll have whatever you’re smoking, dude.

  73. twomadmapper says: Jan 21, 2016 11:20 AM

    Patriots/Panthers SB50…

    Patriots hoist the Lombardi for a 5th time…

    Winning by 3 points…

  74. rootpain says: Jan 21, 2016 11:36 AM

    Patriots all the way. They are as healthy as they need to be and that makes them unstoppable.

  75. imodan says: Jan 21, 2016 11:39 AM

    Hopefully the k balls and gauges aren’t left at the hotel by the refs like they were last week in Boston. Hey Mike, this is in your wheelhouse, swing away man!

  76. Emmanuel Goldstein says: Jan 21, 2016 11:44 AM

    Cardinals will win it all this year. Broncos will beat the Pats. Cam Newton is a baby that rips signs out of fans hands. Talk about “class”.

  77. chesswhileyouplaycheckers says: Jan 21, 2016 11:47 AM

    rutledge3197 says:
    Jan 21, 2016 11:12 AM
    Pats fans are by far so blind & delusional can’t wait to hear you clowns roar when you fall on your face
    ———————–

    It’s fair to say the Pats fan base has it’s fair percentage of “blind and delusional” yahoos, maybe even a higher percentage than most successful teams thanks to the bandwagon effect of the last SB. What is undeniable is that they have a higher percentage of dedicated trolls than any other team remaining in the playoffs and regardless of this year’s outcome it is also undeniable that it has been very very good to be a real Pats fan for the last 15 years. Given the few ups and far too many downs of the 35 preceding years we definitely paid our dues. Granted no fan base ‘deserves’ the run NE has had but if one was going to have it none deserved it more. As a Pats fan going back to my Dad taking me to see them play in Fenway this run is the stuff of dreams come true, that it has been the stuff of hater nightmares just makes it all the better.

  78. styro1 says: Jan 21, 2016 11:48 AM

    TeeHeeLOLatPatsHaters: Not only did they forget the kicking balls they also forgot the all important pressure gauges!

    I’m surprised I haven’t heard that BB went in the Refs room while the Refs traveled to the game and tampered with the gauges and then rushed back to the stadium.

  79. bucks4ever13 says: Jan 21, 2016 11:52 AM

    If Carolina can force turnovers like they have done all year, they will win. That’s their story. Great D, much better than expected O… but it’s all about the turnovers. The D generates them, the O doesn’t give them up.

    Carolina by 10 with 3 turnovers leading to 14 points of their points.

  80. august589 says: Jan 21, 2016 11:55 AM

    I’m a Bronco fan but, the way Denver has been playing lately, I can’t see them beating New England on Sunday.

    NE–28
    Den-20

    We’ve seen numerous times this season that Carolina does NOT have a killer instinct. On Sunday, it catches up with them.

    Ariz–31
    Car–27

  81. imodan says: Jan 21, 2016 11:56 AM

    rutledge3197 says:
    Jan 21, 2016 11:12 AM
    Pats fans are by far so blind & delusional can’t wait to hear you clowns roar when you fall on your face-
    —————————————————
    Blind and delusional? Did we not make 10 AFCCG’s in the last 15 years? Did we not make the Super Bowl 6 times in that timespan? Did we not win 4 Lombardi’s? Twice as many as any other franchise in this millennium? Jeepers, I look at those amazing facts and it dawns on me why everyone hates us. We’re simply better than anyone else. Suck it losers!!

  82. wallabear says: Jan 21, 2016 11:57 AM

    Greg Olsen is Cam’s “Gronk” — that endzone TD pass to Olsen versus the Seahacks [sic] was phenomenal, just phenomenal.

    Glendale 17
    Charlotte 28

  83. imodan says: Jan 21, 2016 12:01 PM

    saints12013 says:
    Jan 21, 2016 10:59 AM

    It seems like most people are predicting Patriots vs Panthers so it will probably end up being Denver vs Arizona cause that’s just how the NFL is.

    And then the Broncos will win riding their D and running game. Peyton will get the SB MVP cause the QB almost always wins it regardless of his game stats.
    —————————————————–
    Gee, it’s almost as if you read the script the NFL wrote before the season even started.

