10 Bold Predictions For NFL Conference Championships

By Timothy Downs

Every year, American Football aficionados are left awestruck by the unimaginable occurrences that take place during NFL Conference Championship Weekend. With that in mind, here’s a look at 10 bold predictions for the festivities.

10 Bold Predictions For NFL Conference Championships
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10. Cam Newton Only Shows Up In Physical Form

Cam Newton Only Shows Up In Physical Form Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
After seeing him struggle against Seattle, I'm convinced Cam Newton is going to put forth a terrible effort against Arizona on Sunday. Newton tallied just 164 total yards and one TD, and looked nothing like the player who is a shoo-in to win the league's coveted MVP award for his dominant regular season.

Arizona will make Newton's life miserable by keeping him in the pocket, and will hold him to a similar stat line as did the Seahawks. At times, it will seem like Newton just wasn't mentally prepared as one boneheaded mistake after another pile up, making it impossible to get anything going on offense.

10. Cam Newton Only Shows Up In Physical Form

After seeing him struggle against Seattle, I'm convinced Cam Newton is going to put forth a terrible effort against Arizona on Sunday. Newton tallied just 164 total yards and one TD, and looked nothing like the player who is a shoo-in to win the league's coveted MVP award for his dominant regular season.

Arizona will make Newton's life miserable by keeping him in the pocket, and will hold him to a similar stat line as did the Seahawks. At times, it will seem like Newton just wasn't mentally prepared as one boneheaded mistake after another pile up, making it impossible to get anything going on offense.

9. Peyton Manning Electrifies

Peyton Manning Electrifies Credit: Getty Images
Although he didn't overwhelm, Peyton Manning had a decent game against Pittsburgh (222 passing yards) and most importantly seemed healthier than he had at any point during the regular season. In order to beat the New England Patriots and his arch nemesis Tom Brady, Manning is going to have to make big plays in this game, as settling for field goals just doesn't work against the evil empire.

Kansas City moved the ball at will on New England at times last weekend, but the Chiefs couldn't get anything going in the red zone. The exact opposite will occur for Denver, as Manning will electrify by utilizing Demaryius Thomas on fade/corner routes. Expect 250 yards and three TDs from Manning in his best and most important showing of the campaign.

9. Peyton Manning Electrifies

Although he didn't overwhelm, Peyton Manning had a decent game against Pittsburgh (222 passing yards) and most importantly seemed healthier than he had at any point during the regular season. In order to beat the New England Patriots and his arch nemesis Tom Brady, Manning is going to have to make big plays in this game, as settling for field goals just doesn't work against the evil empire.

Kansas City moved the ball at will on New England at times last weekend, but the Chiefs couldn't get anything going in the red zone. The exact opposite will occur for Denver, as Manning will electrify by utilizing Demaryius Thomas on fade/corner routes. Expect 250 yards and three TDs from Manning in his best and most important showing of the campaign.

8. Carson Palmer Steps Up When Arizona Needs Him The Most

Carson Palmer Steps Up When Arizona Needs Him The Most Credit: Getty Images
While he did make a few horrible throws and decisions against Green Bay, Carson Palmer bounced back when his team needed him the most, and finished with 349 yards and three TDs (two INTs in fairness).

Seattle completely exposed Carolina's secondary on Sunday, and it's all on tape for head coach Bruce Arians to study and figure out how to do the same with his bunch. Thus, expect Palmer to expose the Panthers in the flats, over the middle, down the seams and in the red zone. He'll finish with no less than 300 yards and three TDs once again.

8. Carson Palmer Steps Up When Arizona Needs Him The Most

While he did make a few horrible throws and decisions against Green Bay, Carson Palmer bounced back when his team needed him the most, and finished with 349 yards and three TDs (two INTs in fairness).

Seattle completely exposed Carolina's secondary on Sunday, and it's all on tape for head coach Bruce Arians to study and figure out how to do the same with his bunch. Thus, expect Palmer to expose the Panthers in the flats, over the middle, down the seams and in the red zone. He'll finish with no less than 300 yards and three TDs once again.

