NFL Divisional Playoffs – That wasn’t what people expected!

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January 14, 2013 by ussportsfanuk

Well the NFL Conference Championship Games are all set, but I think it wouldn’t be unfair to say they aren’t what people were expecting. Next weekend the Baltimore Ravens travel to the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game and in the NFC Championship Game, the San Francisco 49ers visit the Atlanta Falcons.

In the NFC, the two higher seeds both won this weekend, therefore people shouldn’t be too surprised. Looking at the games though, many would have considered the Green Bay Packers game against the 49ers as too close to call and many, myself included, thought the Seattle Seahawks would win in Atlanta. The Seahawks had been one of the best teams towards the end of the season and many were not convinced by the Falcons, despite them being the No. 1 team. Also, the Falcons have had some famous moments in recent years in the Playoffs where they have effectively choked. Having said all that, the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds won, as should be expected.

The AFC however is completely different. The Patriots handled the Houston Texans fairly comfortably as most predicted. The real shock though came when the Ravens beat the Denver Broncos and it is this result which would have ruined many predictions! The Ravens stumbled towards the Playoffs and it was no given that they would win their Wildcard game against the Indianapolis Colts. The Broncos meanwhile seemed to be looking unstoppable and lots of people, like myself, thought they would go to, and win the Super Bowl. Maybe the signs for a shock result were evident though? The emotion of Ray Lewis’ pending retirement could be pushing the Ravens to play at a higher level so they were able to raise their game. Also, it is not the first time that Peyton Manning has struggled in the cold in the Playoffs. It’s one thing being one of the top QB’s in the league playing in January in the RCA Dome in Indianapolis, it is another playing in freezing temperatures in Mile High Stadium, Denver and having to where gloves! Even taking these factors into account though, there is no doubt that the majority did not forecast that the Ravens would win.

So, who will go to the Super Bowl? To be honest, I’m really not sure! I had picked the Broncos and the 49ers but, with the Broncos already gone, I’m not actually convinced the 49ers will make it either. I would expect the Patriots to win, but with the emotion from the Ravens, who knows. The 49ers can definitely win in Atlanta but the Falcons may now play with more confidence having finally lived up to expectations. So my new prediction is the New England Patriots against the San Francisco 49ers, but if it is the Baltimore Ravens versus the Atlanta Falcons, I really wouldn’t be surprised!

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