  84. rootpain says: Jan 21, 2016 12:08 PM

    rutledge3197 says:
    Jan 21, 2016 11:12 AM

    Pats fans are by far so blind & delusional can’t wait to hear you clowns roar when you fall on your face.
    =============================
    Blind and delusional? Well then I will go out on a limb and predict that if the Patriots are leading at the end of sixty minutes of play, they will win the game.
    If I’m wrong, go ahead and call me out on it. That shows you who is blind and delusional.

  85. classclown71 says: Jan 21, 2016 12:09 PM

    sb44champs says:
    Jan 21, 2016 9:44 AM

    As long as Scam loses this week or next….

    ———————————————————-

    I don’t get why people keep calling him Scam…

    All he does is win games, has won 3 straight NFC South division titles, has led his team to a 15 & 1 record this year, has put up MVP type numbers, has his team in the NFC championship, and is on the verge of a Super Bowl berth.

    What exactly makes him a Scam?

  86. Florio is Rooneys Lovechild says: Jan 21, 2016 12:15 PM

    Surprised you didn’t pick PIT to win again.

  87. icebowler says: Jan 21, 2016 12:18 PM

    If the field in Charlotte is bad now, what’s it going to be like after the thick ice with a snow topping they are predicting for Friday into early Saturday?

  88. cornerstone2001 says: Jan 21, 2016 12:32 PM

    Its scary what the Panthers might have done with a healthy Kelvin Benjamin

  89. cornerstone2001 says: Jan 21, 2016 12:35 PM

    Palmer will choke once again…after all he’s a former Bungal

  90. daytontriangles says: Jan 21, 2016 12:45 PM

    Patriots/Broncos is going to be a close one.

    Overcoming both Peyton Manning and Ed Hochuli working together in concert will be tough, even for the Brady/Belichick combo.

    In the end, it will come down to which version of Peyton Manning shows up for the game.

  91. tattooit says: Jan 21, 2016 12:46 PM

    Why do people hate on Cam Newton so much?

    I can’t stand haters. That’s why when my Gints are out of it, I always root for the players who get hated on for simply being great.

    Why wouldn’t you want to see the best two remains QBs go h2h in the SB??

    Cam is a great player, I’d be happy to see the kid get a ring. He’s done nothing egregious enough to deserve the kind of shade being thrown his way.

  92. ampatsisahypocrite says: Jan 21, 2016 12:49 PM

    What a choice, Brady the ball-deflating cheater vs. Manning the turf-sliding cheater.

    The league should just declare both teams losers and award the trophy to the NFC champ by forfeit.

  93. firecracker87 says: Jan 21, 2016 12:57 PM

    When are the Colts raising their 2015 participation banner?

  94. pattyarbuccholz says: Jan 21, 2016 1:02 PM

    seabrawk12 says: Jan 21, 2016 10:50 AM

    NE vs CAR = Biggest douche QB showdown ever

    ——————

    Awwwww, someone is a just a little upset that The Messiah lost last week huh?

  95. jason9696 says: Jan 21, 2016 1:04 PM

    Not many people are picking Denver to win. If I’m a Broncos fan I’m happy about this.

  96. jason9696 says: Jan 21, 2016 1:06 PM

    duffelbagsports says:
    Jan 21, 2016 10:14 AM

    The jealousy against the Pats continued success knows no bounds. Tell your team to make sure they don’t miss their tee times.

    ———————————–

    You’re probably right about that but if you are a Patriots fan I would enjoy second of this because you don’t know how much longer Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are going to be around.

  97. jjackwagon says: Jan 21, 2016 1:08 PM

    The NFL wants Peyton to have another ring.

    It has been scripted…So it will be.

  98. fredegrar says: Jan 21, 2016 1:22 PM

    As a Broncos lifer, the fact that Mr. Florio has picked them to lose has given me a boost of optimism today!

  99. firecracker87 says: Jan 21, 2016 1:22 PM

    jjackwagon says:
    Jan 21, 2016 1:08 PM
    The NFL wants Peyton to have another ring.

    It has been scripted…So it will be.

    —————————————————–
    If Pats win then that will prove the NFL doesn’t fix games. If Donks win then i’ll be convinced they do. Especially given they’ve assigned ED as the ref.

