PFT’s conference championship game picks


It was another 2-2 week for yours truly in the divisional round, picking correctly the Seahawks and Broncos and incorrectly the Colts and Panthers.  MDS swapped out the Pats for the Colts, and he’s picked up a one-game lead with three games left.

But there’s still hope.  A week after picking the Pats, MDS has shunned them.  I haven’t.

As to our pick in the NFC title game, we both agree.  Which could be bad news for MDS.  And for the team we both picked.

Patriots at Broncos

MDS’s take: There are a lot of reasons to think the Patriots can put a lot of points up on the Broncos. Key Denver defenders including Chris Harris, Von Miller, Derek Wolfe and Kevin Vickerson are injured and out. LeGarrette Blount’s emergence gives the Patriots a running threat that the Broncos will have a very tough time stopping. Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola are a good pair of targets for Tom Brady. I fully expect the Patriots to score four touchdowns. And yet I’m picking the Broncos because Peyton Manning has played the quarterback position better this season than anyone has ever played it before, and I expect him to have a very big game against New England’s defense. In a high-scoring game, the Broncos punch their ticket to the Super Bowl.

MDS’s pick: Broncos 37, Patriots 35.

Florio’s take:  The easy narrative for this one, based on recent and more extended history, is that the Broncos will find a way to lose and the Patriots will find a way to win.  Sometimes, the smart move is to stick with the easy narrative.  (I otherwise don’t know much about smart moves.)  Throw in the fact that Tom Brady believes no one will pick the Patriots, I’ll also partially pick them out of spite to win a game that could end up being an all-time epic.  (Yes, I know I predicted a Broncos-Pats AFC title game in early September and at the time picked the Broncos to win.  So basically I’m covered either way.)

Florio’s pick:  Patriots 30, Broncos 27 (OT).

49ers at Seahawks

MDS’s take: The 49ers are playing better football now than they were back in Week Two, when the Seahawks blew them out in Seattle, and the 49ers beat the Seahawks in Week 14. And yet I can’t get past the fact that the 49ers have looked absolutely terrible in Seattle, losing there 29-3 in 2013 and 42-13 in 2012. The combination of a great Seahawks pass defense and a loud crowd in Seattle is going to make life miserable for Colin Kaepernick, which means San Francisco’s best chance is to win a low-scoring game. The 49ers’ defense is tough and physical, and they may be able to keep the score down. But not down far enough. With Marshawn Lynch leading the way, the Seahawks’ running game will sustain a couple of long drives, and that will be enough to secure a trip to the Super Bowl.

MDS’s pick: Seahawks 14, 49ers 6.

Florio’s take:  Destiny awaits one of these teams.  And I’m destined to get make the wrong pick.  Family members know it; my kid suggested last night that I pick the 49ers, because he wants the Seahawks to win.  Even though the Seahawks have blown out, sir the Niners during their last two games in Seattle, the 49ers have the feel of a team that understands the difference between the regular season and the postseason — and that can rise to the occasion.  So I’m very, very, very tempted to pick San Francisco to return to the Super Bowl, and possibly to become the first team since the 1972 Dolphins to win the Super Bowl a year after losing it.

But the Seahawks have the offense and the defense and the motivation to qualify for a cross-country trip for a shot at their first-ever NFL title.  Marshawn Lynch moves the chains, the 12th Man moves the earth, and Russell Wilson’s steady hand doesn’t move at all no matter the pressure or attention.  Throw in a defense that can neutralize the 49ers’ weapons, and I’m picking the home team to hold serve.

Which should be good news for 49ers fans.

Florio’s pick:  Seahawks 27, 49ers 17.

35 responses to “PFT’s conference championship game picks

  1. As so many people like to point out Manning has 8 one and dones, that means he’s 10-3 in the playoffs in “other” years, including 2 trips to the Super Bowl. He’s also never lost twice to the same team in the same season, 7-0 in the second game after losing the first one. Not saying any of that matters but since people love to point out “10-11” I figured I’d point out some other facts.

  2. “and possibly to become the first team since the 1972 Dolphins to win the Super Bowl a year after losing it.”

    The Bills are the first team EVER to lose a Super Bowl a year after losing a Super Bowl a year after losing a Super Bowl a year after losing a Super Bowl.

    Top that NFL!!!

  3. Absolutely LOVE the fact that no one is giving any credence to 49ers current win streak, current playoff experience (vs. Seattle’s recent playoff experience) and their road-warrior-like dominance…please keep counting them out…please…

  4. This season reminds me of the NFL back in the 1970s when we knew which teams would be in the final four before the season started. That’s not a bad thing.

