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Conference Championship Predictions

Once again I ended up finishing with a 2-2 record last weekend in my predictions. So far, every day of the playoffs this year I have predicted one game right and one game wrong. .500 isn't great for the playoffs but I guess I'll take it. Now, the question is, who will win this weekend?

Two very intriguing match-ups look to cap off a great three rounds of the playoffs on Sunday. In the previous two weekends, there have been muffed field goal holds, last-second field goals, blowouts, and comebacks. Now, with only two games remaining, what else could possibly happen?

Let's take a look at those two games that will be played on Sunday and get a prediction for each. If my picking in the past has said anything, then depending on the outcome of the first game, we should see who will win the second one.

AT
Two teams that both have Super Bowl aspirations will play in a game that features the NFC's best two teams. The Saints hope to continue one of football's best stories and the Bears hope to get back to the Super Bowl.

What this game boils down to is how effective the Bears defense is. You would probably think that Rex Grossman's play will have the biggest impact, but I really don't think so. Sure, Grossman can't go back down the tubes like we have seen before, but the Bears defense has to shut down Drew Brees and company.

The problem for Chicago fans is I don't see that happening. Drew Brees will have a great day along with his running backs. Deuce McAllister gets a couple of touchdowns and Reggie Bush adds one in electric fashion.

For those reasons, I pick the Saints in this one. New Orleans, coming off of going 3-13 and not even having a home to play in, will make one of the most miraculous turnarounds to get to Super Bowl XLI.

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I may end up being the Colts good luck charm at this rate. I have picked against them in each of their playoff games and they actually went on to win both. Well, here's to the third time being a charm. In this game, featuring Peyton Manning against his arch-nemesis, I am going to the Patriots to win.

Since the Pats won their last Super Bowl, the team is much different. Players have departed, and one of the most intricate parts of their past success is actually the starting kicker for the Colts. However, New England has continually found a way to get by and win after all of the changes.

In this game specifically, the biggest question is which Colts team will come out and play. We've seen their shotty run defense numerous times this season, but never in this year's playoffs. That could be one of the deciding factors. On the other side of things, Peyton Manning has to have a great game. He has got by with under-par performances thusfar in the first two rounds of the playoffs, but can't do that against a team like New England.

What I see this game coming down to is the two teams playing a very close game into the fourth quarter. Then, the Patriots will strike quickly and jump out to a lead. Indianapolis tries to make a late surge but falls just short. This game won't come down to any last-second field goals, but a few during the game will make a difference. And they will come from the foot of a lesser-known Patriots kicker trying to make his name in New England history.


Below are my updated long-range predictions. The Chargers got eliminated last week, leaving only the Saints as one of my Super Bowl teams. I did manage to correctly pick three of the four remaining teams at this point, but only one can advance for me. Can the Saints keep my correct Super Bowl pick alive?

AFC DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS
*San Diego over Kansas City
*New England over Baltimore

NFC DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS
*Chicago over New York
*New Orleans over Seattle

AFC CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP
*San Diego over New England

NFC CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP
*New Orleans over Chicago

SUPER BOWL XLI
*New Orleans over San Diego