    Pats vs Donks/Zebras

  100. mrmcdougle says: Jan 21, 2016 1:25 PM

    nhpats says:
    Jan 21, 2016 10:01 AM
    jgedgar70 says:
    Jan 21, 2016 9:47 AM

    In the AFC? I don’t care. Whoever wins is going to get crushed in the Super Bowl, no matter who wins the NFC. Both are 1-demensional, and the NFC winner will have a good enough D to shut that 1 dimension down.

    ————-
    I seem to remember the same predictions last season. How did that turn out?
    ——-

    If the NFC winner’s strongest unit gets decimated with injuries, then they may be wrong again. Point is right now, the NFC is much stronger. Just as they would have been at full strength last year. Predictions are affected by injury.

  101. bleck5 says: Jan 21, 2016 1:31 PM

    mrmcdougle says:
    Jan 21, 2016 1:25 PM
    nhpats says:
    Jan 21, 2016 10:01 AM
    jgedgar70 says:
    Jan 21, 2016 9:47 AM

    In the AFC? I don’t care. Whoever wins is going to get crushed in the Super Bowl, no matter who wins the NFC. Both are 1-demensional, and the NFC winner will have a good enough D to shut that 1 dimension down.

    ————-
    I seem to remember the same predictions last season. How did that turn out?
    ——-

    If the NFC winner’s strongest unit gets decimated with injuries, then they may be wrong again. Point is right now, the NFC is much stronger. Just as they would have been at full strength last year. Predictions are affected by injury.
    ___________________

    The NFC has been weaker than the AFC for the most part since the turn of the millenium. Although shift is happening the AFC was very wide open this year with a lot of the playoff teams being on equal level. Meanwhile there were two very dominant NFC teams and the rest were rather meh.

    This year the injury bug is on New England and we shall see how far they get.

  102. kylexitron says: Jan 21, 2016 1:47 PM

    Denver will edge out NE in a defensive battle and the Cardinals will pick up where Seattle left off shredding Carolina. Please spare me the “31-0 lead so the panthers took their foot off the gas” routine. Seattle basically abandoned the run game and Carolina had no answers even when they knew every play would be a pass. There is no way a team like Carolina who’s been up for every game this season no matter the match up suddenly decided to relax in the second half of a playoff game. They have some secondary issues that the cardinals are going to exploit.

    NE 17
    Denver 19

    Arizona 30
    Carolina 20

  103. lambeauheap says: Jan 21, 2016 1:52 PM

    For the “NFC teams are much better” people:

    Vegas disagrees with you.

    Pats -1.5 vs Panthers
    Pats -1.5 vs Cardinals

  104. superpatriotsfan says: Jan 21, 2016 1:54 PM

    The Patriots will cheat!

    Book it!

  105. bullcharger says: Jan 21, 2016 2:06 PM

    jgedgar70 says:
    Jan 21, 2016 9:47 AM

    Florio is right that Courtland Finnegan is a bit of a liability on our defense. What he didn’t mention is Kurt Coleman, who had 7 picks this year. He’s much better than he played against Seattle, and will help tremendously in pass coverage. Where we have a large advantage is in running the ball. We have a much better running game than the Green Bay Cheese Doodles, and we can have some long drives that will keep the Cards powerful offense on the sidelines long enough to keep them from scoring enough points. I agree with Florio that there will be plenty of points. It’s going to be plenty close enough, but I think we have just enough of an edge to pull it out.

    Panthers 31
    Cards 27

    In the AFC? I don’t care. Whoever wins is going to get crushed in the Super Bowl, no matter who wins the NFC. Both are 1-demensional, and the NFC winner will have a good enough D to shut that 1 dimension down. The Patriots probably win with a better offense.

    Patriots 28
    Broncos 17

    ———————–

    If you look at how the good AFC teams fared against the good NFC teams this year you will be surprised. Both the NFC teams can be beat by at least Belichick and Brady, but maybe even Denver. Although, Denver probably won’t be able to put up enough points.

  106. TebowedOutOfThePostSeasonAndNeverToReturn says: Jan 21, 2016 2:18 PM

    Patriots will lose because there’s no way to bug the Bronco’s training facility and locker room on such short notice. Also, Denver’s thin air makes messing with the air presssure a bit tricky. The usual village idiots tasked with dragging the balls into the bathroom don’t understand science though Brady has probably arranged to have an expert call them on a cell phone that will be “routinely” destroyed right after the game is over.

