“I can’t really look you in the eyes as its too bright”
New England Patriots at Denver Broncos
This is the game the NFL wanted – Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning – the second oldest Quarterback age combination (74.3 years) in a divisional Championship match up. The Patriots reverted to old school smash mouth football last week against the Indianapolis Colts and easily won scoring 43 points. In all seven touch downs were scored, however not on was thrown by Tom Brady. Their defence was relentless and Coach Belichick showed he is one of the best, reverting to a game plan based on his player’s strengths and availability. Injuries have decimated the Patriots offensively this season. The Broncos struggled in the fourth quarter to a Chargers team that finally woke up however it was too little too late by then. Peyton Manning managed the last 4 minutes brilliantly denying the Chargers the football, and running out winner’s 24-17. Ex Broncos head coach, Josh McDaniel, is back at his original gig as the Patriots Offensive Coordinator, and the players he drafted whilst at the Bronco’s are now their key players. Knowshon Moreno, Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker are all household NFL names now so he should know their strengths, and more importantly weaknesses. It will also be a nice reunion for ex Patriot receiver Wes Welker, who spent six seasons with them, until seen as surplus to needs by Belichick. Don’t expect any handshake come end of game there. Denver go in as home favourites and the in a close one they should offensively be too string for the Patriots – just. As a 4.5 point favourite though it might be closer than that.
San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks
A NFC West rivalry moves now to this Divisional Championship game. The history between these coaches goes back to when they were both coaching in the College Pac -10 division – Pete Carroll at USC and Jim Harbaugh at Stanford. The hatred still exists with players even having their views. Standout safety for the Seahawks, Richard Sherman, played for Harbaugh at College level and calls him a bully. Surprising words about an ex coach. In the first of two regular season games this season the 49ers were thrashed 29-3 however the second game proved much closer with the 49ers prevailing 19-17. Score so far then – 1-1. This game will be tough and tense. The 49ers are on an end of season road trip having played all their playoff games away from home. Beating both Green Bay and Carolina are no small asks, and they have some momentum. The Seahawks accounted for a plucky New Orleans team last week however never really looked that dominant winning by 8 points. The battle of two young quarterbacks in Seattle’s Russell Wilson and San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick will show two completely different styles of play. One composed and traditional in Wilson, the other unpredictable and based on play action in terms of Kaepernick. Seattle are the home favourites here however San Francisco is getting a 3.5 point start. It will be closer than that and the 49ers should go back to the Superbowl if they can keep their form going.
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