7. Tom Brady Cuts Denver's Typically Impregnable Defense To Ribbons

Tom Brady Cuts Denver's Typically Impregnable Defense To Ribbons Credit: Getty Images
After struggling over the last month of the regular season, New England's offensive line was back to normal against Kansas City. Tom Brady had plenty of time, as he was hit just once and not sacked on a single occasion. Brady took advantage, tallying 302 passing yards and two TDs, to go along with an epic six-yard rushing TD (pictured above).

When Brady is not overwhelmed with pocket pressure, he's unstoppable. This will be the case against Denver, as Bill Belichick has plenty of schemes cooked up to block DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller. Expect 300 yards and three TDs from Brady.

7. Tom Brady Cuts Denver's Typically Impregnable Defense To Ribbons

After struggling over the last month of the regular season, New England's offensive line was back to normal against Kansas City. Tom Brady had plenty of time, as he was hit just once and not sacked on a single occasion. Brady took advantage, tallying 302 passing yards and two TDs, to go along with an epic six-yard rushing TD (pictured above).

When Brady is not overwhelmed with pocket pressure, he's unstoppable. This will be the case against Denver, as Bill Belichick has plenty of schemes cooked up to block DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller. Expect 300 yards and three TDs from Brady.

6. David Johnson Runs Roughshod On Carolina

David Johnson Runs Roughshod On Carolina Credit: Getty Images
David Johnson wasn't as much of a factor as expected against Green Bay on Saturday, but still finished with an adequate 78 total yards. Carolina's defense has been solid against the run this season, but average in pass coverage of late. This means Johnson should see just seven in the box for most of the game, as the Panthers can't afford to loosen coverage in the secondary to help with the run.

Expect the Cardinals to take advantage, feeding Johnson with over 20 total touches, particularly in the pass attack early on to throw the Panthers off balance. Once Palmer begins to cut the Panthers to ribbons, Johnson will begin to take large chunks of yardage on every carry and checkdown, ultimately finishing with over 100 total yards and one TD.

6. David Johnson Runs Roughshod On Carolina

David Johnson wasn't as much of a factor as expected against Green Bay on Saturday, but still finished with an adequate 78 total yards. Carolina's defense has been solid against the run this season, but average in pass coverage of late. This means Johnson should see just seven in the box for most of the game, as the Panthers can't afford to loosen coverage in the secondary to help with the run.

Expect the Cardinals to take advantage, feeding Johnson with over 20 total touches, particularly in the pass attack early on to throw the Panthers off balance. Once Palmer begins to cut the Panthers to ribbons, Johnson will begin to take large chunks of yardage on every carry and checkdown, ultimately finishing with over 100 total yards and one TD.

5. Bill Belichick Coaches Circles Around Gary Kubiak

Bill Belichick Coaches Circles Around Gary Kubiak Credit: Getty Images
Bill Belichick coached circles around Andy Reid in every facet of the game on Saturday. There isn't going to be much Denver can get past the NFL's premier head coach, so the Broncos will have to out-execute the Patriots to have a chance.

Belichick has figured out a way to get his offensive line back to playing at a high level, as Tom Brady was hit just once by the Chiefs, and wasn't sacked on a single occasion. Belichick knows giving Brady time to dissect a defense is paramount, and will go to extreme lengths to do so, even if it means only giving him one or two route options in order to load up with bodies on the line.

Essentially, anything Gary Kubiak throws at the Patriots, Belichick will counter with the perfect answer.

5. Bill Belichick Coaches Circles Around Gary Kubiak

Bill Belichick coached circles around Andy Reid in every facet of the game on Saturday. There isn't going to be much Denver can get past the NFL's premier head coach, so the Broncos will have to out-execute the Patriots to have a chance.

Belichick has figured out a way to get his offensive line back to playing at a high level, as Tom Brady was hit just once by the Chiefs, and wasn't sacked on a single occasion. Belichick knows giving Brady time to dissect a defense is paramount, and will go to extreme lengths to do so, even if it means only giving him one or two route options in order to load up with bodies on the line.

Essentially, anything Gary Kubiak throws at the Patriots, Belichick will counter with the perfect answer.

4. Jonathan Stewart Held In Check By Arizona

Jonathan Stewart Held In Check By Arizona Credit: Getty Images
Jonathan Stewart ran wild on the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, tallying 106 yards and two TDs on the ground.