  107. wartface says: Jan 21, 2016 2:18 PM

    Arizona 13/3 VS Carolina 15/1…

    This game is the Super Bowl… Either of these teams can beat Denver or New England! 😎

    There will be NO upset. No one that know much about football can say who is going to win this battle. It will be slobber knocker football for 60 minutes.😳

    Whoever executes the best in ALL phases of the game will win this game.👍

    My hunch is that defensive points and special teams points will be the deciding factor.🙊

    The Cardinals will bring Smoke (#12) Fire (#32) and then give them Fitz (11).

    I don’t think Carolina has played a team that is as balanced as Arizona is.

    So… That’s why they play the games.

    On any given Sunday all hell can break loose.😡

    Let the games begin!

    I’m BBQing 100 chicken wings and 6 racks of ribs for this game too.😜

  108. bullcharger says: Jan 21, 2016 2:19 PM

    mrmcdougle says:
    Jan 21, 2016 1:25 PM

    nhpats says:
    Jan 21, 2016 10:01 AM
    jgedgar70 says:
    Jan 21, 2016 9:47 AM

    In the AFC? I don’t care. Whoever wins is going to get crushed in the Super Bowl, no matter who wins the NFC. Both are 1-demensional, and the NFC winner will have a good enough D to shut that 1 dimension down.

    ————-
    I seem to remember the same predictions last season. How did that turn out?
    ——-

    If the NFC winner’s strongest unit gets decimated with injuries, then they may be wrong again. Point is right now, the NFC is much stronger. Just as they would have been at full strength last year. Predictions are affected by injury.

    ————

    Look at the NFC vs AFC trend in the last few years.

    The NFC were tomato cans from about 2003 to 2006, then from 2007 to 2013 the NFC got stronger and stronger to the point where the playoff contenders were better then or equal to all the AFC teams.

    If you look at the trend in the last two years, the AFC have been winning the cross over games and things are more equal and moving back toward the AFC. Look at the drop off of the Giants, SF, New Orleans, Green Bay.

    Carolina, Arizona and Seattle were the only really good teams as opposed to maybe 6 or 7 a few years ago.

    Arizona were beat the Steelers this year. Seattle were beat by the Bengals. Carolina played the AFC South which is horrible and the Patriots also easily swept that division.

    Injuries have an impact, but the SB will be more competitive then people think.

  109. bullcharger says: Jan 21, 2016 2:30 PM

    bears5683 says:
    Jan 21, 2016 11:04 AM

    I really want Denver to win, but would be very surprised if they did. However, watching the Patriots lose to the either NFC team in the SB, who I truly believe are the 2 best teams is an appealing thought.
    Power Rankings
    1. Carolina
    2. Arizona
    3. Seattle
    3a. New England

    ————————–

    I think it’s more like this:

    1. Carolina
    2a) Arizona
    2b) New England
    3) Seattle
    4) Denver
    5) Steelers
    6) Green Bay

    I think the Patriots could be favored (or a pk) in the Super Bowl against Arizona, but the 3 other scenarios would see the NFC favored.

  110. renocarolina says: Jan 21, 2016 2:33 PM

    The NFC game I see as a coin flip.

    key factor will be to see which side is facing up when Clete “flips” it.

  111. coloradotennisfan says: Jan 21, 2016 2:46 PM

    I agree with the assessments about the AFC. NE is the clear favorite. To win, Denver’s offense will need to wake up and score at least 30 points. I think the Denver defense cannot hold NE much below 30 points, perhaps 27 or 24. The Denver offense has not shown the ability to score 30 points per game. The NE defense is tough, not the best but good enough to keep the anemic Broncos offense in check. The Broncos plan is to keep the game close until the fourth quarter and then wear out the Patriots. I do not see the game close enough in the fourth quarter for this strategy to work.

  112. imodan says: Jan 21, 2016 3:20 PM

    ampatsisahypocrite says:
    Jan 21, 2016 12:49 PM

    What a choice, Brady the ball-deflating cheater vs. Manning the turf-sliding cheater.

