Your Fiasco Sports primer for this weekend’s big games.
Here we are folks: Conference Championships. The four best teams in the NFL fighting for the right to compete at Super Bowl in San Francisco. And this isn’t one of those occasions when it is hyperbole saying these teams are the best. It is a fact. All these teams have incredible defences, explosive offences, and experienced coaches who know how important it is for them to bring their best performance.
NFC Championship: Arizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers.
Unlike the AFC Championship, that we will get to shortly, the Panthers and Cardinals are two evenly matched teams. Both feature MVP calibre quarterbacks, fantastic running backs and studs on all levels of their defences. Where the separation comes is in the receiving corps. Whereas Carson Palmer is throwing to likes of Michael Floyd, Larry Fitzgerald, & John Brown who make plays all over the field, Cam Newton has Greg Olsen and rookie Devin Funchess. Now Olsen is a Pro-Bowl tight end who has been a great security blanket for Cam, but he will now have to face an exotic secondary that will make his life miserable.
And what of Carolina’s defence? Their front seven made Russell Wilson’s life a living hell for the first half of last week’s game. Arizona’s offensive line has certainly improved this season, the Panthers send blitzes from all positions. However, there is a weakness in their secondary. Whilst Josh Norman had played at an All-Pro level, who is going to help him shut down the Cardinal pass-catchers? Courtland Finnegan has been a major liability and Roman Harper is not the quickest safety around.
Final Prediction: This game will go down to the final position after some brutal clashes early. Ultimately, the Cards will return to the mountain top for the first time since Super Bowl 43. Arizona 24 – Carolina 21
AFC Championship: New England Patriots at Denver Broncos
Denver has had a top 5 defence all year. Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware have been wrecking shop all season racking up 18.5 sacks and creating pressure on every opposing quarterback. As a collective group, they are very good at forcing turnovers creating multiple opportunities for their offence to score points. New England are good at creating pressure as well, however injuries are going to test whether they can get to Peyton Manning and disrupt his game.
Now, let’s discuss Peyton Manning vs Tom Brady. Manning vs Brady 17. But this time it feels different. Brady was playing at an MVP level early in the season before losing most of his weapons, yet he still dragged the Pats kicking and screaming into the finals because he can still play. We don’t know what we have in Manning any more after getting benched due to injury earlier in the year. Manning can still read defences and can certainly change plays at the line of scrimmage, but does he have the deep ball accuracy or any sort of accuracy at all to take advantage of the turnovers created by his defence.
Final Prediction: Who do you trust? Brady or Manning? Will Peyton return to the dance and have one more chance at immortality? No. Patriots win because their quarterback can get the ball his wide receivers and that is the difference. New England 31 – Denver 17
So get ready for fantastic slate of games. The good news for us fans is any combination of these teams will provide us with a Super Bowl fitting of the number 50. Happy watching friends.
Written by Josh Wiles