  5. Maybe I just don’t get it. But I think I keep watching a Seahawks team that uses defense and time management to establish a rythym that helps other teams to lose.

  6. Niners have most talent in the league. If they don’t turn it over they will win, it they turn it over, they go home, it’s really that simple.

  7. Really hoping the Pats can pull this one out, since they have shown time and time again this year they can rise to the occasion, but this is by far their most daunting challenge. If there is any team that can pull this off, though, it’s Belichick, Brady and NE. Fingers and toes crossed!

    The other game’s gunna be a dogfight too. Hard to see Seattle losing at home, so it’ll be an uphill battle for the Niners.

    Either way, we as fans are in for a real treat on Sunday. Enjoy, all!

  8. Atwater, yeah, take out ALL EIGHT of his one and dones, and his playoff record is good. And not that it matters, but he lost to the Patriots twice in 2003 and 2004.

  9. I’ll be sure to laugh my butt-off when the 49ERS prove you guys wrong. The Quest for Six continues with a victory over the She-Hawks this Sunday!

  10. Since my Panthers are gone I can watch football this weekend without really caring who wins. These are the four best teams in the NFL so it should be a pretty awesome Championship weekend.

  11. “Krap” can’t handle the Legion in Seattle, Hawks win easily again with so much riding on it.

  12. I’m gonna go with Maddens prediction method…. ( in my best john madden voice——) ” who ev, who ever plays better, will, will, is gonna win these games” – yes I know, thank you thank you!!!

  13. I just can’t see the Broncos winning this game. They blew their best chance last year. If they cannot stop Blount then forget it Brady will eat them up.-Pats 42 Broncos 28.

    If the 9ners can hold Lynch under 100-they will win-

    SF 17 Seattle-13

  14. Denver will score at will on the Pats. The Colts had close to 400 yards of offense…with Luck’s 4 picks and him throwing to practice squad players. New England can run the ball…but if Denver starts fast, that running game will be useless. Denver has too many weapons. And the game is in Denver. Just my take…

  15. The Niners are playing at another level right now. The offense and defense is rollin and the Seahawks offense has not been playing there best football. There running game has been pulling most of the offensive weight this last month but we all know what the seahawks offense are capable of. I think the niners have been playing great football but the seahawks have the advantage of the home crowd and I cant deny Kap has had a couple of his worse games in seattle. We seem to forget when Kap played in seattle he was yet to even put a full season under his belt. I feel both defenses are going to hold their own its going to come down to obviously who makes the least amount of mistakes. I feel whoever wins this game will be favored to win the SB. What a great game this is going to be. Funny to think 3 years ago the NFC west was the worse division in football and now the best division in football. Win or lose both teams has had a great season. Let the best team move on to the SB.

  16. It has always been difficult to win at Denver and, now, Seattle is the same way; but there are two storied franchises coming to town, both capable of overcoming the walls of sound from the hometown crowds. I think my Patriots have a good chance, but it’s likely to be a nail-biter between these two original AFL rivals. Seattle is really powerful, but SF is downright scary since they added Anquan Bolden, a proven winner. Both games will be close. Pats vs 49ers in NJ and I don’t like my guys’ chances very much.

  17. While I am terrified about this game, I think the Pats will be able to run enough on the Broncos to open things up for the passing game just enough to outscore the Broncos in a high-scoring affair.

    Look for a key drop from WELKAH!

  18. Two HOF surgeons of the football field , no elements to contend with, a boatload of rocky mountain thunder, and a win or another year closer to retirement for the next chance. It is going to be epic; can’t wait~!

  19. I’ll pick the underdogs…. It’s insane to choose the discards and misfits but they’ve shown they have the heart of true underdogs… PATS and NINERs to the SB !!!

  20. Kind of a shift in power from just a few years ago when the NFC West was the laughing stock of the league. Not a lot of divisions have a legitimate chance of getting 3 teams in the playoffs like the NFC West this year.

    Watch out for the Cards next year, too.

  21. Everyone keeps talking about Blount ripping up the Colts last game for 166 yards.. Nobody remembers that Moreno put up 224 yards against the Pats in week twelve because Denver lost that game… in overtime.. on a muffed punt.. This Bronco team is gonna run over Tom and the Brady bunch this time out.. Last game we were up by 24 at the half and didnt come out in the second half and step on their throats.. Not gonna happen this time.. Denver by 21

  22. In the Wild Card, the 49ers didn’t win but the Packers beat themselves. Therefore, the NFL will let the Packers play the Seahawks by default and GB will win 84-0.

  23. Let’s see: Criminals vs Cheaters on one side, and, what do you know, Criminals vs Cheaters on the other side. the NFL takes one of each. Pretty simple really.

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