    The league should just declare both teams losers and award the trophy to the NFC champ by forfeit.
    ——————————————————-
    Astute observation. Clearly the only chance either NFC team has of victory is the NFL stepping in and giving them the championship. If left to being decided on the field the outcome is predetermined. AFC and it won’t be close.

  113. kitmandew says: Jan 21, 2016 3:21 PM

    NFC game is going to be a great game between two really good teams but no question, Carolina is the better team and should win a close game on our home field. A quick weather update for y’all….We are all under an extreme winter weather warning and expecting snow and ice from tonight through Saturday night….. Pats and Broncos will be fun just because it’s probably the last Manning v Brady postseason matchup…..Go Panthers! Keep Pounding!

  114. rw3sluxuriouscurls says: Jan 21, 2016 3:54 PM

    I can only root for 1 team. The Broncos. I hate arrogant QBs Scam & Shady. I think Scam is vastly overrated and can’t wait for his downfall. So he can dab the tears from his stripper bm 85 teeth showing having face! I hope they both lose. I will be rooting against them. Panthers 21 Cardinals 24 Broncos 20 Patriots 17. Should be good games all around.

  115. projectshadow316 says: Jan 21, 2016 4:34 PM

    Denver’s so scared of New England they only limit the ability to buy tickets if you live west of the Mississippi.

    They know damn well the Pats would show up and make it essentially a home game.

  116. bleck5 says: Jan 21, 2016 6:15 PM

    projectshadow316 says:
    Jan 21, 2016 4:34 PM
    Denver’s so scared of New England they only limit the ability to buy tickets if you live west of the Mississippi.

    They know damn well the Pats would show up and make it essentially a home game.

    _________________
    Denver forgot that their are quite a bit of Patriot fans in Nevada, Utah, and New Mexico
    .

  117. csb28 says: Jan 22, 2016 3:44 PM

    flbills says:
    Jan 21, 2016 10:03 AM
    Please! anyone other than the pats!!

    It must’ve been hell these last 15 years for you. I sense your pain. Glad I’m on the other side of this issue.

  118. csb28 says: Jan 22, 2016 3:56 PM

    rutledge3197 says:
    Jan 21, 2016 11:12 AM
    A 6th round pick blah blah blah …. My god you tools go on and on Brady is 38 it’s not 1999 anymore … If NE losses there will a list of excuses a mile long …. If they win it will be :: look how great we are !!!…. Pats fans are by far so blind & delusional can’t wait to hear you clowns roar when you fall on your face

    Wow, sounds like you’ve got it bad!

  119. alcottclan235 says: Jan 22, 2016 5:14 PM

    I am amazed at the number of people that have little flying Elvis’s living in their heads. The Pats have been too good for too long in their opinions, so they must be cheating. The fact that the NFL was successful in their campaign to paint the Pats as cheaters, has put the frustration with the Pats success on steroids. ( or HGH, whatever the new rocket booster is ) The fact remains that they are very successful and will continue to be under the current ownership / management. It’s a shame that the NFL wants to be the WWF with Heroes ( Peyton, Eli, Rodgers ) and Villians ( Brady, Belichick ). It’s a cover up for the real bad guys who reside in the NFL office in NYC. Oh and concussion cover ups, PEP’s running rampant, domestic abuse being swept under the rug etc. So when the games on the line and the ref is under the hood, who do you think Dean Blandino is going to give the call to?

  120. csb28 says: Jan 22, 2016 7:21 PM

    jason9696 says:
    Jan 21, 2016 1:06 PM
    duffelbagsports says:
    Jan 21, 2016 10:14 AM

    The jealousy against the Pats continued success knows no bounds. Tell your team to make sure they don’t miss their tee times.

    ———————————–

    You’re probably right about that but if you are a Patriots fan I would enjoy second of this because you don’t know how much longer Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are going to be around.

    I am a Pats fan and I do know enough to enjoy every second. I am not delusional. I just hope it continues as long as possible. Nothing lasts forever.

  121. superpatriotsfan says: Jan 25, 2016 12:11 PM

    Gostkowski is the best kicker in football.

    Prediction: In that altitude he will kick a 60 yarder and he will also kick the game winner. He’ll be MVP of the Patriots for this game and they’ll move on.

    So about that Patriots kicker……

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