Don't expect a repeat performance against Arizona.

While Stewart is undoubtedly capable of doing the same, the Cardinals will be prepared for him, as opposed to the Seahawks who expected a heavy dose of Cam Newton early and often. I'll be shocked If Stewart finishes with over 75 total yards and scores even one touchdown in this one.

4. Jonathan Stewart Held In Check By Arizona

Jonathan Stewart ran wild on the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, tallying 106 yards and two TDs on the ground.

Don't expect a repeat performance against Arizona.

While Stewart is undoubtedly capable of doing the same, the Cardinals will be prepared for him, as opposed to the Seahawks who expected a heavy dose of Cam Newton early and often. I'll be shocked If Stewart finishes with over 75 total yards and scores even one touchdown in this one.

3. Josh Norman Embarrassed By Larry Fitzgerald

Josh Norman Embarrassed By Larry Fitzgerald Credit: Getty Images
Carolina's secondary was superb against Russell Wilson and Co. in the first half on Sunday, but the unit was completely undressed by Seattle in the second, and Wilson ultimately finished with 366 passing yards and three TDs.

The Panthers are in store for big trouble against Arizona. Josh Norman is Carolina's only trustworthy cornerback, and even he is at a disadvantage in his matchup with Larry Fitzgerald.

With his teammates struggling to defend Michael Floyd's deep threat prowess and John Brown's ability to make plays after the catch, Norman is going to be forced into a ton of one-on-one battles with Fitzgerald, and he's simply not capable of getting the job done without any help. Expect Fitzgerald to finish with over 100 yards and two TDs.

3. Josh Norman Embarrassed By Larry Fitzgerald

Carolina's secondary was superb against Russell Wilson and Co. in the first half on Sunday, but the unit was completely undressed by Seattle in the second, and Wilson ultimately finished with 366 passing yards and three TDs.

The Panthers are in store for big trouble against Arizona. Josh Norman is Carolina's only trustworthy cornerback, and even he is at a disadvantage in his matchup with Larry Fitzgerald.

With his teammates struggling to defend Michael Floyd's deep threat prowess and John Brown's ability to make plays after the catch, Norman is going to be forced into a ton of one-on-one battles with Fitzgerald, and he's simply not capable of getting the job done without any help. Expect Fitzgerald to finish with over 100 yards and two TDs.

2. Arizona Shocks The Masses, Defeats Carolina By Seven

Arizona Shocks The Masses, Defeats Carolina By Seven Credit: Getty Images
In the end, it'll be too much Carson Palmer, Larry Fitzgerald and David Johnson for Carolina to handle. The Cardinals undoubtedly have the edge in the coaching department as well, as Bruce Arians is a far better leader than Ron Rivera.

Prediction: Cardinals 34, Panthers 27

2. Arizona Shocks The Masses, Defeats Carolina By Seven

In the end, it'll be too much Carson Palmer, Larry Fitzgerald and David Johnson for Carolina to handle. The Cardinals undoubtedly have the edge in the coaching department as well, as Bruce Arians is a far better leader than Ron Rivera.

Prediction: Cardinals 34, Panthers 27

1. New England Defeats Denver By 10

New England Defeats Denver By 10 Credit: Getty Images
I'm expecting monster performances from both quarterbacks in this one. However, Tom Brady has gotten the best of Peyton Manning more often than not during their battles throughout the years, and Sunday will not be an exception to the rule.

Brady's four touchdown passes, and Bill Belichick's ability to coach circles around Gary Kubiak will ultimately prove too tough for Denver to overcome despite the amazing energy showcased by the Mile High Stadium faithful.

Prediction: Patriots 37, Broncos 30

1. New England Defeats Denver By 10

I'm expecting monster performances from both quarterbacks in this one. However, Tom Brady has gotten the best of Peyton Manning more often than not during their battles throughout the years, and Sunday will not be an exception to the rule.

Brady's four touchdown passes, and Bill Belichick's ability to coach circles around Gary Kubiak will ultimately prove too tough for Denver to overcome despite the amazing energy showcased by the Mile High Stadium faithful.

Prediction: Patriots 37, Broncos 30

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