Can you imagine the NFL getting a better weekend for their championship games? You have the greatest quarterback rivalry probably ever. Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady is one of the greatest stories in sports history. I could write 50 articles just on this one topic (if you look around there are probably 10 times that around the internet). Then on the other side you have maybe the best divisional rivalry in football today. You have two new-age quarterbacks in Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson taking on two of the very best defenses in the league. You have the hot team against the 12th man. There are so many narratives coming into this weekend.
This may be one of the hardest picks in recent memory. You can make serious arguments for all four teams to win the Super Bowl. This is exactly what we want as fans. We will get right into it this week; these are the championship picks against the spread.
New England Patriots at Denver Broncos (-5.5)
The New England Patriots and Denver Broncos have had interesting seasons. Manning and company spent the season breaking records as their vaunted offense took them to new heights. Brady, on the other hand, had one of his worst offensive seasons as he dealt with the loss of, well, just about every one of his receivers. Both of these teams are clicking on offense now. When you look at the defenses, the biggest headline is the injuries involved. Between the two teams, you are missing Von Miller, Jerod Mayo, Brandon Spikes, Chris Harris, Vince Wilfork, Tommy Harris, Rahim Moore and Adrian Wilson. You could build a Pro Bowl defense with the players that won’t play in this game. Both John Fox and Bill Belichick have done a masterful job of working through these injuries. Making a pick in this game has to come with a lot of factors. All this season when there was this much doubt in regards to a pick I just took the points. This will be no different. However, I will also pick a winner. This will be a three-point game. The team with the ball last will kick a last-second field goal, and I think that will be the Patriots. Although everyone is talking about how Manning needs to get the playoff monkey off his back again, people forget that Brady has not won a championship since this time in 2005. That is almost a decade. Somehow, the Patriots will take it.
New England 31 Denver 28
San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks (-3.5)
Last week I picked the Seattle Seahawks to kill the New Orleans Saints based on what they did earlier in the season. They won but still let Drew Brees have a pulse all the way to the end of the game. If the Hawks could not finish on the Saints defense, what are they going to do against this vaunted San Francisco 49ers defense? Who will outcoach their adversary? Jim Harbaugh against Pete Carroll is an underrated storyline here. These guys do not want to see their division rival in the biggest game in sports. They don’t want to hear about how great they are for two weeks. They certainly don’t want to have to watch the other if they become champions. This will be one of the hardest hitting games of the season. The Hawks have won seven of their nine home games by more than four points, including against the 49ers earlier in the season, but Aldon Smith was not in that game which made a big difference. Richard Sherman and the rest of the Seahawks’ secondary are excited to see if Kaepernick can run on them like he did against the Carolina Panthers. I see a ton of field goals and a low scoring game, but I think the Seahawks take it.
San Francisco 16 Seattle 23
Last Week: 1-3
2014 Playoffs: 3-5
Nick Villano is the New Jersey Devils writer for Rant Sports. He also adds to the site’s NFL, MLB and NBA content. You can follow him on Twitter here.