Now that the only high seeded team left is the Pittsburgh Steelers I think it is official that all bets are off. Say what you will about the Steelers defense, the offense has been inconsistent and the playoffs, especially the conference championship, is no time to test your defenses ability to carry a game.
The AFC Championship pits the Pittsburgh Steelers against the Baltimore Ravens. The game is in Pittsburgh at Heinz Field which gives Mike Tomlin and the Steelers the advantage, but they are playing a bitter division rival which pretty much means anything can happen. From a pure numbers standpoint, Pittsburgh beat the Ravens twice during the regular season. For that very reason alone, I think the Ravens will be on their way to an all bird Super Bowl.
I say there is no way that one playoff team beats another playoff team three times in the course of a season. I do not care about the defensive numbers (which are pretty much the same) or the offensive stats. This is an attitude call and Baltimore is too good to let themselves lose three times to the same team that they know as well as themselves. If Pittsburgh is able to win, then they are without question going to win the Super Bowl.
The NFC Championship game has the Philadelphia Eagles at University of Phoenix Stadium to play the Arizona Cardinals. I think the biggest question, apart from the obvious (can a Cardinal beat an Eagle?) is injuries. Anquan Boldin is a huge part of the Cardinals offense and Brian Westbrook is an even bigger part of the Eagles game plan. Both are playing through injuries, so the question is who will be able play closer to 100 percent.
At this point, the Cardinals defense has really stepped it up and is playing on par with the three remaining playoff teams (Pittsburgh, Baltimore, and Philadelphia all have top five defenses, scary), so there relative paltry numbers from the season are no longer relevant. I guess I see this as a race to 100. The first player to 100 yards, Westbrook on the ground and Boldin through the air, wins.
Personally, I want to see the Cardinals win. It would be great to see this terrible franchise finally return to a championship six decades later. Also, if McNabb plays poorly, then the Bears might be able to work out a trade and get a real quarterback on the roster. Alas, well see if my picks are bad as last week and how off I can be when attempting to decipher the Super Bowl.