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Championship Weekend Predictions

by Photo of Ross Bernhardt

Who will advance to the Super Bowl out of the Patriots, Broncos, Seahawks and 49ers?

Championship Weekend Predictions

We are at the penultimate stage of the NFL postseason, and things have, for the most part, followed the script. Arguably the four best teams in the league advanced to the conference championships: The Denver Broncos and New England Patriots in the AFC (#1 and #2, 13-3 and 12-4, respectively) and the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers in the NFC (#1 and #5, 13-3 and 12-4, respectively). To say this is how it should have ended up is disrespectful to the rest of the teams that made the playoffs, but these certainly are the matchups that bring the juiciest storylines.

Manning vs. Brady, yet again, with legacies on the line. 

Wilson vs. Kaepernick in what is one of the brightest budding rivalries in the league.

49ers vs. Seahawks in a battle for division and conference supremacy.

It goes deeper than that, but the NFL has to be thrilled that these teams made it. Let's look at a couple of things in each game in anticipation of some great football in less than an hour. 

Denver Broncos vs. New England Patriots

The thing that would worry me about this game if I were a Patriots fan is how one-sided a lot of the talk has been during the week. People seem to be heavily on the side of the Patriots. Whatever the comparison is, the Patriots are getting the edge: coach, quarterback, running back, defense, intangibles, all of it. 

The Patriots are great, but people are forgetting that the Denver Broncos are a damn great football team, too. Peyton Manning had the best regular season a quarterback has had in the history of the NFL. Their running game is incredibly balanced. The number of weapons they have out wide is astonishing, and they will have Julius Thomas this time around, not like in their first matchup.

Both defenses have their work cut out for them. The Patriots are just as dangerous on the ground and showed that last weekend, but if you load up in the box to stop it, Tom Brady is still Tom Brady and can beat you through the air. The same is true for Denver. If the defenses are able to slow down one facet of the game and limit the effectiveness of the play action, the offense becomes that much more predictable and stoppable.

Which defense do I think has the better chance of doing that? The Denver Broncos. I'm probably going to regret counting out Touchdown Tom, but this is how I see it.

Prediction: Broncos 27 - Patriots 24

Seattle Seahawks vs. San Francisco Seahawks

I wish this game was as simple as saying Seattle just doesn't lose at home, so they will obviously win, but it's not that simple. The 49ers and Seahawks traded victories this season, and both teams know each other well. Both teams have staunch defenses, mobile quarterbacks and strong, dependable running backs. 

What this game boils down to is which team will be able to enforce their will on the line of scrimmage. Seattle wants to establish the run with Marshawn Lynch and San Francisco wants to run with Frank Gore. Lynch was still able to get his in both of their meetings in the regular season, but Gore only managed 16 yards rushing in their loss during week two. If the 49ers can take pressure off of Colin Kaepernick by getting Gore success early, that changes the complexion of the game completely.

Unfortunately, I just don't think that happens. Seattle is too strong and Marshawn Lynch is going to be too much. Seattle won't be denied this year, setting up a great rivalry for years to come in the NFC and NFC West.

Prediction: Seahawks 20 - 49ers 10

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