Article Written by: Julian Beck
We are down to the final four. The Seattle Seahawks have been the favorites since the beginning of the season, the San Francisco 49ers are trying to make it back to the Superbowl, the Denver Broncos set the single season record for most scored, and the New England Patriots were doubted all season because of their depleted roster. These were the four most consistent teams throughout the year. With these two games we are in for two “Mini-Superbowls.”
New England Patriots at Denver Broncos
Brady has won 10 of 14 match-ups with Manning’s teams, including a 2-1 mark in the postseason in which the home team has prevailed each time. Many critics believe that Peyton crumbles when he plays in a very meaningful game while Tom shines. Well, this game should either make or break Peyton since he has only played in two Superbowl’s, while Brady has played in five.
Peyton broke Tom’s single season passing record of 50 touchdowns with an impressive 55. Manning and his offense were unstoppable all season, while Brady worked with what he had. Gronk was out most the season, Welker left via free agency to join up with Manning, Amendola missed a few games, and the rookies of Dobson and Thompkins stepped up when needed.
The Patriots have an edge in the running game while Knowshon Moreno was the main back for the Broncos. Patriots have four running backs they can throw out there in any game; Blount, Ridley, Vereen, and Bolden. Blount has had the hot hand, so expect him to continue to start.
Expect Peyton to do the opposite and rely on his arm and his explosive receivers. Each wideout in the Broncos offense had career years, well Welker missed a couple games but still set a career high in touchdowns (12). Expect an offensive shoot out from both offenses. Patriots relying on the run to open up the pass and the Broncos to do the opposite. Peyton and his offense has had a season for the books and will continue against the Pats.
Prediction: 35-28 Denver Broncos
X-Factor: Knowshon Moreno. When Moreno is finding holes for big gains and catching out the backfield this offense is tough to stop.
San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks
Frisco is the hottest team in the NFL, winning eight games in row. Though the teams have split the last four meetings, top-seeded Seattle (14-3) has looked dominant while forcing seven turnovers and outscoring the 49ers 71-16 to win the last two at raucous CenturyLink Field.
Russell Wilson hasn’t been making big plays for over a month now, while Kaepernick has been performing very well and using his legs when needed to create big plays. The 49er’s offense has also been clicking since Crabtree returned. Colin looks comfortable and is making good decisions, while Wilson has been struggling a bit and relying on Lynch to open up the offense more than usual.
Lynch hasn’t let the team down, having another great season. Russell didn’t have Percy Harvin all season, and when he did play he ended up re-injuring himself and missing more time. Golden Tate was the wideout whom was relied on the most all season. Tate is a solid wideout but besides him, the offense doesn’t have another consistent receiver.
The defense for the Seahawks has carried this team all season, eating up any offense that comes in their way. Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas have been shutting down everyone and will try to slow down this 49er’s offense. The ‘9er’s have too many weapons for Seattle to cover. Kaep will rely heavily on Anquan Boldin and Vernon Davis while Frank Gore tries to move the chains. Look for the 49ers to hush all the critics and prove they can defeat Seattle on the road.
Prediction: 21-17 San Francisco 49ers
X-Factor: Colin Kaepernick. Kaep is going to prove he plays well under pressure and will continue to play lights out this post season and carry this offense to the Superbowl.
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